Another Man’s War


In Another Man’s War, Barnaby Phillips delivers the gripping, unforgettable story of a Burma Boy in the Second World War and the legacy of the British Empire in Africa and Asia.

Link to the Al Jazeera documentary Burma Boy; the film on which the book is based.


Included in NPR and Daily Telegraph’s ‘Best Books of the Year’

Daily Telegraph– 5 Star Review ‘Profoundly moving …such a moving tribute to the power of the human spirit that it ranks alongside such classics of wartime literature as THE GREAT ESCAPE and BOLDNESS BE MY FRIEND’.

The Spectator– ‘an extraordinary story, very well told’

Mail On Sunday– ‘spellbinding’

Observer– ‘lucid, exquisitely detailed’.

Times Literary Supplement ‘impressive….a gripping military history which brings African witnesses to the dying days of the British Empire out of the shadows..’

More praise for Another Man’s War

“Barnaby Phillips has written a magnificent book. It is an enthralling human story of soldiers whose sacrifice has been too long neglected. He brings to his subject a sharp intelligence and a true writer’s eye. This book deserves to become a classic of war history”.
Fergal Keane, BBC Correspondent, author of Road of Bones

“A rich story, richly told. An inspiring instance of common human decency reaching beyond colour and creed, handled brilliantly by a writer whose research is as dogged as his touch is fine. Reading Another Man’s War will add hugely to any person’s understanding of how the Second World War was fought and, just as importantly, how it was presented. Superb.”
Tim Butcher, Author of Blood River and The Trigger

“From start to finish the reader’s heart belongs to Isaac Fadoyebo and the West African soldiers. Dramatic, moving, often shocking, painstakingly researched and brilliantly told, Another Man’s War is a story the world should hear, not just so that West Africans may know the part they played in the Burma campaign and in the Second World War, but so that Britain and the world knows it too.”
Aminatta Forna, author of The Hired Man and The Memory of Love

“Barnaby Phillips has uncovered a tale which touches the world in every sense. The story is a deceptively simple one, of a lanky boy who runs away from his dusty Nigerian village to join the British Army and is left for dead thousands of miles from home in the Burmese jungle. The miraculous sheltering and survival of Isaac Fadoyebo not only make an irresistible human drama. They also illustrate the terrifying global swirl of the conflict. Told with warmth and colour, this account of a forgotten soldier in a forgotten army in a forgotten war will not itself be easily forgotten.”
Ferdinand Mount, author of Cold Cream, Tears of the Rajas former editor, Times Literary Supplement

“Barnaby Phillips has written a fine account of the forgotten African soldiers who fought in WW2. Another Man’s War is a testament to the kindness of strangers and the power of memory. The denouement of Isaac’s absorbing story – spanning three continents and seven decades – is deeply moving. Meticulous research is matched by profound human emotion.”
Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News

“A riveting narrative that traces Africa’s crucial yet forgotten contribution to the Second World War. Through the experiences of one Nigerian soldier in Burma, Phillips provides insights into military strategy while taking the reader on an emotional journey, giving a fascinating glimpse into life and race relations in the British Army, as well as comradeship and human endurance. Brimming with facts, anecdotes and pathos, this page-turner is indispensable for anyone interested in military history and Nigeria’s socio-political transformation in the mid-20th century.”
Noo Saro-Wiwa, author of Looking for Transwonderland

“The hard-won victories of the Second World War define British identity to an extraordinary degree. Travelling from Africa to Southeast Asia, Barnaby Philips illuminates vividly, through a very human story, how that ostensible struggle between democracy and fascism was experienced and interpreted by a large majority of the world’s population. Another Man’s War admirably complicates and deepens our sense of history. ‘
Pankaj Mishra, author of From The Ruins of Empire

“Two young West African soldiers shipped half across the world in 1943 to fight for the British in Burma find themselves abandoned – wounded, starving and sick –in the unmapped jungle of the Arakan. Their astonishing adventures, reconstructed here in gripping detail, end with a postwar sequel when the younger of the two returns to Nigeria, itself also precipitately abandoned by its colonial masters to survive a painful and precarious independence without preparation or support. A real-life thriller with sobering implications for the British reader – but I found it impossible to put down.”
Hilary Spurling, biographer of Pearl Buck and Matisse