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Publisher's Summary

On 20 October 1962, high in the Himalayas, on the banks of the fast-flowing Nam Ka Chu, over 400 Indian soldiers were massacred, and the valley was overrun by soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army. Over the course of the next month, nearly 4,000 soldiers were killed on both sides, and the Indian army experienced its worst defeat ever. The conflict (war was never formally declared) ended because China announced a unilateral ceasefire on 21 November and halted its hitherto unhindered advance across NEFA and Ladakh. To add to India's lasting shame, neither Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru nor the Indian army was even aware that the 'war' had ended until they heard the announcement on the radio - despite the Indian embassy having been given the information two days earlier.

This conflict continues to be one of our least understood episodes. Many books have been written on the events of the time, usually by those who were involved in some way, anxious to provide justification for their actions. These accounts have succeeded only in muddying the picture further. What is clear is that 1962 was an unmitigated disaster. The terrain on which most of the battles were fought (or not fought) was remote and inaccessible; the troops were sorely underequipped, lacking even warm clothing; and the men and officers who tried to make a stand were repeatedly let down by their political and military superiors. Time and again, in Nam Ka Chu, Bum-la, Tawang, Se-la, Thembang, Bomdila - all in the Kameng Frontier Division of NEFA in the Eastern Sector - and in Ladakh and Chusul in the Western Sector, our forces were mismanaged, misdirected or left to fend for themselves. If the Chinese army hadn't decided to stop its victorious campaign, the damage would have been far worse.

In this definitive account of the conflict, based on dozens of interviews with soldiers and numerous others who had a firsthand view of what actually happened in 1962, Shiv Kunal Verma takes us on an uncomfortable journey through one of the most disastrous episodes of independent India's history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Shiv Kunal Verma (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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Eye opening account of the Sino Indian war

Unmatched in its detailing of political, military and even cartographical history. Outstanding research. Truly a masterpiece.

1 person found this helpful

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ABSOLUTELY ARTICULATE DETAILNG OF 1962 WAR

after hearing the entire book, the title finds its actual semblance in my mind. this was really a war that wasn't. excellent perspective

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Amazing narrative

While listening to the boon you can visualise the actual action happening in the field. We as Indians are defected of one thing, living in the glory. If there’s no glory make one, war heroics but forgetting the fact which led to those heroism. I won’t say that it was a needless war, it was a war thrusted on us, and we became a mere puppet. In the current India as well, we’re having the same defect to glorify which isn’t.

The book is critical to understand the series of catastrophic failure at the leadership level, eventually those who lost their lives will never get to know could they have been saved, why they had to die and why the others survived.

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An eye opening account of Indo China War

I visited several war memorials in Arunachal Pradesh in 2019 and the experience was overwhelming. A not so known war memorial is in Bomdilla. There a copy of this book has been kept and from there I got to know about it. Best thing was I could relate the things and incidences with places. Reading the book also tells us how over the years a distorted version of the history has been presented to us. Highly recommended book with even higher recommendation of going for a road trip to western Arunachal especially Bomdilla, Tsella, Dirang, Jaswantgarh, Tawang, Bumla and Zimithang. The book is definitely one of the best account of Indo-China war.

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fantastic

loved it. am excellent account of the various battles. good description of terrain. must read

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painful yet poignant account

struggled to finish the book as I have to relive the humiliating moment but I did

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A well researched book

a well researched account of 1962. a must read for all politici bureaucratic military planners.

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Superb recounting of the era!

Very well researched and written. Good storyline. Can be tough to undertstand the military jargons. But overall an excellent read.

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must read

writer has very strong views on the subject and gives a detailed justification for his views. It gives a complete account of 1962, any one interested in contemporary history should read this book. Refering maps will make it more interesting.

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The truth about the 1962 war

A very detailed account of the events that unfolded into the catastrophic war between India and China in Oct of 1962. One should familiarize with the map of the NEFA and Leh-Laddakh region to truly visualize the events. Excellent narration by Manish Dongardive.

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  • HMP
  • 13-04-18

Excellent account of the war

If you could sum up 1962: The War That Wasn't in three words, what would they be?

This book does an excellent job describing both the political and military aspects of the India-China war of 1962. It describes the weakening of the Indian Army due to political pressures between 1947 and 1962 as well as the political interference with army command in the 1962 war. It also goes into great detail of the military situation and decision making during the war. Overall an excellent account of the war with sufficient detail for those who are interested in Indian history.

What did you like best about this story?

Detailed accounts of the political and military situation

3 people found this helpful

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  • DesiBOOKworm
  • 12-04-18

Extraordinary History- with lessons for all

Would you listen to 1962: The War That Wasn't again? Why?

Modern warfare is not the province of Heroes, or at least individual heroism counts for little in the absence of a hard-headed, fully-involved and inspired leadership. India under Nehru had none of these. Every warning was ignored, the Thorat plan shelved and the military leadership gutted due to Nehru's insecurity. China under Mao had a monster who killed millions of Chinese, but compared to the shiftless (if far more benign) Indian leadership, he was a genius. The Chinese Corps commanders showed a formidable grasp of tactics,(which also helped them immensely in Korea against US troops) and except very rarely the Indian commanders showed a lack of imagination. The fabled Indian Army, covered in Glory in 2 World Wars, found itself out-planned, outthought, outgunned and outmanned. China struck at a moment of her own choosing, & won. Unlike the US (UN) soldiers in Korea, India had no fallback option or plan B in reserve.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1962: The War That Wasn't?

the human stories of the soldiers caught up in a dirty war; Shiv Kunal Verma's excellent story-telling skills

What about Manish Dongardive’s performance did you like?

Pronounces most Tibetan & Indian names well (and Chinese names too I think), and his voice is pleasing and nuanced.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Immensely sad, to see one of the finest fighting forces in the world lead to a total defeat. Many moving scenes as of the confrontation between the brave, courteous Sgt. Dashrath Singh and the idiotic Gen. Kaul. The serpentine Menon and the loudmouthed Nehru evoke disgust, but that is who they were.

Any additional comments?

Not enough of the Chinese side. How were they thinking? How did they have such accurate intelligence on Indian Troop Movements? America helped India, but you do not hear anything about it till the very end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kislay
  • 21-07-17

Excellent to read, but difficult to listen

Excellent narration, excellent book but it is difficult to listen as the book has a lot of specific details related to armed forces and as well as locations of the war. Difficult to keep track, without a map.

1 person found this helpful