Leadership of the Crucible is an exceptional book on how modern wars are conducted by "ordinary" men. It is a breathtaking account, a faithful depiction of this (unfortunately) largely forgotten war. Many reasons push me to rank this book as an authoritative, reference type of books.
First, the quality of the background work is astounding. The author obviously didn't spare himself any time in researching his subject, interviewing veterans, collecting pictures of actual places, digging into books and articles.
Second, his objectivity as a historian is spotless with a clean, detached narration that (almost) never take sides on the doings and decisions of these men who put their lives at stake amidst while fighting in chaos.
Third, the clarity of his writing, as well as the use of simple yet reliable overview maps makes understanding of complex tactical situations an easier task. The narration feels as if events are actually unfolding right in front of the eyes, although these events took place over half a century ago. Readers will undoubtedly finish their reading by a "I have learnt something today!"...
Fourth, he manages to treat a series of high-fame events in a very efficient way by locating them in the chronological chain of events that made the Korean War. He also connects them to other military actions that were unfolding at the same time, sometimes at the other end of the country, if not the world.
Fifth, he explores this often underestimated aspect of military conflicts, precisely because of its very nature as an intangible, highly subjective topic: human interaction, the role of leadership, of emotions of all kinds, of moral values that might, at one stage, make the difference between victory and disaster, between life and death.
Only drawbacks, just for the fun of it: a lack of North Korean/Chinese views on these events (but communist archives are still not easily available) and, being in aviation, the scope and depth of air power is sometimes weak.
Otherwise, this book only deserves praise and should be seen as a "must-have" in any serious military historian/fan book collection.