A Searing Trail with Butterflies. "White Butterflies", by Colin McPhedran. [review]
Colin McPhedran was living a comfortable middle-class colonial life in Central Burma when the Japanese invaded the country in 1941. The invasion spread terror throughout the population, which feared the notorious savagery of the Japanese army. Escape by air was, by then, impossible and other escape routes had closed, leaving the family with no alternative but to walk to India along the Hukawng Valley. Up to 20,000 refugees tried to escape this way; few made it. Thousands lost their lives in the attempt, including Colin’s mother, brother and sister. He alone survived, and only just. McPhedran’s account of his horrendous three-and-a-half months’ trek along this trail is the core of "White Butterflies", which covers the nine years of his life from the escape from Burma to his arrival in Australia.