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Brings a true history to an otherwise forgotten war. The story keeps you engaged as it brings you through the years and battles that politics dictated instead of a goal to win the war.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This is an excellent historical work focused on little known aspects of the Korean War.
unfortunately the reader's terrible attempts to affect an American accent while reading quotations, amusing at first, become extremely annoying by the end. I would much rather he read solely in his native British accent, preferring to imagine that I was being told the story by the author, himself from the UK.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Korean War to be better than the print version?
Print would have provided a reference book that I could see maps
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
The political tensions between the various countries and the potential use of nuclear weapons
Have you listened to any of Cameron Stewart’s other performances? How does this one compare?
not listened to any
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
no emotional reaction other than wishing the veterans should gain far more recognition for their action in this forgotten and neglected conflict
Any additional comments?
A really worthy book to gain an insight into a war that has been ignored and forgotten.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Max Hastings is one of those extremely thorough writers that provides a comprehensive picture of the events in his books. I found the detail in his treatment of the war against Japan during World War 2 amazing. However, I was less enamoured with his work on the Falklands conflict as it read more akin to a government report and lacked more of the personal accounts that enrich the telling of such events. Still, Hastings is accomplished and so I felt his book on the Korean war would be a good start to gain an insight into that theoretically ongoing conflict.
This book didn't suffer nearly so much as his Falklands work did and so was a more interesting read. I care less for the politics behind the conflicts and more on the men that fought it but I do understand that one needs an overall frame of reference and thus a need to fully detail the politics behind the scenes.
It amused me to find out that in one meeting between the North Korean representatives and the American and South Koreans that both parties sat in silence across a table from one another for over 2 hours at a point in the conflict when tensions were running high. It's always amazing to see how egos play a part at the highest level seeing the American delegation having a separate entrance built to the negotiation hut in order not to use the same one as the North Koreans.
The book ably depicts just how brutal the climate was as well as the opposition and the harsh winters were killers to both sides. Having known very little about the conflict, I was shocked at the evident ineptness early on by the Americans and it shows how just a few years after World War II how the quality and readiness of the U.S army had sharply declined in that time. Also, the poor quality of the South Korean troops only added to this inadequate response to the North Korean incursion. The levels of cruelty by South Korean soldiers on their own troops and civilians was also an eye opener.
We also see the rise of the Kim family that went on to dominate North Korea to this day so yet another education in this war. Hastings is very diligent but I did note he omitted a small but relevant incident where a North Korean pilot defected with his MIG fighter after a leaflet drop by the U.S offering $100,000 to the pilot that did so. This intelligence coup would have shaped the response to these MIG fighters by the U.S pilots and so I was surprised Hastings missed this.
Dry politics aside, this book is an in depth treatment of the brutal conflict and well worth a read if you want to learn more about this event in world history.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Hastings is a great wartime storyteller. He shows admirable balance and qualifies his opinions with cautions, and as far as I can tell, full disclosure of his preconceptions and assumptions.
The narrator is very good, with the sad exception of his Australians who all sound like intoxicated cockneys - including the diplomats.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful