Operation Broken Reed

  • by Arthur Boyd
  • Narrated by Christopher Curry
  • 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Audible Editor Reviews

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 .

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I'm not sure what to believe

Going into this book I had read some the reviews that had questioned the authenticity of the story, along with the rebuttals provided by Lt Col Boyd and his son. In my opinion the questions were stronger than the rebuttal but as my grand-father served in Korea and there isn't a ton out there on Audible about it and I've read just about everything else I decided I'd give it a try and see what I thought.

In the beginning of the book the author explains that it's been a very long time since this event occurred and as such he can't recall the exact dialog that took place all the time. This is very reasonable, however I personally don't like the way they addressed this issue providing the various characters with basically movie lines. The entire book in fact reads like a movie - in some cases that is good, in this case it is not since it reads like a 60s WWII flick you've seen 100 times with predictable characters saying lines you would have sworn you've heard before. I would have left out the dialog all together if it was in doubt and just stuck as much as possible on what was going on from a factual standpoint. The dialog really really took me out of it and made it feel like I was reading a novel - and again not in a good way, in a this is completely fake way.

So if you give a pass on the dialog is the story believable? I just don't know. I certainly do not want to call a retired Lt Col a lair but there are so many things in the story that don't make sense and nothing is verifiable. I don't know what can be done to prove anything but without a shred of evidence and movie script characters it's so very difficult to just assume everything is on the up and up. It very well may be, and I truly hope it is - however my gut feeling from reading everything I can get my hands on about Korea and WWII this story just doesn't jive with what I know.

If you have an interest in the subject my only advise would be to listen to it and make up your own mind.

As for the reader he did a very good job, everything was well paced, he used different voices to help you keep track of who was talking and as far as I know I didn't hear any obvious mistakes. Well done. If I could give 4 1/2 stars I would, but it's a bit closer to 4 stars than 5 so I'll leave it at 4.
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- Rodney

Good book, but it divagates a lot

I wish the author had a good editor. The story is rather amazing, providing that is all true, but the writer can not hold himself from going in pointless details that have nothing to do with the story.
Finally I bought a book about war and espionage and in the middle of the action, I have to listen to a description of his mom in Texas and her cooking.... Many other pointless parentheses drove me up the wall...

With the help of the skip forward button I finished it.
Well worth it.
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- Jean Le Lupi

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-08-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios