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1. Revealed by Fire: A True Story
2. Nation Building in South Korea:
3. A Guide to Films on the Korean
4. The Korean War (Turning Points
5. The Korean War (Wars That Changed
6. The Korean War: Limits of American
7. Battles of the Korean War: Americans
8. The Korean War (Essential Histories)
9. Rethinking the Korean War: A New
10. Voices from the Korean War: Personal
11. A Short History of the Korean
12. The Hidden History of the Korean
13. The Korean War
14. Conflict: The History Of The Korean
15. Mao's American Strategy and the
16. American Military History, Volume
17. No Bugles, No Drums: An Oral History
18. The Korean War
19. Remembrances of the Forgotten
20. Korean War: Primary Sources (Korean

1. Revealed by Fire: A True Story of a Soldier Told in His Letters at a Time Unparalleled in American History-- The Korean War 1950-1953
by Army Corporal Bill Ahnen, Pearl Kastran Ahnen
Hardcover: 357 Pages (2007-01)
-- used & new: US$64.99
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Asin: 0615135196
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349 priceless, historical letters of the Korean War written by an ordinary soldier, Corporal Bill Ahnen, and published for the first time. Bill's letters show honesty, humor, compassion and reveal the heart of a very lonely, homesick young man. ... Read more

2. Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy (The New Cold War History)
by Gregg Brazinsky
Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$18.69
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Asin: 0807861812
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In this ambitious and innovative study Gregg Brazinsky examines American nation building in South Korea during the Cold War. Marshalling a vast array of new American and Korean sources, he explains why South Korea was one of the few postcolonial nations that achieved rapid economic development and democratization by the end of the twentieth century. Brazinsky contends that a distinctive combination of American initiatives and Korean agency enabled South Korea's stunning transformation. On one hand, Americans supported the emergence of a developmental autocracy that spurred economic growth in a highly authoritarian manner. On the other hand, Americans sought to encourage democratization from the bottom up by fashioning new institutions and promoting a dialogue about modernization and development.

Expanding the framework of traditional diplomatic history, Brazinsky examines not only state-to-state relations, but also the social and cultural interactions between Americans and South Koreans. He shows how Koreans adapted, resisted, and transformed American influence and promoted socioeconomic change that suited their own aspirations. Ultimately, Brazinsky argues, Koreans' capacity to tailor American institutions and ideas to their own purposes was the most important factor in the making of a democratic South Korea. ... Read more

3. A Guide to Films on the Korean War (Bibliographies and Indexes in American History)
by Paul M. Edwards
Hardcover: 168 Pages (1997-03-30)
list price: US$98.95 -- used & new: US$79.16
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Asin: 0313303169
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Written by a knowledgeable film critic and Korean War scholar, this is the only guide exclusively devoted to the study of Hollywood and television films on the Korean War. It opens with eight short essays on the war film genre and the Korean War film. Eighty-four films are then discussed in an alphabetical listing. Entries include the production unit, color status, producer, director, screenwriter, actors and actresses, movie length, and the author's numerical rating of the film. The commentary places each film within the context of other war films, the Korean War, the trends in Hollywood, and the social and political realities of the United States. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Korean War veteran critiques films of the conflict
In his compact book, veteran Paul M. Edwards has written eight essays on various aspects of war films in general and the Korean ones in particular.He discusses the political ideology of the time, the isolation of the war,how Hollywood handled the subject and why not many of those films are verygood. The second half of Edwards' book is a listing of eighty-four films(at least three of which have nothing to do with the war but take place inKorea before or afterward).These listings feature brief credits andincisive commentary regarding the films' authenticity, popularity andquality. Also included are a chronological list of the films, appendixesfor actors and actresses (and one dog), producers, directors, andscreenwriters, and - most welcome - an extensive list of documentary filmsabout the Korean War.The book also features a bibliography and an index.While the book isn't comprehensive, it certainly covers most of the majorfilms and many minor ones as well.It's easy to read and Edwards makesmany thoughtful comments throughout. ... Read more

4. The Korean War (Turning Points in American History)
by Carter Smith
 Paperback: Pages (1991-01)
list price: US$11.00 -- used & new: US$59.87
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Asin: 0382099494
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Describes the people, places, and events surrounding the Korean War. ... Read more

5. The Korean War (Wars That Changed American History)
by Robin S. Doak
 Paperback: 48 Pages (2006-07-30)
list price: US$14.05 -- used & new: US$14.05
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Asin: 0836873033
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6. The Korean War: Limits of American Power (Perspectives on History)
Paperback: 60 Pages (1970-01-01)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$3.00
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Asin: 1878668811
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The words of President Truman, General MacArthur, Senator McCarthy, President Eisenhower, and others, reporter's stories, and letters from soldiers shed light on the war, which began as a civil war between Korean nationalists and escalated into a struggle between the U.S. and Communist China, throwing America into the first major showdown of the Cold War.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative, readable, brilliant!
A wonderful and exciting small work that elucidates the history very well. Very affordable, too!

5-0 out of 5 stars the best book ever written
This book changed my life ... Read more

7. Battles of the Korean War: Americans Engage in Deadly Combat, 1950-1953
 Paperback: 131 Pages (2003-01)

Isbn: 0974364304
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8. The Korean War (Essential Histories)
by Carter Malkasian
Paperback: 96 Pages (2001-09-25)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$9.49
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Asin: 1841762822
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Korean War was a significant turning point in the Cold War.This book explains how the conflict in a small peninsula in East Asia had a tremendous impact on the entire international system and the balance of power between the two superpowers, America and Russia. Through the conflict, the West demonstrated its resolve to thwart Communist aggression and the armed forces of China, the Soviet Union and the United States came into direct combat for the only time during the Cold War. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Remember the "Forgotten War"
Carter Malkasian succeeds in providing a complete-feeling overview of the Korean War within the very limited Essential Histories format.In only 96 pages, this book provides adequate background, chronology, and geopolitical implications of the Korean War.This includes discussions on why this war was fought on a limited basis, the importance of the war for each involved party, the often devastating effects of the war on Korea, and the War's contribution to the evolution of warfare.Paying more attention to the politics behind the war than on individual battles, Malkasian keeps the focus of this book on the broader picture of the conflict between ideologies, rather than the soldier's perspective of the war on the ground.That is not to say that important battles aren't discussed in a fair amount of detail here, just not to the same level that individual battles receive in some other Essential Histories I've read.Malkasian's approach works very well here, as the Korean War in particular really was a proxy war between superpowers where the focus was very much on politics and attrition, rather than total victory.

Many aspects of the Korean War make it stand out as being a vehicle for change in the way wars are fought.Inflicting casualties in an effort to gain bargaining chips for diplomacy was perfected here.Jet airplanes were first used broadly as fighters/bombers.Helicopters proved their usefulness in transportation and evacuation.The threat of nuclear annihilation became the US's most powerful deterrent to escalation.Also important was the emergence of the United Nations as a vehicle for diplomacy and for legitimizing war.This was the first time the UN supported the invasion of another country in order to maintain future peace.Malkasian does a remarkable job in laying out the many unique aspects of the Korean War.

