I'm not particularly interested in war histories, but I purchased this audio book because my father was in the war and I know nothing about why we fought there. This is a clear and compelling story that explains both the politics and the ramifications for individual soldiers. A must read (or listen) for anyone wanting a primer on the Korean War told from the perspective of those who lived (or died) through it. Excellent!
David Halberstam did a great book before his life ended earlier this year. This book, about Korean war, compiles a lot of stories in parallel, but Mr, Halsterm did a great job to make them fit with each other really well.
The author also provided just enough background information, about China, Russia, North and South Korea, and even Taiwan, to make the big picture more understanable. Of course, the best par tis about the different personalities of various people, such as President Truman and General McArthur.
We could learn a great deal about this specific war from this wonderful book.
David Halberstam has written a clear and utterly beautiful history of the Korean War. He moves between describing the political, the military, and the personal aspects of the war with ease, and never loses the readers' interest. His honest portrayal of the flawed military leaders, Generals Ned Almond and Douglas McArthur, is illuminating and troubling and important for Americans to understand. We also get a clear understanding of the views and motives of the Communist leaders, Mao, Stalin, and of course Kim Il-sung, the North Korean strongman. Best of all are the stories of the American soldiers and their leaders who fought on the ground. The narrator, Edward Herrmann, is brilliant. His voice is able seemingly portray the direct feelings of Halbertstam without being overly dramatic. My only disappointment was that the book was abridged--I think it could have easily been presented in its entirety, but I solved that problem by reading the parts that were skipped from a library book.
Use your credit on this one. It's very informing, even though you can tell the author is no McArthur fan. If you're a history buff, read this one. When are we going to learn to keep our noses out of the rest of the world's business?
I enjoyed this much more than the more famous "Best and Brightest", in part due to the ability of Halberstam to write a much more concise work while covering in similar (or perhaps, sufficient) detail.
As a sometime student of history, I found the perspective on MacArthur particularly illuminating (especially when compared with an American Caesar), and the insight into the Chinese and Korean leadership of the time worth the read in and of itself.
Finally, one of Halberstam's reasons for writing the book was the relative dearth of material on the Korean War, which he discusses in the foreward or first chapter of the book. With this publication, I firmly believe that there is now a seminal work on the Korean War, and it is this book.
Buy it and listen-you will have no regrets.
The narrator is relentlessly cool. The story is compelling and informative. I knew nothing about the Korean War other than the years when it occurred. This book filled in the blanks for me.
Wonderful book for those who need an education on how the US became involved in Korea and the drama and tragedy of the war itself. Outstanding scholarship, especially on China's involvement.
Having been born in 1966, I grew up knowing very little about the Korean or Vietnam wars. They were both covered in sparse details in school. This is an acurate, detailed, and personalized account of Korea. Every person should read this account and then go hug a vet! Masterful reporting!
I have been a big fan of Halberstam, thoroughly enjoying books like The Reckoning and The Fifties. This has to be one of his best books ever. The narrator made me feel like it was Halberstam himself reading, bringing to life not only the intense battles, but the personalities and relationships among the political and military leaders during the Korean War.
It has so many parallels to our war in Iraq today that it should be required reading of all of the students in our military academies and at the State Department.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The individual soldier's and Marine's stories are wonderful, as are the stories of the Machinations and poor leadership of the top generals.