This book, originally published in 1963 ,is THE classic by which other Korean War histories may be measured. The author was a battalion commander in Korea and had the connections to get outstanding personal interest stories of his living contemporaries. He provides an unbiased telling of a story that Americans may want to forget but he makes a clear differentiation between the American military of 1945 and that of 1950. He deals with problems of funding neglect by Congress and training shortfalls by leadership of the American military after World War II. Fehrenbach deals with the campaigns as one who has been there. His insight into the politics of coalition warfare is excellent. If you want to read ONE book about Korea, this is it. It has detail, insight and intrigue which were all a part of the time.
I bought this book on a lark because I am teaching a course on the Presidency in the 20th Century. The book turned out to be quite well done for what it is and provided insight into the private life of JFK. It is not tawdry or titillating in its approach to a delicate relationship and its effect on a 19 year old intern. The book says volumes about how the Presidency of the US is all about power. The author was perceptive of a situation which she knew would get her nowhere in the end. Her silence for the intervening years was admirable and the inside history, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis and assassination were interesting in understanding the JFK era.
George Bush did a nice job of writing his autobiography which should be titled "I Really Am A Nice Guy Who is Married to an Angel". The gravity and repercussions of the decisions described goes far beyond the banal explanations of this book. The superficial spin applied to war against terror does not present any real "lessons learned" about poor planning, inadequate preparation and poor choices of staffers. Surprisingly, Bush does not address the incompetence of many his "chosen" who forced his decisions by poor staff work.. The best part where Bush seemed in his element was the story of his involvement with the Texas Rangers. I was disappointed in the book but the audio presentation was quite good.
The writing style may leave something to be desired but the content is most important to any student of WWII -Europe history. Doubler brings out the nitty-gritty of problems in the US training system, the replacement system and almost every other aspect of fighting modern war circa 1942. Only the artillery had their act together. From there he describes how we learned by doing and describes the pitfalls along the way. The content of this book is what makes it excellent. It could have been titled "How We Learned to Fight - the Hard Way"
David Halberstam's final book is a jewel. It is extremely readable (or listenable) and presents an unbiased approach to the Korean War. His research provides some post -iron curtain
details not in the Fehrenbach classic which was written in 1963. This book is mandatory reading, or listening, in my advanced classes on Korea. It communicates with those seeking an answer to "why is Korea 'The Forgotten War'".
This book tells of the travails of the UN forces in Korea in 1950. There is little here that is not in the Fehrenbach classic "This Kind of War" which deals with the war in its entirety. This book lacks focus if you are familiar with the basic plot, counterplot and subplot (MacArthur). It spends far more time with the Marines than with the details of what happened to Army 1st Cav, 2d, 24th and 25th Div and practically nothing on the ROK. Ex-Marines will like this book a lot.
I have been impressed with the detail yet readability of historian Sir Max Hasting's work. His writing of 20th Century military history has been superb. I am teaching a college course on the Korean War and have reread both Fehrenbach (This Kind of War) and Halberstam (The Coldest Winter) as well as Hastings (The Korean War). This time I used my Audible unabridged versions of all three books.
Hasting's book relies heavily on personal stories presented earlier by Fehrenbach (who was in the Korean War) and presents little research or new material except more detail on some of the British units involved. His book is basically a critique of how the Brits (Hastings) would have run the war and what was wrong with all things American in Korea. The narrator sounds like a condescending British Seargeant Major reading to the members of the club. The book contains several errors, small points to be sure, but is not up to the work standards that the fine historian Sir Max Hastings normally upholds. Both Fehrenbach and Halberstam are better choices for both content and reading enjoyment.
Historical fiction at its best. Great period piece in the English tradition by Percival Christopher Wren. Enjoyed listening to the story of the "Blue Water" and the ramifications of British traditions of honor. This book provides all that many know about the French Foreign Legion. Great read as a classic.
I like military fiction as a wonderful form of escapist entertainment. Great beach books. I read all of the 20+ volumes of Patrick O’Brian’s tales of the Royal Navy of 1800 and they were great – generally 5-star. I decided to embark on the Sharpe series as a break from more serious historical reading (or listening). The writing is not of the quality of O’Brian but the stories are real action dramas based on historical events involving the British army complete with “knights in shining armor” and black hearted villains. I have enjoyed three of the series so far. Shades of Horatio Hornblower.
Robin Olds is an Air Force legend. He was "bigger than life" and always "above the mundane, red-tape hassle" so prevalent in military operations. Christina Olds, his daughter, has provided an insight into the man that makes the stories stand out. This is an outstanding biography that shows Olds, warts and all, and why he is rapidly becoming a part of the military folk lore. Highly recommended.
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