While this war might not have turned out that way either side had hoped (particularly Koreans), we must be thankful to some degree that it ended when it did.This book makes it quite apparent how close the world came to a third World War during this conflict.Both the United States and the Soviet Union were apparently very close to escalating this war, which would have undoubtedly had devastating results for Southeast Asia, and very likely for the rest of the world.

Read this book, help yourself remember the forgotten war.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superlative Summary
This summary covers all the bases of the Korean conflict: political, tactical, strategic, cultural and does it well within an Osprey format. It was a war fought on two levels. The lower level was fought between the two Korean countries wanting to unify their whole country under their political control. On the larger scale, it was a war fought among the three super powers for ideology, prestige and the expansion of world dominance.
North Korea was under the influence of Stalin and the Soviet Union was training and equipping the NKPA to invade the south while the US was marginally helping the South Koreans. Its been said that the speech Dean Acheson gave on 1/12/1950 that implied the US was letting go of South Korea, excluding it from the US sphere was the prime motivator for the invasion.

The introduction presents a brief history of Korea going back to 1905 when Japan took it over and mistreated the Koreans until the end of WWII when the Soviet Union liberated the northern half and the US the southern half. The narrative continues to describe the friction between the US and Communist China after the world war as well as the alliance formed between Stalin and Mao. The author talks about the political atmosphere of the day and how these countries are linked together. Its all basic information but if you're new to the Korean War, its invaluable to understand how the war started, why the PRC got involved and why the UN forces stayed the course. There were critical implications that could effect the world if a third world war or a nuclear war had ignited. It was the first time in the Cold War that the Superpowers were indirectly fighting each other.
Mr Malkasian includes a good chronology that spans the entire war that will be helpful as a guide to follow the battle action and political events.

The invasion of the south began on June 25th, 1950 when columns of T34 tanks spearhead the assault along the border. For the next two and half months the ROK and meager US forces had a very tough time being pushed back to the Pusan Perimeter until enough reinforcements were brought in to stop the NKPA at the Naktong River. MacArthur devised the Inchon landings in mid September which turned everything around, causing the NKPA to flee to the north. UN Forces followed past the 38th parallel inciting Mao to counterattack, dramatically escalating the war.

The key engagements are covered and each has its own color map. There are 12 maps which greatly help to understand the dialog. The maps show the dispositions of all the key players: US, ROK, PRC, NKPA and UN. The maps include the initial invasion, the Pusan Perimeter, the major PRC offensives, the Chosin Resivoir battle, Mig Alley. In addition to the tactiacal coverage on the ground, off the coast as well as the air war, the author explains the civilian migration and hardship, the Communist insurgency in the south, the quarrelous "peace" negotiations, POW issue, prison riots and much more. There are mini profiles of MacArthur, Ridgeway, Clark. The story ends with describing the human and economic costs of the war and how the different countries survived and responded from the bitterness of the war.
There are also many fine photos to study. A Bibliography and Index round out the book.
This is an excellent primer and a good starting place before you read the full length books. Its highly recommended. Also, a good companion book to this one would be "US Army Forces in the Korean War 1950-53" by Donald Boose. Its one of Osprey's Battle Orders series and it expands on the organizational aspects.

4-0 out of 5 stars A decent but short introduction to Korean War
War history is story telling, and good story telling requires a good thesis. The main thesis of this book, which is also the author's PhD thesis, is that Korean War is the first modern "limited war" as the major geopolitical players feel their ways into optimal strategies and tactics in the nuclear-dominated Cold War era. I think this point of view is quite valid and appropriate. Thus the book, although short, is still quite worthy, as it covers all the important events related to its main theme.

Some colorful and interesting details of the Korean War are necessarily brushed over, given the book's limited length. For example, Task Force Faith is not mentioned in the text at all but appears only on the map of Chosin reservoir. Compounding this shortcoming is the fact that the author is British and selects his anecdotes mainly from the combat history of the Commonwealth troops. While the American perspective is not hard to find in most books on this subject, a better coverage on Chinese and/or Korean sources would have definitely improved this work.

The language in the book is not dry but, well, "patient", by which I refer to the feeling I get about the author talking to a young audience. Indeed, my 8-year-old son has no problem going through the book entirely on his own. He thoroughly enjoys it, but probably misses most of the deeper and broader discussions in the book. Overall, I consider this a strength of the book, as it is deep enough for grown-ups and easy enough for kids.

4-0 out of 5 stars Concise and brief
Having been a Korea veteran during the 1950--1953 conflict era, I found the book to present the important facts of this era without details that a non-orthodox historian would not be concerned about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
This is by far the best book I have ever read on the Korean war.It is just the right length to give an easy to follow strategic overview, that is complete in essentials for that level.And for those readers desiring a look at the "little people" involved, there are two sections, one about a soldier's experiences, and another about a Korean family's experiences.There are more than an adequate number of maps, making it easy to follow the ebb and flow of battle.The writing flows along in a nice, easy to read manner.The author is a student of wars of attrition, and his interest and expertise show on every page. ... Read more

9. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History
by William Stueck
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-01-05)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$20.76
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Asin: 0691118477
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Fought on what to Westerners was a remote peninsula in northeast Asia, the Korean War was a defining moment of the Cold War. It militarized a conflict that previously had been largely political and economic. And it solidified a series of divisions--of Korea into North and South, of Germany and Europe into East and West, and of China into the mainland and Taiwan--which were to persist for at least two generations. Two of these divisions continue to the present, marking two of the most dangerous political hotspots in the post-Cold War world. The Korean War grew out of the Cold War, it exacerbated the Cold War, and its impact transcended the Cold War.

William Stueck presents a fresh analysis of the Korean War's major diplomatic and strategic issues. Drawing on a cache of newly available information from archives in the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union, he provides an interpretive synthesis for scholars and general readers alike. Beginning with the decision to divide Korea in 1945, he analyzes first the origins and then the course of the conflict. He takes into account the balance between the international and internal factors that led to the war and examines the difficulty in containing and eventually ending the fighting. This discussion covers the progression toward Chinese intervention as well as factors that both prolonged the war and prevented it from expanding beyond Korea. Stueck goes on to address the impact of the war on Korean-American relations and evaluates the performance and durability of an American political culture confronting a challenge from authoritarianism abroad.

