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Publisher's Summary

It was the first war we could not win. At no other time since World War II have two superpowers met in battle. Max Hastings, preeminent military historian, takes us back to the bloody, bitter struggle to restore South Korean independence after the Communist invasion of June 1950. Using personal accounts from interviews with more than 200 vets, including the Chinese, Hastings follows real officers and soldiers through the battles. He brilliantly captures the Cold War crisis at home, the strategies and politics of Truman, Acheson, Marshall, MacArthur, Ridgway, and Bradley, and shows what we should have learned in the war that was the prelude to Vietnam.
©1987 Roma Data (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"Must reading for any American who wants to understand one of the watershed events of the post-World War II period." (Richard M. Nixon)
"Rings true and will surely stand the test of time....Max Hastings has no peer as a writer of battlefield history." (Stephen E. Ambrose)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 11-17-06

Well worth it

I have read a great deal of military history over the years, but despite the fact that my father fought for a year in Korea, I knew little of the overall situation.
The author does a very nice job - well paced - of moving thru the three years of the war (aka conflict). Near the end there are good detailed parts dealing with prisoners for example.
A very effective summary of a miserable conflict from all parties perspectives.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By David Ewing on 08-06-07

Inspiring and Hard Hitting

I begin listening to this book while on the plane from California to Seoul on my first trip to the Land of the Morning Calm. The book gave me such a detailed overview of the entire war that I was able to discuss the events with locals and feel like an informed person.

Without question, The Korean War defines South Korea to this day and Max Hastings work will give you a clear and objective picture – from the view point of both America and China. (In the forward Hastings points out that while objective data and interviews with Americans and Chinese are possible, such an exercise with the North Koreas would be a waste of time.) The scenes he depicts are vivid and graphic without being sensational. The opening firefight between Task Force Smith and the North Korean regulars was particularly gut wrenching. There are some phrases he uses to describe later events that haunt me a bit, yet I believe Hastings did this for clarity. One of the darkest chapters – the story of the POWs during the war - also contains some moments of extreme levity when Hastings describes the pranks GI’s pulled on their captors. Some of them had me laughing out loud.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about South Korea, and a large, yet nearly forgotten war and the heroes who sacrificed their lives in a noble struggle.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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