Contentious Travelogue Clouds Military History
It is being billed as a travel writer’s account of Guyana and has a “thrown back to a different era” title. The “Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge” written by author and barrister John Gimlette is supposed to contain “truths” but several persons who have read the book have found it Wild, Untamed and off the Edge when it comes to dealing with the truth and Guyana’s recent history.
The British newspaper the Guardian promotes the book as a travel memoir, in which the author returns to Guyana, the Wild Coast in South America, to discover his ancestral colonial history – one of brutal, cruel and often uncomfortable truths.
But the book has led to at least two high ranking former Army Officers taking offence to what has been printed. Retired Colonel Hartley Liverpool considers the work more that of fiction than fact.
The Author throughout the book highlighted various racial and at times racist commentaries on the Guyanese situation. He made several references to Major General retired Joe Singh with whom he spoke briefly and reported in several sections of the book with such hyperbole and embellishments that Singh was forced to issue a disclaimer.
The retired Major General dissociated himself from the perception of Singh’s role in operations and where those references diminished the significance of the contributions and involvement of Singh’s former comrades-in -arms. Singh further dissociated himself from utterances or writings which bordered on racism or denigration of the quality of service and performances of his former colleagues and comrades-in -arms.
The Major General retired said that clearly Gimlette’s book embellished his role, much to his embarrassment.
The book is available for sale on line from the Guardian Bookshelf.