Stueck's crisp yet in-depth analysis combines insightful treatment of past events with a suggestive appraisal of their significance for present and future. ... Read more

10. Voices from the Korean War: Personal Stories of American, Korean, and Chinese Soldiers
by Richard Peters, Xiaobing Li
Paperback: 312 Pages (2005-08-15)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$13.23
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Asin: 0813191203
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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" Read a chapter from the book a selection of The History Book Club and The Military History Book Club "In three days the number of so-called 'volunteers' reached over three hundred men. Very quickly they organized us into military units. Just like that I became a North Korean soldier and was on the way to some unknown place." -- from the book South Korean Lee Young Ho was seventeen years old when he was forced to serve in the North Korean People's Army during the first year of the Korean War. After a few months, he deserted the NKPA and returned to Seoul where he joined the South Korean Marine Corps. Ho's experience is only one of the many compelling accounts found in Voices from the Korean War. Unique in gathering war stories from veterans from all sides of the Korean War -- American, South Korean, North Korean, and Chinese -- this volume creates a vivid and multidimensional portrait of the three-year-long conflict told by those who experienced the ground war firsthand. Richard Peters and Xiaobing Li include a significant introduction that provides a concise history of the Korean conflict, as well as a geographical and a political backdrop for the soldiers' personal stories.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Voices from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"?
My enjoyment of this book ended in Chapter 27, "Colonel Zhao's Story", told by a former Chinese Communist Political Commisar. On page 244 he relates how the UN guards armed "Chinese traitors"(Chinese soldiers who were anti-communist)with "knives, steel pickets, spiked clubs, barbed wire flails, and blackjacks to enforce their regulations".
Fearful Western guards bringing lethal weapons into the prison so the "traitors" can do their dirty work for them? Yet this ridiculous assertion seems almost believable when compared to the narrative on the next page, where he tells the story of a "nineteen-year old college freshman", Lin, who is dragged onto a stage when he refuses an anti-communist prison tatoo.
He is beaten and one of his arms cut off with a dagger, but still refuses the tatoo.
The "traitorous anti-communist" then "opened Lin's chest and pulled out his heart. Holding the bleeding but still beating heart" he tells the other five thousand prisoners "whoever dares to refuse the tatoo will be like him!"
The only thing missing is bad-guy Mola Ram and the statue of Kali from the very-similiar scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Even with 21st century medical technology heart surgeons have to cut through the rib cage, not the case here in this propaganda fantasy.
It's one thing to try to tell the personal stories of soldiers from both sides of the Korean War, but why would the authors include such delusional ravings alongside what seem like truthful (and probably painfully remembered accounts? It only serves to remind one of a recent book purporting to tell the tale of an American massacre of Korean civilians, which was later shown to have been told by ex-soldiers who were never even anywhere near the alleged site, and whose allegations were false.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Perspective on A Long Forgotten Conflict!
In "Voices from the Korean War" Xiaobing Li brings a unique perspective to a long forgotten conflict.

Professors Li and Richard Peters, a Korean War veteran, have gathered together the personal stories of American, South and North Korean, and Chinese soldiers in the war. A short history of the conflict is provided at the beginning of the book and another chapter on perspectives at the end.

In between, the authors allow the belligerents who fought the war on both sides to speak for themselves. The result is a uniquely compelling and informative work that is easy to read. I found the chapters written by North Korean and Chinese soldiers, as well as by those written by American soldiers held captive by the Communists, particularly interesting.

The final chapter, written by a Chinese colonel who took part in the massive Koje-do Camp POW riots, is especially powerful and provides a new perspective on a conflict within a conflict that resulted in the death of hundreds of North Korean and Chinese prisoners of war.

This book is recommended for anyone interested in the Korean War and especially in the experiences of the everyday soldiers on both sides that fought it.

... Read more

11. A Short History of the Korean War
by James L. Stokesbury
Paperback: 280 Pages (1990-01-30)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$10.12
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Asin: 0688095135
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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As pungent and concise as his short histories of both world wars, Stokesbury's survey of "the half war" takes a broad view and seems to leave nothing out but the details. The first third covers the North Korean invasion of June 1950, the Pusan perimeter crisis, MacArthur's master stroke at Inchon and the intervention by Chinese forces that November. At this point, other popular histories of the war reach the three-quarter mark, ending often with a cursory summary of the comparatively undramatic three-and-a-half years required to bring the war to its ambiguous conclusion on July 27, 1953. Stokesbury renders the latter period as interesting as the operational fireworks of the first six months: the Truman-MacArthur controversy; the political limitations on U.S. air power; the need for the Americans to fight the war as cheaply as possible, due to NATO commitments; the prolonged negotiations at Panmunjom over the prisoner-exchange issue; and the effect of the war on the home front. Whether the United States could have/should have stayed out of the war in the first place comes under discussion: "no" on both counts, according to the author.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Overview with Enough Detail
I sometimes worry that one-volume overviews are too simplistic.That's not a problem here.Stokesbury's book offers plenty of detail on the political background that led to the war and the campaigns/various stages of the Korean War.Pusan Perimeter, Inchon, MacArthur's dismissal -- it's all there.Read this book first if you want to learn about the Korean War.I've read many others and this one strikes the best balance of detail v. overview.

4-0 out of 5 stars `The War over Korea'
Time line

46 March: Iron Curtain speech by Churchill
46 Fall: Greek Civil War started by Greek communists
47 June: Truman Doctrine/Marshall Plan
47 Winter: Manchuria falls under control of Mao's forces
48 February: Communist coup in Czechoslovakia to prevent govt from accepting Marshall Aid.
48 February: "People's Republic of North Korea" proclaimed
48 June: Berlin blockaded (at a time when only 1 USA division remained in all of Western Europe)
49 April: NATO formed
49 May: Federal republic of Germany proclaimed
50 January: USSR walks out UN Security Council (in protest over not seating Mao over Chiang Kai-shek)

50 June 25: North Korea invades South Korea, with an estimated 135,000 men under arms and between 120 and 150 Russian-made T34 tanks.South Korea on day one of the invasion had 95,000 men."It had no tanks, few antitank weapons, and no heavy artillery."

What happened next is then thoroughly detailed: how the US intervened; how MacArthur righted the situation and how the situation stabilized.Most of the book concerns the first year of the war, but that's owing to the fact that the front line barely moved between July 1951 and July 1953.(Post-MacArthur, the policy was, in effect, to build a defensive wall and let the commies bang their heads against it until exhaustion and, thus, this period, in some respects, was less dramatic and/or eventful, from a military perspective, than the first year of the war.)

This book is basically thus a military history of the Korean War.And, toward that end, the author actually does a fine job characterizing the strategies of various campaigns; with the relevant details of which army did what, when, and for what goal.It is, moreover, a military history for the general reader, nevertheless.The book is a very manageable 218 pages (258 pages if maps and title pages are counted) and pretty much gives you enough detail on most campaigns, as well as an adequate treatment of General MacArthur and his subsequent dismissal by America's commander in chief at the time.

Why North Korea chose to invade, however, or even why it chose to invade at the time it did are questions pretty much ignored by the author.What did, if anything, the Soviet Union and/or China have to do with this? Interestingly, Stalin only merits 5 mentions in this book.4 of the mentions are basically asides.

The fifth mention is the only relevant one:

"The precise relationship between the North Korean regime and the Soviet Union remains murky.One authority maintains that Joseph Stalin, appraised of Kim Il Sung's intention to invade South Korea, came back with a "Do it but I don't want to know about it" type of reply.Yet whether it was coincidence or not, the first big break in the logjam came shortly after Stalin's death.This occurred on March 5."

