Arthur Boyd, the only survivor of Operation Broken Reed, documents his involvement in President Truman's undercover intelligence mission during the Korean War. The 10-man team gathered valuable information on the alliance between China, North Korea, and the Soviet Union before being ambushed by the Chinese. Christopher Curry does a remarkable job of capturing the camaraderie and creating the various personalities of the men of Operation Broken Reed, performing with a hardscrabble twang, determined grit, and dignity, helping to make Operation Broken Reed a memorable and heroic story of duty and sacrifice during one of America's most forgotten wars .
At the height of the Korean War, President Truman launched one of the most important intelligence-gathering operations in history. So valuable were the mission's findings about the North Korean-Soviet-Chinese alliance that it is no stretch to say they prevented World War III.
Only one man - sworn to secrecy for a half-century - survived Operation Broken Reed. Arthur Boyd recalls his role as cryptographer on a team of Army Rangers, Navy Frogmen, Air Force officers, and CIA operatives that posed as the captured crew of a B-29 bomber in January 1952. Given cover names and cyanide capsules in case of discovery, the men were transported by Chinese Nationalists wearing Communist uniforms across North Korea, where undercover allies delivered information about troop strengths, weaponry, and intention.
Fraught with danger, the mission came apart on its last day when the Americans came under fire from Chinese forces wise to the operation. The members of Broken Reed supplied Truman with proof of massive Chinese and Soviet buildups and a heavy Soviet bomber group in Manchuria, fully loaded with atomic weapons. With the potential destruction of the world outlined in front of him, Truman chose not to escalate the Korean War, saving millions of lives.
©2007 Arthur L. Boyd (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
This book is a great rebuttal to a book that was written about US secret operations called "Legacy of Ashes", which contended that every single secret operation ever attempted by the US secret agencies since WW2 has ended in failure. Here is the story of a group of men who were the true heroes. They sacraficed their lives without hesitation, answering the call of a President of the US in trouble. The secret mission they agreed to undertake sounds as though it might have been designed by a child after reading too many James Bond novels, and clearly fits the profile of a typical Legacy of Ashes operations. But these men agreed to go on the mission even though they had reservations, and they succeeded, although most sacraficed their lives. Success of this mission was not to achieve some military operations goal in the Korean war, to conquer a hill or assassinate a politician, but rather it was to give the President Truman the information he needed to be able to shut down the people who were pushing for an expansion of the Korean war. Without the information these men paid for with their lives, the war likely would have been expanded, given the domestic political forces in play at the time, pushing for all out anti-communism and invasion of China, an expansion of the war that was still being pushed even after the firing of a wreckless and arrogant General MacArthur, would have resulted in all out nuclear war with China and the Soviet Union. These men sacrificed their lives to provide the President conclusive evidence that China had the means and was preparing for nuclear war with the US, with the help of the Soviets. So listen to this story, a horrific story by any measure that ends with the massacre of the fifty of so men involved in the operation, with only 3 survivors, and after finishing you will want to get that old american flag out of that box in your garage and throw it up on the side of the house. Yes, the US did make mistakes in the ~65 years of american foreign policy and military actions since ww2, but the bad guys were real, and there have been many true heroes who knowingly sacraficed their lives so the rest of us could have the quality of live we now have, and have had since the end of ww2.
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