This is really more a story about soldiers in Vietnam than it is about a battle, or even the hill. It's about the crap they had to put up with from their superiors, the enemy, the country, and even one another, when all they wanted was to stay alive one more day.
Bronson Pinchot is the finest narrator I have ever heard. His ability to easily, consistently, and flawlessly switch between characters with different inflections, dialects, accents, and speech mannerisms is without peer. The story is a fine one with adequate narration. Pinchot brings it to life, adding a needed dimension to each character in a story that is about people at its core.
Any WWII buff, especially a Marine, should know about Iwo Jima. The island's importance was vital to ending the war and minimizing loss of Allied lives. Unfortunately, it cost a great many lives, on both sides, to make that happen.
This story is about one of the groups of Marines who made it happen. A fine group who acquitted themselves very well. Maybe the story, or one like it, has been told before. If so, I can't compare it to those. I can tell you that this is a story that should be known.
Any time you think you have endured abuse in your life, read Unbroken. Any time you think you have gone through hardship, read Unbroken. If you think you have had to overcome obstacles to be successful in life, read Unbroken.
Louis Zamperini's story is astounding. The story of all he had to survive simply to survive is mind-boggling. I have endured hardship in my life, but nothing resembling this. The cruelty of his captors after he survived long enough to become one is unimaginable to those who think we live in a civilized world.
This is a #1 bestseller for a reason. Buy this book. Read this book.
For those who read (or listen to) military history books, Korea is a largely untapped reservoir of yet-untold stories. Books like Colder than Hell and The Last Stand of Fox Company gave us a glimpse of the hell of a Korean winter in which staying alive takes a lot more than remembering what they taught you in boot camp - assuming you even got to go to boot camp.
This story revolves around the Marines of George Company who fought to take and hold the airfield at Koto-Ri. This was essential because it would serve as both a supply replenishment point and evacuation center for the many wounded.
The enemy fought hard and bravely, and the Marines had to do the same. The men of George Company did, were victorious, and now how proudly have their names carved in history. The story is well-told, and one worth hearing about.
The story of Colditz was new to me. It listens more like a somewhat sterile memoir. The narrator uses a British accent, which gives some justification to the somewhat dry and understated British way of telling a story.
To look at a castle like Colditz and imagine that one could escape from it takes a lot of faith. The men who did it had more than faith. They had skill, persistence, and a resourcefulness rarely seen today. Very interesting story about their lives and the life of a prison during WWII.
This is one of those books that could have been much shorter. It tells of a great find in the Atlantic, and of its significance. But to have limited the story to that subject would have lost the bulk of the saga, which is of the divers themselves, and the years of their lives they gave to leave no stone unturned in fully laying to rest all of the mysteries of their find.
By the end of the story, you will know these men, care about them and their obsession, rejoice and hurt with them as they experience the ups and downs of their quest. Pretty good sea story about some incredibly dedicated men of the sea. And I don't just mean the divers.
I have read pretty much every book Tom Clancy has ever written, from his riveting The Hunt for Red October to the dreadful Rainbow Six. This is an improvement over the latter, but a mere shadow of the former. The story reads like a deliberate setup for the next book, which could be a pretty good one.
Worth a listen, but don't expect too much.
This 2 part book really is in two parts. The first part covers the beginning of the nuclear age, and covers some, though not nearly all, of the espionage stories detailed more completely in Sherry Sontag's excellent "Blind Man's Bluff". There is an interesting and significant portion of this that talks about how we figured out how to track the Soviet subs by their transmissions.
Then the second part segues into how subs helped the American side during the Cuban Missile crisis and the Cold War, including the Jennifer Project. There are some excellent stories, and a few gripping moments, but mostly it isn't a compelling, edge of your seat read. If you want to be informed, get this book. If you are looking to be entertained, there are better ones.
This book has an excellent tone about it. It talks about politics, personal battles, bravery, idiocy, boredom, craziness, commanders strong and weak, yet without making any of them feel like they dominate the story.
It's a finely balanced story of a Marine Lt. as he attempts to guide a Marine rifle platoon in Iraq while figuring out how to deal with commanders who don't seem to always make sense in a place that makes even less sense.
I generally prefer WWII or Korean war stories, but this is a very good one about Iraq.
There is bound to be some overlap between any set of stories regarding a particular military campaign, and the encounter at Korea's Chosin Reservoir is no different. Having listened to the harrowing tales of bravery, hardship, and Marine stick-to-it-iveness in that classic tale, this was a step backward in terms of taking one's breath away with the horror of war in one of its most hellish times. But only a slight step.
For as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the brave remnants of Fox Company and the Marines in Colder than Hell have a shared destiny. I won't spoil it for those who have yet to read Last Stand, but the two books could almost be interwoven into one excellent epic tale.
Colder than Hell is a very fine book that as an avid reader of military history, I am proud to recommend.
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