What about the Chinese?How had they affected, or not affected, the start of the war?The author has little to say about the Chinese either.He does point out though that the Chinese shortly thereafter really were running the war.The Korean War, one could easily argue, was not between Koreans, but between the USA and China, although it was started by Koreans (from the North) and stabilized by the south's forces after America was able to check the 400,000 Chinese that came to "the aid of North Korea."Initially the Korean Communists from the North were extremely successful, of course, but then almost were routed by MacArthur's Inchon landing masterstroke and counterattack.Then it became a war between the Chinese on one hand and Americans and Koreans from the south on the other side.In 1951 China had upwards of four hundred thousand soldiers engaged in the war, four times the number of soldiers that North Korea was able to keep in the field, whereas the division between American and Korean forces from the south was approaching 50-50 at around this juncture.To boot, the Chinese had many more forces just north of the Korean border in Manchuria to draw upon through rotations or what have you; from a Manchuria it should be highlighted that was a safe haven.The title Korean War thus is somewhat of a misnomer.Yes, it was a "police action" to be legalistic, but it was far from a war between Koreans, as popular culture seems to think of it as, wherein America bucked up one side to keep it from falling to the other side.If it wasn't for the Chinese there wouldn't be such a sad state as North Korea now and while the Korean War was started by Koreans (from the North) it was in great measure, after the initial period, fought by the Chinese Army.`The War over Korea' would be a more accurate classification of the conflict as this book makes clear, since for most of the time the war was between China on one side with America and Koreans from the South on the other side. (09Aug) Cheers

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Overview of this Forgotten War
James L. Stokesbury's "Short History of the Korean War" is an excellent overview of this forgotten conflict.Stokesbury does an excellent job setting the stage for the Korean War, explaining it in sufficient detail (despite the title "short history"), and commenting on its importance.

Stokesbury focuses most of the book on the military conflict on the ground in Korea, and most of that on the first year of the war (before the war petered out into a static conflict).Stokesbury discusses the military and political triumphs and foibles of MacArthur during the war.He also covers the diplomatic side of the conflict, the air war, the naval war, and the home front.

This is a very well-written book and is a good starting point for anyone interested in the Korean War.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Look at the Forgotten War
Professor Stokesbury has developed a cottage industry in churning out these short histories of all the major wars.I have not read the others but can without reservation, recommend his Short History of the Korean War.

Stokesbury presents new analysis in several areas.The early part of the book looks at the situation in Korea in 1945 and how the seeds of war were sown.Korea had been a playground for the great powers of Asia for more than a century when it was partioned in 1945, with the Russians taking the North.Ironically the UN forces were almost driven off the peninsula in the summer of 1950 because the Communists had more armor, especially tanks that the UN could not stop.

Next McArthur launched his invasion at Inchon, which Stokesbury describes magically as the general's final great moment, an invasion that he alone could envision and implement.Now the action slows to a halt as various negotiators make no progress for three years until the status quo ante is re-installed and everyone goes home, except the 40,000 UN troops still there 50 years later.

Stokesbury brings to life some little remembered pieces of the action, like the prison riots where the US commandant is briefly taken hostage by his own captives; the political stirrings back home where Eisenhower sweeps to power, partially by promising to go to Korea and end this thing; and the confused state of friend vs. foe that is created when the lines change so dramatically in a short time. As in the USSR in 1945, there were a lot of POW's held by the Allies that did not want to go home, either to Stalin in 1945 or to the North in 1953.

There is a lot in here for us to chew on in 2007 also, as Korea is the closest analog to what is happening now in Iraq.Both were police actions, blessed by the UN, that became more difficult to win than ever envisioned by those who promoted initial involvement. In both Korea and Iraq, the US had few (external) allies, no attractive democratic leadership or traditions, and an enemy with hidden allies (Soviets in Korea and everyone that hates us, here in Iraq).

5-0 out of 5 stars Temendously Articulate Book on the Korean War
Stokesbury writes a readable, informative and articulate book on the Korean War that covers the war in great detail surprisingly in a mere 250 plus pages. The author has a great gift for economy of words, saying a lot with a few sentences. One example is his brief discussion of the relationship between Syngman Rhee, Chiang Kai-Shek and MacArthur where the author notes they all got along well because each was a megalomaniac. Stokesbury covers the political situation before the war and notes that the unfinished business of WWII causing the division of countries led to the future wars of Asia. The political issues of supporting Rhee, more of a dictator than a leader of a democracy, are very well discussed. The author also articulates well that up to that time, the US was never ready for wars and Korea is a prime example of out dated equipment and under supported troops, The author covers the MacArthur controversies, the great Inchon move and the odd split command between Generals Walker, west side and Almond (MacArthur protégé) on the east that is virtually over run when the Chinese amazingly hide their large forces in the mountains dividing both main columns. Stokesbury describes battles strategically along with the command structure as well as the movement of divisions and corps to give you the overall picture. In this small book, he even describes well the problems of prisoner exchange, North Korean prison riots, and the abuse of prisoners by the North Koreans. Stokesbury even covers the pain staking negotiations well and utilizes great quotes such as a negotiator representing the UN stating that the North Koreans were very obstinate in that they could insist that "Two plus two equals six and only after intense negotiations would they relent and then agree that it equals 5". This book is a great short history giving you a lot of information, allowing you the economic choice of learning the basics or cuing your interest into more detailed reading. A great point Stokesbury makes is the difficulty that open societies that place a high value in human life have in fighting wars against dictators that are willing to lose thousands of their people in return for their central gains. The only negative, there is not any references to the recently declassified information that indicates that several American POWs were never released and that Eisenhower was aware of that fact. ... Read more

12. The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951: A Nonconformist History of Our Times
by I. F. Stone
Paperback: 368 Pages (1988-10)
list price: US$8.95
Isbn: 0316817708
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hobo Philosopher
If we accept the premise that the U.S. government had theoretically declared war against Russia in 1917 when the Russian army decided to walk off the battlefields of Europe and establish a "worker" state. And then add the point of view that it was the Free World Capitalists from the U.S. and elsewhere who financed Adolf Hitler with the intent of using Hitler and his Nazi State to attack and destroy Russia. And then we view the post war Marshall Plan and the establishment of NATO as further steps in isolating Russia as an enemy. And follow all this logic with the "Cold War" strategy to box Russia in militarily and economically, we have the foundations for this journalistic indictment.

This entire attitude stems from the American Capitalist government's strong aversion to the rights or advancement of labor organizations at home and abroad. It has become clear to me from my research of the American and world labor movement that from this country's beginnings it has been at war with "workers" and the working man mentality. When and if one takes all of this into consideration the goals and intent of both MacArthur and Truman as pointed out elaborately and in detail in this book become more than understandable.

I feel that this book is accurate in all of its details with only one small flaw. As Mr. Ambrose also points out, North Korea did not really need to be "tricked" or lured into a belligerent attitude. Current day events point out clearly that North Korea has always had its problems when it comes to aggression.
But that one point made, I don't think that fact diminishes the exceptional fact finding report conducted in this book by Mr. Stone.

