On 25 June, 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam.
Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict.
©1987 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios
I had hoped, that the book would be more like Stephen Ambrose's books from World War 2. That is not the case. It's taking a higher level approach, with less focus on the combat and experience of the men.
Over the top politics from a British view point
Get a better history with more about the people that fought and less British politics
Want to swap as I will never try to get through this boring book again/
Deft handling of military and political aspects, but a little weak on politics and lacks post-ussr fall docs. Aside from that doesn't feel all that dated and he takes advantage of when he wrote it to conduct interviews with lots of different voices. could have gone a bit deeper militarily. Pow chapter of Koreans held in the aouth fascinating. Good job weaving in different non-elite voices and from multiple sides. Would've loved to learn more about Turkish fighters. Worthy war in the end, particularly given how ROK has been able to thrive, important to see relative morality when defending flawed regime that's better than alternative. But enough with the Uk analysis can do no wrong.
Not a brilliant work, but good research and interviews went into it. Mac portrait good and concise, not much on us high politics. Good on characterizing how societies were responding to the war, perspective from everyday Americans and uk. Odd to think that uk in 1950 saw itself a first rate power, empire would last for awhile was operating assumption. Have to always be contextualizj get, imagining what is the recent history of the subjects, get a sense of their historical and political frame of references.
this is a well-rounded and thoughtful survey of the American and English experience in the Korean War. the narrator sought to enliven quotations with his imitations of the various accents of the speakers, which I could have lived without; but I can't suggest a better way to signal the beginnings and endings of quoted material, so even that I got used to. Hastings I have grown accustomed to enjoying and respecting.
Certainly. This was my second book by Max Hastings, personally I think he's a discount John Toland, but he can still write a good history book. This book was informative in its context and well reasoned in its speculations and conclusions.
I spent several minutes laughing over the accounts of the antics of UN POWs in the Chinese prison camps. It was a wonderful splash of humor to contrast with the miserable condition of the prisoners.
This book misses the mark. After listening to the first few hours it felt like days. By the end it seemed that while any number of historic figures and all of the major players had been identified I didn't really know them or understand them any better than when I started. Perhaps that was because the war itself was such a mess but I rather think it was the author that really didn't know.
"A missing piece of history"
Print would have provided a reference book that I could see maps
The political tensions between the various countries and the potential use of nuclear weapons
not listened to any
no emotional reaction other than wishing the veterans should gain far more recognition for their action in this forgotten and neglected conflict
A really worthy book to gain an insight into a war that has been ignored and forgotten.
I don't now
action affect every aspect from the ordinary soldier to the political side of things.
I have been very happy to hear the book - I would recommend that you have a map of Korea so you can see where the action pass away.
A wholly gripping account of a war which Hastings argues had to be fought because of what was at the time a real threat from communist totalitarian states. As with his other books he offers eye witness accounts of combatants which keeps the action urgent and exciting while detailing the strategic and political efforts of generals, presidents and foreign policy wonks. It's a very satisfying combination and in this particular book it's applied to the story of a country split between murderous communists and despotic nationalists, each backed by a superpower. The allies had good equipment but a shortage of battle hardened troops, the communists had relatively poor kit but were willing to win victory by sacrificing massive numbers of poorly trained infantry. Hastings argues that the terrain and the border with China meant that the war was always, in effect, unwinnable but the story plays out as a riveting dog-fight between two enormous armies lead by gifted but deranged generals across an extraordinarily difficult landscape. Hastings' reflections on what happens when the electorates of democratic nations become bored of intractable conflict and repelled by the foreign regimes that their governments have backed also has strong resonances with what's currently happening in the middle east.
"Too Anti American"
While the facts presented are apparently correct, they are written with an anti American bias.
Presenter was good and entertaining
Interesting and not dry at all, but there is a distinct lack of korean perspective, lots of british and American view points, but koreans and chinese views are sparse.
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