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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Killer McCoy Goes to Korea, Part II : Inchon to Chosin
A major improvement over the mediocre Under Fire, Griffin returns to form with Retreat, Hell! He shows his usual impeccable attention to detail and histoical accuracy, which was sadly lacking in Under Fire.
This novel covers the peiod in the Korean War in which the situation turned around for the UN forces and the overextended North Koreans were chased back across...
Published on January 21, 2004 by Roy Jaruk

versus
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brother, Was This One Thrown Together
Over the years, Griffin's Marine Corps books, which had been an very entertaining diversion, have become more and more slapdash. Poor character and plot development, silly dialog (especially the 5% that come from the mouths of females), mistakes, errors, and oversights.

This one needs to be recalled by the publisher. At a minimum it requires more thought and...
Published on July 24, 2005 by Anon


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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Killer McCoy Goes to Korea, Part II : Inchon to Chosin, January 21, 2004
By 
Roy Jaruk (Patterson, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A major improvement over the mediocre Under Fire, Griffin returns to form with Retreat, Hell! He shows his usual impeccable attention to detail and histoical accuracy, which was sadly lacking in Under Fire.
This novel covers the peiod in the Korean War in which the situation turned around for the UN forces and the overextended North Koreans were chased back across the 38th Parallel with the US Army and its allies in full pursuit. The Pick Pickering-is-MIA situation is resolved in an imaginative way I didn't see coming; a couple of new characters are introduced who seem very interesting (and don't I just wish Griffin could rewrite the Brotherhood of War series to integrate them into it!); and a character is killed off in a way that is utterly consistent and tragic, with the potential for serious impact on others in the next book. Good writing.
I have to admit that I find what Griffin is doing with Ken McCoy a little disconcerting. He seems to think McCoy's name is Mac MacMillan and that he is running Task Force Able. However, as Griffin seem to have no intention of crossing any Brotherhood of War characters over to The Corps (given what he has his characters doing, I would have expected at least passing references to the activities of MacMillan and Mouse Felter, if not to Duke Lowell and his panzers), I suppose there are no grounds for complaint.
The timeline is heading into the final confrontation between Truman and MacArthur. The one thing that surprised and disappointed me, given El Supremo's frequent appearances and conversations with Brigadier General Pickering, is that there is no sign of the animosity that was building, not even at the Wake Island Conference (or 'summit') between Truman and MacArthur; at which he has Pickering present at Truman's orders. Both men commented extensively on it in their autobiographies, but their dislike for each other is absent here. Griffin usually has a better feel for interpersonal relations between major real people than that.
Griffin also, which earned him my respect, addresses the issue of medals for valor that are awarded for other than the type of actions for which they are supposed to be presented. The problem was epidemic in Vietnam, but I didn't realize its roots went back to Korea. This subplot, involving Ken McCoy, Billy Dunn, Pick Pickering and General Clyde Dawkins (and I wish we saw more of The Dawk), offers an informative look not merely at the process by which medals are awarded, but also at the warrior ethos which permits warriors to accept them - or not.
The bottom line: While I wish W.E.B. Griffin would go back and finish the World War II portion and the interbellum part of this series (in particular the sections dealing with McCoy's time at the Command & General Staff College, how and why he was reduced in grade from major to captain when by time in grade he would have been in the zone for promotion to lieutenant colonel, how on earth the cowardly, self-serving Macklin was promoted and why he wasn't run out of the service, and whatever happened to a number of characters I care about), this book is a page-turner I gulped down in one afternoon. The tempo is fast and the visual melody sharp and clear. It's well worth reading, and more than once.
The trouble is, now I have to wait impatiently for the next one!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still the Five Star General, January 5, 2004
By late September 1950, sent by General Douglas "El Supreme" MacArthur, the marines make a key landing on the Korean Peninsular. The General plans to send his forces across the 38th parallel in order to repel the North Koreans beyond the Yalu River. Though he expects no Chinese forces, he has USMC Major Ken "Killer" McCoy and his "lost" patrol seek enemy information.
Meanwhile BG Pickering earns frequent flyer miles as he struggles to lessen the growing dispute between Commander-in-Chief Truman and ex facto supreme commander of the United Nation's forces MacArthur. Pickering also has a personal concern with his son "Pick" missing in action beyond enemy lines. Pick knows if the Commies capture him, they will execute him. He has survived fifty-eight days due to luck, some local help, and by constantly moving about, but staying near his downed plane. Killer finds evidence that Pick still lives, but cannot search for the MIA as he and his men have captured an apparent Intel Officer with information that massive Chinese forces await the Americans.
No one does American military history novels better than W.E.B. Griffin does as he shows with this deep look at the early stages of the Korean Conflict. The story line grips the audience from the moment Pick struggles to survive and never lets up. The key as always to the Corps novels (this is the tenth) is the support cast that brings out real events so that the audience feels the battle as much as the political intrigue at home. Genre fans will once again salute the Five Star General for his wonderfully exhilarating book.
Harriet Klausner
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars going strong and getting better, January 5, 2004
By 