General MacArthur comes off very, very bad in my estimation. He was not frightened of nuclear power, since the U.S. had the command of it at that moment. The idea that MacArthur was inciting the easily excitable North Koreans so that he could then suck in the Chinese followed by the Russians for a lopsided nuclear World War III seems truly frightening. Mr. Stone makes it very clear that it was MacArthur intention to eventually nuke China and Russia.

Truman did not want to nuke anybody but he did encourage MacArthur and a crisis. Truman used the Korean conflict in order to promote his domestic and foreign policy political objectives according to Stone.
Truman wanted the Marshall Plan and NATO defenses for Europe and continued wartime military investment at home to keep America out of a post war recession that could possibly give the Russians the upper hand economically and in the ideological battle for the hearts and minds of capitalists and communist everywhere, according to Stone.

I have just ordered two more of Mr. Stone's works. I. F. Stone was a journalist recording, with super insights and amazing perspective, the news of his day. Today these works can be considered history - and great history at that. Mr. Stone was a radical. He calls himself a non-conformist. If I. F. Stone is a radical, we need more radicals and non-conformists of his caliber today.

Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:
"Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
"A Summer with Charlie" Salisbury Beach
"A Little Something: Poetry and Prose
"Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" Novel - Lawrence, Ma.
"The Eastpointer" Selections from award winning column.
"Noble Notes on Famous Folks" Humor - satire - and facts.
"America on Strike" Labor History

5-0 out of 5 stars Exposing US lies
A must read. Published during the war, I.F. Stone exposes US military communiques on the criminal bombing of North Korea which killed 2 million civilians, one-quarter of the population, as well as the use of millions of gallons of napalm on the civilian population.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books about the korean war.
I.f Stone presents a very well documented case much of what most peopleknow about the Korean War is false. A must read. ... Read more

13. The Korean War
by Max Hastings
Paperback: 389 Pages (1988-10-15)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$3.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067166834X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It was the first war we could not win. At no other time since World War II have two superpowers met in battle. Now Max Hastings, preeminent military historian takes us back to the bloody bitter struggle to restore South Korean independence after the Communist invasion of June 1950. Using personal accounts from interviews with more than 200 vets -- including the Chinese -- Hastings follows real officers and soldiers through the battles. He brilliantly captures the Cold War crisis at home -- the strategies and politics of Truman, Acheson, Marshall, MacArthur, Ridgway, and Bradley -- and shows what we should have learned in the war that was the prelude to Vietnam. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Frustrated Ambitions
The Korean War has been termed, "the forgotten war" even though many books have been written about it.The war has not been "forgotten" by historians.Its only been forgotten by the general public mostly due to the fact that Hollywood hasn't made any blockbuster films on the War and it did not occur during a period of social ferment like Vietnam. Also, and not to be minimized, it happened a long time ago and did not come to a conclusive end.Because of that, for America anyhow, unprecedented outcome, it seemed not too many contemporaries wanted to talk about it.Because of its implications for future wars, in Vietnam, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, it should be the focus of considerable attention, but its not.Because of what happened to General MacArthur, echoed to some extent by the dismissal of General McChrystal, parallels should be drawn:they haven't.Because of the misapprehensions that lead to American support for the despotic and unpopular Rhee regime against a marginally more unpalatable North Korean alternative, implications for American support for the Diem regime (Vietnam), the Kharzai regime (Afghanistan) and maybe the Iraqi government (still being formed nearly a year after elections)should all be considered;they aren't.So, how does this book help?It anticipates the future by exposing the errors of the past like good histories are supposed to do but rarely deliver.

Hastings delivers a lucid and compelling account of the events leading to the partition of the country along the 38th parallel (the current armistice line).He notes, without sarcasm, that the Russians actually fulfilled a promise to evacuate the country in accord with a diplomatic understanding. Hastings exposes the ideologically driven assumptions that inexorably lead the US to "intervene" in support of the Rhee regime, even though similar bad judgment resulted in the debacle for the Nationalist Government in China only a few short years beforehand. In phrases I can only term shocking in their lucidity, he expounds the catalogue of errors made with regard to the probability of Chinese intervention.The greater-than-trivial dalliance with the thought of using theater nuclear weapons is well worth noting even though it has been largely overlooked outside the ambit of academia.The genuinely larger-than-life MacArthur is given due scrutiny and General Ridgeway's role in "saving the bacon" is emphasized.

No war history is complete without tales of sacrifice and depictions of bloody combat.Hastings, as always, excels in these areas and his ability to explain strategy and tactics is pretty close to unparalleled.Hastings also, as always, took the trouble to seek out and interview participants of all ranks (though access to the paranoid and reclusive North Koreans was, of course, highly restricted) and nicely interweaves their stories with the larger picture.He does not do this to the sometimes distracting extent of Martin Gilbert (his history of WW-II being an example) or Stephan Ambrose (many examples in his work);Hastings strikes the right balance.

While this book is not the "definitive" history of the Korean War (Clay Blair's, "The Forgotten War" probably holds that title), it is the most readable and interesting account I have encountered.Even so, the insights pertaining to involvement in overseas conflicts Hastings draws are a compelling attraction of this book.The catalogue of frustrated ambitions;those of MacArthur (further establishing his legacy); those of Truman ("containing Communism"); those of Mao and Kim il-sung (establishing Communist hegemony on the Korean peninsula and dealing the capitalist "dogs" a death blow);those of the UN (being the "world's policemen") all foundered in Korea.Remembering how perilously close to the abyss we came is, however, the best reason for reading about the War and this book is the best introduction to that still unresolved event.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intellectual wrestling and division.
Must read this for the benefit of the fathers generation; maybe it is like this somewhere for the present generation to worry about [in the future]; glory is in their honor as a historic success by the people [their gain]. A devise overcome for peace; may there never be a beginning 'baby' as this again, Somebody lost and much is forgotten. The lesson includes that the relationship in grace be always higher [the need for practice and not exercise cannot be more strongly emphasized]. The beginning of conflict before a darkness approaching the light. Great gratitude in the weakness having only one chance is conveyed to the fathers generation who engaged to the light.

4-0 out of 5 stars A first-rate history of the 'forgotten war'
Max Hastings' military history of the Korean war is based on over 200 interviews from soldiers, officials and civilians who lived the conflict first-hand. It is not only one of the finest English-language books on Korea, it rates as classic military history. The text rotates seamlessly from a strategic view of the war and its commanders to a company desperately trying to save South Korea from a brutally efficient offensive which nearly captured the whole peninsula.

