This book is very interesting in that it covers a period of time most people (including myself) know almost nothing about. My grandfather served in Korea and I wish I had read this when he was still around as he rarely spoke of it.
With that said you must read this book with the understanding it's quite biased. There is a liberal bias for certain, which is unforchanate but tolerable since the author does seem to try to be fair -- but it's there all throughout the book.
The real issue however and reason I knock a star off is the complete and total anti-MacArthur angle. Reading this book you'd have to assume MacArthur is the single worst human ever. Some credit is given to MacArthur from time to time but it's very brief and almost always used to setup some sort of failure. Maybe MacArthur really is as bad as this book makes him out to be, but some explanations of why MacArthur did what he did would be a lot more useful than generic comments about MacArthur only carrying about the spotlight.
Outside of the MacArthur (to be fair it's not all the time) this really is a great book to read and should hopefully make you want to learn more about this seemingly black hole in recent American history.
This was a book I listened to and Edward Hermann is one of the best at narration, a reason that he does so much on the History channel. He must have loved being asked to work with such great material as Halberstam’s book, which is an excellent history on the war, one of the best. Halberstam was a great writer and it is amazing that the writer could cover so much of the war and still be of reasonable length. It is truly a great work.
Went into the subject knowing very little about what happened during this war, now I can visualize what took place there. Amazing narrative and top-notch delivery. 5 stars
This is a great book, although the editing for the audio version is pretty severe. I happened across a print version just after starting the audiobook, and realized that large chunks (1/4 to 1/3 of the total) have been edited out, including much of the politics behind the war, and that these missing pieces are critical to the full understanding of the history. I ended up finishing the print version. I'd give it 4+ stars, compared to 3 for the audiobook. I'll hesitate before buying an abridged version of a book again.
It's a pretty good war story and the reader is good, my only complaint is that I would have liked more history on the root causes of the war and the why when and how Korea was divided into two separate parts.
I listened to the whole book in one week and gained an invaluable history lesson about a war that I previously knew nothing about.
The author's use of "new journalism", the embedding of story elements, using a narrative account of various soldiers' journey, captured the events more vividly.
Great overview about the Korean War and the mistakes that were made leading up to it. Great detail and storytelling surrounding the first year of the war but then it goes to a high level, leaving out what happened in the last two years. Overall worth listening to, especially if you don't know much about the Korean War.
My husband and I were not familiar with the Korean War and the War Memorial in Washington, DC has always seemed to make me feel frightened of the night. We really were amazed at what happened during this war. Didn't know it was so political, and shocked at the amount of Chinese soldiers the North Korean's had fighting in the war. Thanks for a great read. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history.
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
Excellent choice as an abridged version. Halberstam is a wonderful writer, and the first and last parts of the book capture both the personalities and the milieu of the times. In the middle, he gives detailed description of battles, and American movements up ( and down, in retreat) and it gets a bit slower. I agree with the previous review that a map is necessary or helpful, the Korean names and places hard to get audibly. And one quibble ( I say as a Canadian) he emphasizes America ( fair enough) to the almost exclusion ( not fair) of other countries that sent, and lost, men. But otherwise, I was captivated, listened to it in a week. I recommended it
Hard to believe that a war that killed 40,000 Western soldiers and 300,000 Chinese and Korean soldiers could be mostly forgotten. Halberstam covers the war using personal stories, from soldiers to MacArthur's underlings. The Democratic/Republican split on the war echoes today's situation, as do the false victories, and stalemates. An excellent read.