After _Under Fire_ I felt the _Corps_ series was at a bit of a crossroads. We'd skipped the end of WWII, deactivated a number of great characters, and had a mostly combat-free book. What was coming next?
Now that I know (thanks to a bookstore that was casual about release dates), I like the direction it's going. In this installment of the _Corps_, the Korean conflict is under way. The old warhorses are summoned to the colours again, or at least those Griffin has kept.
Griffin has always portrayed military and naval culture superbly; I think he could do it in his sleep if he cared to. He is the Gale Sayers of the genre; like the Kansas Comet in his own field of fame, there just isn't anyone who can catch him. The strength of the story lies in some fairly vicious twists that left the ending very much in doubt: might this character die? Would Griffin kill him off? I am a veteran of every Griffin military book, and I could not predict the story's outcome. It clamped on--and held, to the end.
I have never really let up on Griffin over the years with regard to the instant defloration of virgins and speedy bed-jumps, and fair's fair: he's improved this to where I think we can let it go. I can't say that it's gone--and it remains just about the only area in which his stories are quite predictable--but it does not dominate this story. There is also decreased dependency upon rich smartalecks with trust funds: the book takes that shortcut less than I've seen from Griffin for a long time.
In my mind there is little question: while we might not have in Korea a backdrop as rich and desperate and high-stakes as World War II, we have a great story going on here. I hope that we'll see Stecker and Rickabee again, from the old _Corps_ books, but even if we don't, Griffin has revitalized one of the best military fiction series there is. I hope it continues for a long time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Griffin, January 5, 2004
By 
Ed Evanhoe (Antlers, OK USA) - See all my reviews
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W.E.B. Griffin fans will love RETREAT, HELL! It is a real page turner. After receiving an advance copy from Putman in early December I immediately began reading and couldn't put down until the very end. It is vintage Griffin and shows time and care in writing that was lacking in his last Corps novel. It has excellent editing (as opposed to the terrible editing in UNDER FIRE.) Action is nonstop with twists and surpises throughout. I could tell you what some of these are but don't want to spoil readers enjoyment. It will go down as one of Griffin's best.
Ed Evanhoe, Author: DARKMOON: Eighth Army Special Operations in the Korean War
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Griffin never fails..., August 22, 2005
By 
Joseph P. Brennan (Fort Wayne, IN, United States) - See all my reviews
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...to write great, realistic fiction. If you read the earlier novels in the series, you get to know "Pick" Pickering pretty well. If you're like me, you've been worried about your old pal ever since he was shot down near the end of the last book. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anybody, so I won't give away any details. I'll just say this was a great wrap-up of a great series!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your soldier uncle comes to visit . . ., January 22, 2004
W.E.B. Griffin is a legendary storyteller. His characters not only live, but grow. They are not supermen or superwoman, but ordinary people thrown into the maelstrom of war. They possess virtues despised by many now: a love of their country, a sense of duty and a willingness to surrender their lives for something they believe in.
And Griffin, like Shakespeare, does not shrink from seeing good people meet bad ends. He tells of life as it is in war: people, good people, are grievously injured and sometimes die.
But a Griffin novel is an uplifting experience. He does not glorify war nor does he mask or enhance its brutality. He simply tells a story, deeply moving stories.
In "Retreat, Hell!" many of the charcters from his previous novels are with us, older now, more experienced. It is a story of the Korean Conflict from June through Novermber, 1950. Mistakes at high level abound --- such as the failure of MacArthur's intelligence to detect the threats of North Korean invasion and Chinese intervention. But the ingenuity of the American soldier, so often a civilian just weeks before, is well described. Not unlike the sargeant who in a French field improvised a blade to plow through the hedgerows, Griffin's main characters adapt to the circumstances. A few high-level officers subtly avoid the bureaucracy and let the real soldiers fight their war.
By the end of the day, the main points of history are still intact: General MacArthur made grievous mistakes as did the CIA and the politicians. The soldiers, however, anonymous and unsung do their job and fight beyond the call of duty. No glorious heros these; just ordinary men doing extraordinary things, as one Marine said.
Griffin's genius is being able to tell such a story naturally, simply and utterly compellingly.
Jerry
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's Ba-ack!, January 22, 2004
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After the rather strange last book in the Badge of Honor series (the time warp) it is great that this one is vintage Griffin. Mr. G., however, has developed a sort of annoying new thing. He does an awful lot of (a) and (b). That is, something like, "we'll attack Pyongyang because (a) it's the enemy capital and (b) it just feels right". A little of the (a) and (b) treatment, you will see, goes an awfully long way.
And one other bothersome thing - other than too many Ernies - is that he forgot Patricia Pickering's name and refers to her as Patricia Fleming. All that aside, it was a very readable W.E.B. Griffin novel and it seems to leave room for a sequel.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brother, Was This One Thrown Together, July 24, 2005
By 
Anon "Ymous" (Sitting In Front Of My Computer) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Retreat, Hell! (Corps, No 10) (Mass Market Paperback)
Over the years, Griffin's Marine Corps books, which had been an very entertaining diversion, have become more and more slapdash. Poor character and plot development, silly dialog (especially the 5% that come from the mouths of females), mistakes, errors, and oversights.