The author views the conflict as a necessary war, but this does nothing to color the multitude of tactical mistakes which cost the UN dearly. While most of the soldiers were American and Korean, there were also thirteen other nations represented (e.g. Britain, Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Australian). Of course, the North Koreans were aided by the Chinese and Soviets. Hastings could have included more from the political side of things in both UN headquarters and Washington. For anyone with even the slightest interest in the 'forgotten war,' reading Hastings gripping account of the hermit kingdom between 1950-1953 is a must.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Bulk of Information
The Korean War
Max Hastings
The title of this book is quite self-explanatory as it describes the topic of the book.This historical recount is of the Korean War and the issues faced by all the sides in the fighting.Hastings conveys the topic of this book and his thesis through constant repetition of the fact that there were a large amount of issues with the American and Allied military forces as they tried to crush Communist intervention in South Korea.The thesis of this book is along the lines of the fact that the United States and their allies were so unprepared for this war that during the course of the fighting it always seemed as though the North Koreans and the Russians would doubtlessly come out victorious.The morale of the soldiers was crushed as more and more waves of aggressors came through to knock back the front until the Americans were nearly cornered at the Southern tip of South Korea.This book was a brilliant recount of the actions that took place during the Korean War and there was definitely a need for this book.Personally, I learned more from this book than I did from any other reading that I have done on the Korean War.
Max Hasting held to a very strict factual interpretation of the war throughout the entirety of this novel.He is constantly using quotes from majors and commanders about how the U.S. reacted to certain actions and how the Allied forces along with the United States decided how to make the next move.The bulk of this book is quotations and factual evidence while the reader is left to work through it and provide their own commentary on every statistic and every quotation.Hasting spoke mainly from the side of the United States and their allies against the North Koreans and Communism.He never exhibited the vast view of the United States for the Communist nations that were fighting alongside Korea.He often spoke of South Korea and how citizens acted when they were first attacked but he rarely includes a quote from a North Korea unless it was a major leader of the battle.This one-sidedness creates an obvious bias involving this novel and the situation that the North Koreans were in during the period.Hastings spends most of his time on the South Koreans and their allies while very often speaking in detail of the feelings of the Communist North Korean soldiers and citizens.He uses very few tables and maps but when they are inserted they are very helpful in an understanding of the text.For example, when he was describing how the North Koreans were destroying the Pusan Perimeter he included a map of Korea and all the cities and landmarks that were included in his description of the battling taking part during the section.In the middle of the book Hastings includes a section roughly ten or fifteen pages long that is completely filled with pictures and captions.This layout is slightly confusing because you must refer to the middle of the book whenever you need to look up a picture in order to try and understand the situation more thoroughly.On the other hand, when you reach this section is serves as a nice break to the heavy, historical reading.The reader can now look through the pictures at a leisurely pace as he/she prepares to continue to read the second half of the novel.To an untrained reader, this can be a very challenging book to understand.There is very little commentary and reading this is very comparable to reading a textbook.It is packed with information and at times it is quite hard to work your way through the mass of information.Hastings is by no means padding or confusing the text, he is simply giving the reader a raw representation of the data rather than an easily understandable version with many explanations.The reader of this book is forced to learn as they read in order to keep up with all the action taking place.
In my eyes, I found this book to be very successful in describing the confusing the Korean War.Due to the quick start to this fighting, the allies had to create an armed forces as quickly as possible and it gave them a huge disadvantage when they were trying to fight off the relentless Communist attacks.With a rag-tag group of soldiers who had little to no time in training before going out to battle, the anti-Communist nations had to exhibit unending willpower to keep the Communists from breaking down the barriers and unremittingly pouring into helpless South Korea.This is a very difficult book to understand simply because of all the information that needed to be conveyed to the reader.Hastings conveyed this important information brilliantly and thoroughly persuaded me into believing that the United States and their Allies were totally right to defend South Korea from the relentless Communists.I suggest that you do not read this book if you are not willing to spend time searching through the text to find out what is happening.With all the information that Hastings includes it is nearly impossible to read every page only once and still get a firm grasp of the subject.Despite the difficulty of this book, I believe that it was very powerful and that it really gave me a view into what the Korean War was like.I would have never guessed how confusing and uncontrolled all the fighting was and how close the United States was to defeat on so many occasions.I suggest that the reader of this book look into the topic of the Korean War prior to reading the actual book so that they can already have a background of the topic before the heavy reading begins.I did not do this and I definitely regret making that bad decision as it doubtlessly hindered my ability to smoothly comprehend the novel as it was being unfolded in front of me.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview But May have a British Bias
Let me first say that I recommend this book as a good one volume overview of the Korean War.Hastings does a fine job of weaving together the political, strategic and tactical elements of the war.The writing is of high quality, not overly bogged down in military minutia, but enough detail to provide a general education of the conflict.And, it is presented in an entertaining way that will keep the readers' interest.

Having said this, I found myself becomming more and more irritated by one thing:Hastings' apparent British bias.Some would say that this is expected from a British author, but I don't think that should matter.I don't doubt the accuracy of the information he chose to present in his book, but an author must be selective in what information to include and what not to include when fitting the history of a war into 300 odd pages.It seemed to me that the author was looking for aspects of the war where he could compare the British in a favorable light specifically against the Americans.It comes across as a kind of petty competition bourn out of some kind of apparent inferiority complex.

Maybe this is just my own American bias seeping into things, but I tend to be pretty fair in accepting the American shortfalls and mistakes when reading about history involving my country.I don't dismiss the American failures and blunders in the war, and I think the author was right to describe them.It was just the method by which he would describe American shortcommings in a way that would compare them to the "enlightened" perspective of the British.This seemed little "fishy" to me.

If you can deal with the above, you should find the book to be well-written general overview of the Korean War.I would actually give it 3.5 stars if I could, but couldn't bring myself to give it 4 or 5.

... Read more

14. Conflict: The History Of The Korean War, 1950-1953
by Robert Leckie
Paperback: 496 Pages (1996-08-22)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$14.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306807165
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In June 1950 Communist forces poured across the 38th Parallel (the arbitrary, militarily indefensible line of latitude separating the Communist North from the independent Republic of Korea) to unite the country by force. Three bloody, bitter years of fighting ensued during which the seesawing fortunes of this frustrating war thwarted North Korea's ambitions while treating the ill-equipped, overconfident UN peacekeeping forces, mostly Americans, no less harshly. Conflict examines the war in all its military, political, and human dimensions: the battles at Pusan Perimeter, at Inchon, at Chosin Reservoir, at Heartbreak Ridge; significant figures like Syngman Rhee, Kim Il Sung, Ridgway, MacArthur, and Truman; controversies like MacArthur's dismissal, the difficulties of P.O.W. exchanges, and charges of brainwashing and germ warfare; as well as penetrating analyses of the performance of the American soldier, and the war's effect on the U.S. military and our national psyche. As such, Conflict stands as an unsurpassed, vivid contribution to history.
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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Leckie

"Conflict" is classic Leckie.Written more as a newspaper account, it is more readable than a stadard treatise on the war.Leckie's inability to suffer incompetence and admiration for the common infantryman is evident in his writing, without the arrogancethat Marshall often conveys.This work shows why Leckie was, and remains, one of the best war story tellers in hirtory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, fast paced overview
A great book to use for high school reading. In this day and age, it is probably good for the college student. A quick overviewof what has turned out to be a SUCCESS project in South Korea. That nation would not be here otherwise1 This by one who was there in 50 - 51 and then later in '68-69.

