Books: How Empires Fall

FORTRESS (243 pp.)—Kenneth Attiwill —Doubleday ($4.50).

Singapore was a fortress of paper—endless reams of paper that issued from British information offices assuring the world that Singapore was invincible. Confident that a constant boast of strength would impress the Japanese, the British encouraged "a complacency more impenetrable than the Malayan jungle." So writes Author Attiwill, who was there as a British soldier when Singapore fell in 1942 and vowed one day to tell the whole story.

It is a sobering story, about the leukemia of the will that precedes the death of empires. The British...

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