CHAPMAN, Spencer F. The Jungle is Neutral. With a Foreword by Marshal Earl Wavell. London, The Reprint Society, .
8vo. Original cloth with dust-wrappers, map endpapers; pp. 378, sketch map and plates after photographs, apart from a few marginal tears to wrappers a very good copy.
Reprint. Presentation copy with authorial typed and signed letter to Miss Anora Josephine “Jo” Ockenden on King Alfred School headed paper. The school was in Plön, Schleswig-Holstein; Chapman was the headmaster. 'As requested I am sending my autograph for you to put in your copy', and Jo pasted it onto title-page. Spencer Frederick Chapman is more known as an explorer, mountaineer and naturalist; however, during WW2 he 'was posted to Singapore in September 1941, and when the first Japanese landings in Malaya came two months later he was sent to Kuala Lumpur 'expressly to organize and lead reconnaissance and operational parties behind the enemy lines'. He did this for nearly three years. He himself felt that he had missed the ‘real war’, and yet his record of endurance and resourcefulness and his ability to escape from the Japanese, who had put a price on his head, are almost unmatched in the history of the Second World War. When taken out by submarine in 1945 he returned to Colombo a justified hero. His story came later in the best of all his books, The Jungle is Neutral (1948), which was an enormous success … In 1948 he was appointed to build up a new boarding-school, for the British forces education service, the King Alfred School at Plön in West Germany. He had a free hand to appoint staff and develop the school as he wished. He made a success of the post, but resigned in 1952 to caravan across Africa with his wife and three small boys' (ODNB). 'Such was the vitality of this man that he was able to fill diaries - written in Eskimo lest they should reveal secrets to the enemy - not only with a soldier's account of his operations but also with a naturalist's minute observation of the jungle … Field-Marshal Wavell in his Foreword compares the author with T.E. Lawrence for sheer courage and endurance, physical and mental' (inside front flap of wrapper).