2-0 out of 5 stars If you like your prose purple...
I found this book to be polemic as all get out. The monograph was a black and white portrayal of history told in a Cowboys and Indians style that was frustrating to read if the reader is looking for depth and ambiguity in the subject.
In the interests of keeping it positive: if you like your prose purple, if you like your journalism yellow, if you love reading the The Sun, and are glued to Fox News, then this is the book for you!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Overview of the Korean War
This is not as detailed as most of Mr. Leckie's books but it still provides a good overview of the Korean War.This book does not go into great details of the battles but does cover the political difficulties of the war including McArthur's dismissal.The book does a good job explaining the many dificulties dealing with the Koreans in the long process to settle a peace between the two nations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Fast paced, informative and highly readable account of the American Eagle taking on the Russian Bear (and winning, as always). ... Read more

15. Mao's American Strategy and the Korean War
by Wanli Hu
Paperback: 284 Pages (2008-05-19)
list price: US$111.00 -- used & new: US$78.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3836437708
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How People's Republic of China interacts with the United States will partly determine the world's order in the 21st century. The Korean War-the only time that China confronted the U.S.-remains a rich source for lessons on the Sino-U.S. relationship. War was the last thing China needed in 1950, and Mao Zedong never really got along with Joseph Stalin, so why did Mao decide to lean toward the USSR and to challenge the United States? What was the context and rationale for Mao's decisions? These questions were analyzed and answered in the context of "Mao's American strategy." The strategy was established after direct contact with U.S. officials and analyses of U.S. policy during and after World War II.Mao was convinced in the 1940's that the U.S., for its own national interests, would interfere with China's internal affairs sooner or later, and that a military confrontation was so likely that it was only a matter of when and where. Mao's American strategy was important then, and still is for China to consider its contemporary foreign policies. Without understanding this strategy, it is difficult to forecast what the China-U.S. relationship might be in the 21st century. The book is written for historians, diplomats, military strategists, and anyone who is interested in an understanding of the historic perspective that China brings to its foreign policy. ... Read more

16. American Military History, Volume II (2005): The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917-2003
Hardcover: 542 Pages (2005-08-24)
list price: US$72.50 -- used & new: US$99.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0160725410
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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CMH Pub. 30-22. Army Historical Series.
Richard W. Stewart, General Editor. 
Contains an historical survey of the organization and accomplishments of the United States Army from the eve of World War 1 to the war against terrorism still under way. Designed to inculcate in young officers and soldiers an awareness of our nation's military past and to demonstrate to them that the study of military history is an essential ingredient in leadership development. Intended primarily for use in the American Military History course in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program in civilian colleges and universities.

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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars History behind the Scenes
Having just audited a course for college ROTC students, with this book as the text, and being a military history buff, I was enlightened by the history behind the history that this book brings to the fore.It is awonderful resource.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good survey of US Military History
This book, and its predecessor (Volume I) are great for people interested in learning about the history of America's Army.

It covers all major battles and leaders from World War I until the War on Terror.Wonderful bibliography and "suggested reading" sections.

Just an all-around great reference for scholars and military history buffs alike.

-JCM ... Read more

17. No Bugles, No Drums: An Oral History of the Korean War
by Rudy Tomedi
Paperback: 280 Pages (1994-10-07)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$9.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471105732
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"A vivid description of the Korean War as seen through the eyes of those who fought there. . . . Readers will find it easy to project themselves into the action, to be at the Pusan perimeter, on the ground at the Yalu River, at Pork Chop Hill, at Heartbreak Ridge or airborne in MiG Alley."—The Retired Officer Magazine

"Those who survived the fighting and dying speak for themselves. . . . The gritty takes Tomedi compiled on a so-called 'forgotten' war pack a real wallop."—Kirkus Reviews

"The oral testimonies here clearly convey what the war in Korea was like and how it differed from WWII and Vietnam." — Publishers Weekly

"No Bugles, No Drums will be a valuable addition to the military library of any student of history." — Pointer View, U.S. Military Academy at West Point


In the foxholes and atop the fiery hilltops of Korea, men confronted the savage, all-too-human face of war. They were young, valiant, and largely forgotten by a public weary of waiting for victory. Sent halfway around the world, they were ordered to fight an enemy they didn't know, for political objectives they didn't understand. But they did their job and served their nation well. And now, forty years later, their story can be told. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

Certainly ranks as one of the most sobering, factual, 'IN YOUR FACE', 'No-Punches-Pulled' accurate accountings of a crucial period of American History which all too many Americans refused to accept at the time of its happening and who have ignored it with a seeming vengeance, ever since.Our failure to have not learned lasting lessons from it, almost literally 'set the proverbial stage' for us to repeat HISTORY since then.Anyone who feels they have an understanding of the complexities and multi-levels of inherent conflicts and WORLD-WIDE involvements and issues of that time and who haven't read this BOOK, had best read this stunning, eye-opening 'tour-de-force'!

Jim Girzone

4-0 out of 5 stars An eclectic, if also disjointed, battlefield survey
The author has compiled 34 separate firsthand accounts of combat from the port of Pusan to the hours before the Armistice. Largely unedited, the tales make interesting reading. I believe that such renditions from Soldiers on the scene make war most real, for each story, like each Soldier, is unto itself. The political books I review are great to read for the diplomatic and political intrigue, but the raw reports from the trenches have an honesty which is heartrending.

This book is similar to Donald Knox's texts since it consists of a series of short stories. But Knox's books are more effective because the stories are interwoven and tie the book together as a coherent whole. Tomedi's book and a few others like it are more disjointed, if still useful reading.
Tomedi adds to the Korean War literature significantly with Bill Chambers' saga as a graves registration person. Few authors talk or discuss the role of these final scavengers of the battlefield, assigned the grim task of assembling and identifying human remains. Harry Summers--who has a bevy of books about the war himself-- states that Ridgways' miracle was getting the US army off the roads [tankbound, he said] and up onto the hills and ridges where the enemy were. Ridgway concentrated on killing the enemy--not taking territory. Louis Millet is modest enough to admit that his famous bayonet charge was successful primarily because the Chinese decided to throw grenades rather then use their rifles. Sherman Pratt's views from Heartbreak Ridge, and a stern lecture from a French Legionnaire about theUN intervention,is a rare glimpse of how moral considerations reach the battlefield itself.

Three chapters highlight the air war-- ground support, strategic bombing, and combat fighters. Ben Scotts' experience as a black officer in a white army should be required reading for all Korean war buffs. [Despite the "patronizing expectation of failure.... there was no better institution in American life, no better one anywhere, than the army for the black man in the forties and fifties." ] So should Blaine Freidlander's experience with the ROKs, who many GIs held in contempt for bugging out or cowardice. ROKs were effective and disciplined fighters, once they were trained, as Jim Houlton makes clear in the a later chapter describing how they proved themself at White Horse mountain. Friedlander was, however, put off by the cruelty and severity of the ROKs; those were accepted characteristics of Korean society, apparently. [reviewers comment: they still are. Korea remains a very heavyhanded, authoritarian society.]

It staggers the imagination that Stanley Weintraub, a college professor in charge of POW processing, was forced to use those very same POWs as translators. In fact the whole POW/internment/Koje uprising issue is such an example of post WWII cold-war naivete about the intentions, tactics, and style of communists that I am not surprised that McCarthy hysteria about spies reached the intensity that it did.

