Pen & Sword's The Malayan Emergency: 1949-53

Author/Artists: Mark Forsdike


Pen & Sword


$34.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 252 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-399082242

The end of World War 2 was a time of great change in many parts of the world. Among those changes were the desire of people in the colonies of several European powers including those of the UK, France, and the Netherlands. Parts of these populations had fought against the Japanese and felt that they had earned the right to self governance. Several of these groups were communist and as such were groups that were not kindly looked upon by the colonial powers. This is the case in the British colony of Malaya.

By the late 1940s, the communists in Malaya had grown to a fairly large force and had turned to violence against Europeans who were generally the owner of the rubber plantations. The insurgency was such that it was overwhelming the police force and more assistance was needed. In this case the British sent units to assist the local authorities and to work to push the insurgents out of the country, Thus began a ten year conflict that was eventually won by the British, but it was not an easy go and a lot had to be learned.

This book in the Images of War series is a bit different from some of the previous editions. It covers the tour of duty of the Suffolk Regiment, arguably the most successful of the several that were to serve in Malaya during the emergency. It is divided by year and provides a fairly good history of the unit's actions during that time. It also covers other aspects of being forward deployed as they were, including the lessons learned and they way they adapted as time went on. I found the personal experience stories to be particularly interesting. Of course the majority of the book is photos of the men of the regiment as well as those who assisted them during this time. It makes for a very nicely done book and one that manages to provide a lot of information on a subject about which few are really aware. A superb read and one that I'm sure you will enjoy.

July 2022

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Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link

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