This one needs to be recalled by the publisher. At a minimum it requires more thought and better editing - from a grammatical and cultural standpoint. (Hey Mr/Ms Editor!! Learn the proper use of commas, semicolons, and, above all, apostrophes - they are NOT there for decoration!)

But, we dumb bunnies continue to buy Griffin's books, so why should he care what he's writing? Until the demand dries up, he'll continue to laugh all the way to the bank.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great from Griffin,but....., July 17, 2004
By A Customer
A typically absorbing read from the Master with brilliant,deadly accurate battle descriptions,but,like Roy Jaruk (an earlier reviewer), I still get confused about where in Killer McCoy's life we really are.I've felt familiar with the Pickering family for years,but so many unfilled detail about their lives between the end of WW11 and the start of the Korean conflict. And what happened to Clyde Dawkins and all the guys we left in the Pacific? Please WEB,write us some fill-in novels to bring us up to speed!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read, January 12, 2004
By 
Gunfighter (Northern Virginia) - See all my reviews
Griffin rarely disappoints, and this most recent offering is the reason why.
Once again, the author tells a well-told story about the officer corps of the U.S. armed forces in wartime. He illustrates the unfortunate fact that politicians aren't the only people that practice the arcane, dark art of politics, but that our military leaders did it (and still do it) every bit as much.
Reading about Ken McCoy and the others is a comfort, to be sure. It is sort of like a visit from old friends, but I would like to see some of the supporting characters fleshed out a bit more.
Having made the criticism above, I will end by saying that despite a few very minor things, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone.
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Retreat, Hell! (Corps, No 10)
Retreat, Hell! (Corps, No 10) by W. E. B. Griffin (Mass Market Paperback - December 28, 2004)
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