Overall, a good book. Some unique stories and insights from folks on the ground in Korea. ... Read more

18. The Korean War
by William Stueck
Paperback: 496 Pages (1997-07-07)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$23.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691016240
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This first truly international history of the Korean War argues that by its timing, its course, and its outcome it functioned as a substitute for World War III. Stueck draws on recently available materials from seven countries, plus the archives of the United Nations, presenting a detailed narrative of the diplomacy of the conflict and a broad assessment of its critical role in the Cold War. He emphasizes the contribution of the United Nations, which at several key points in the conflict provided an important institutional framework within which less powerful nations were able to restrain the aggressive tendencies of the United States.

In Stueck's view, contributors to the U.N. cause in Korea provided support not out of any abstract commitment to a universal system of collective security but because they saw an opportunity to influence U.S. policy. Chinese intervention in Korea in the fall of 1950 brought with it the threat of world war, but at that time and in other instances prior to the armistice in July 1953, America's NATO allies and Third World neutrals succeeded in curbing American adventurism. While conceding the tragic and brutal nature of the war, Stueck suggests that it helped to prevent the occurrence of an even more destructive conflict in Europe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Was the Korean War a Proxy for WWIII??
Good book! The introduction sets the tone and the theme for the book: thus, it hangs together despite being one of those books which covers the battles of the war in numbing detail. His theses are several:

(1)The Korean War substituted for WW III between the two superpowers.
(2)The U.N. was not exclusively a U.S. tool.
(3)Stalin's motive was to hurt US/China relations, the US, to stop communism; neither cared about Korea.
(4)The war had a global impact on defense expenditures, treaties and economic alliances between the various blocs.

There is much speculation about times when the war could have come ended sooner. What would the political impact have been?Stueck suggests that great men--Stalin, Mao, Truman/Acheson--not just great ideology, played a role in this critical history.

Occupation of Korea by Russian and US forces at the end of WWII was without any specifics..that hurt as relations between the two nations hardened. Both occupying forces were heavyhanded.Russians used reform to calm things down, but the south was in chaos among its political factions. The US, wishing to wash its hands of Korea, turned to the UN as a way to have peninsular elections; the north refused to take part. Some improvement took place in the south in 1950, helped by ruthless suppression of insurrections by Syghman Rhee in the central mountains of Korea.

To Stalin, an asian war would detract from the European theatre, and hurt China. Still the USA, China and Russia had profound reasons NOT to clash head on those summer days of 1950. Early diplomatic moves made it clear that the 3 superpowers would confine the battlefield to Korea.

Discussion about Allied forces going over the 38th parallel were underway in the US as early as the 10th of August. A status quo ante bellum in September might have been doable. But Stueck never addresses the American argument that we could be 'bled dry' by always merely pushing back Bloc armies: communist insurgencies all over the globe gave the Russians far more flexibility.

The In'chon landing changed the momentum of the war; now it was the Russians who tried to slow down Allied progress and momentum for Japanese peace treaties and European rearamament.

Military events occurred so quickly those first few months in Korea that they overwhelmed diplomatic processes. Stalin was now in Truman's position three months earlier...his ally trashed, his influence on the line. Given US and Chinese reservations about the course of events, it is a pity they did not talk directly to one another; they might have reached some sort of armistice. Still...how to 'reunite' North with South Korea would remain problematic.

Stueck spends vast amounts of time trying to divine the intentions of the combatants. This is not easy:the NKPA were arrogant in July; Americans felt invincible in October; Chinese stubbornness peaked in early 1951. The gloom that swirled in US and European capitals in early December 1950 is far better described by other authors.

Early 1951 brought much progress: Ridgway's offensives and restoration of Army battlefield confidence; on the diplomatic front, a Japanese peace treaty, NATO membership and German re-armament now firmly in place. The Marshall Plan and Japanese economic recovery were also well under way.

The peace talks were a struggle between the UN side, which wanted only Korean issues discussed, and the Chinese, who wanted discussions to be much broader. China had as much contempt for their nationalist Kim as America did for Rhee. Where to fix the truce line was an initial test of each sides backbone. The communist break of negotiations was designed to pressure the US on its treaty with Japan: it backfired. That treaty, NATO settlement and some failed offensives made the Russians lose on 3 major points. In fact the communist side often found that suspending negotiations was not in their interest: it denied them a valuable propaganda platform. The peace talks dragged on: in some ways, each side had a vested interest in a prolonged stalemate: The US continued european rearmament; China coninued to train its army; Russia continued to bleed the US. Surely the soldiers in the trenches felt differently.

Stueck concludes that the death of Stalin, operation Little Switch, and the cost of advancing to the 'neck' of Korea pushed the USA and the communists back to the negotiating table. Russia was having problems with its eastern European satellites--the initial tremors of the Hungary 1956.

In his `Aftermath' chapter, the author returns to his thesis that Korea was a proxy for WWII between the US and Russia. Did Korea prevent a far greater crisis in Europe? Did it prevent an attack--well planned-- against Yugoslavia in 1951??

How did the `Great Men' fare? Kim Il Sung, who assumed the war would be over in days, became as much a puppet of the Chinese as Rhee ever was for the USA. MacArthur thought we would be home by Christmas-- but got his own summons before Easter. Mao's fantasy that hungry masses could overwhelm western technology died an early, miserable death with millions of his soldiers. Stalin fostered China's dependency on the USSR but now faced an armed and developing Europe. As for Truman, establishing voluntary repatriation became his legacy.

What about those great ideas and ideologies? China obtained immense prestige, strutting its stuff at conferences in Geneva and Bandung; but its liberal economy gave way to stalinist style planning; and they distrusted the Russians ever more. The USA was now firmly identified, in Asia, as an ally of European colonial powers; still, at least OUR allies prospered and set an example to developing countries. The UN didn't set too firm an example for collective action; few countries really took part. Nor could it resolve great disputes between the powers. It did, however, encourage Russia to stay engaged with the organization since its governing bodies were so vital.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Korean War
Start reading this book at the end if you don't have the time to read through every minute negotiation and battle during this three-year war.Chapter Ten is an excellent overview of how twenty nations on six continents became deeply and fatally involved with what Stueck calls a "substitute for World War III."

I was grateful for the maps that Stueck provides along with his text.Because Stueck rarely provides a year along with a date, I could not tell if he was going forward or backward to explain a point.His skipping around in time was confusing.My knowledge of the Korean War before I read this book was fairly limited, gleaned from years of watching MASH on TV.Because of Stueck's thorough coverage, I now know many of the international nuances behind the historical relationship between the US and Korea. ... Read more

19. Remembrances of the Forgotten War: A Korean-American War Veteran's Journeys for Freedom
by Donald K. Chung
 Hardcover: 185 Pages (1995-05)
-- used & new: US$7.40
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Asin: 093555310X
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20. Korean War: Primary Sources (Korean War Reference Library)
by Sonia G. Benson
 Hardcover: 352 Pages (2001-10-22)
list price: US$79.00 -- used & new: US$5.39
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Asin: 0787656917
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