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The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950: The Battles That Saved South Korea--and the Marines--from Extinction Hardcover – November 10, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sloan has crafted another superb narrative. Strongly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1St Edition edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416571744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416571742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I had a request from a Korean veteran to find books that he could read about his war.
Patricia Cook
This book is written in the same gritty factual fast paced style as Sloan's efforts describing the Okinawan campaign in "The Ultimate Battle."
Richard A. Jeffries
I'm almost done reading this book and will edit ( update ) when finished, but can already remark on how satisfying this book is to read.
R. Mardis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on December 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bill Sloan has written another commendable story of combat. This time he covers the opening months of the Korean War when South Korea and especially the US were unprepared to repulse an invasion from the north. The signs were there but were ignored by MacArthur in Japan and by Washington. The author has chosen the first three months when the US was slowly coming up to speed, throwing in reinforcements piecemeal against the determined NKPA.

Before beginning his war coverage, the author describes how Truman and Johnson in the five years since WWII had gutted the Armed Services, especially the Marine Corps which was on life support. He goes on to depict the Army as poorly trained and equipped as well as low in morale. To make matters worse, the non confrontational ways of Acheson in regards to China and Soviet Union only encourage Stalin to help train and equip North Korea to invade the South.
Mr Sloan's battle coverage begins with the fall of Seoul and continues down the peninsula toward the important port of Pusan. In between Seoul and Pusan, you'll read about the battles for Suwon, Osan, Kum River, Taejon, Kumchon, Yongdong, Sanju, Sachon, Kosong, Obong-ni Ridge, Taegu and the Naktong River line, also called the Pusan Perimeter.
These were days when US Forces, both Gis and Marines, suffered heavy casualties and by August were almost pushed into the sea. In September there was a reversal when MacArthur landed at Inchon and within two weeks recaptured Seoul, saw the Pusan breakout and the full fledge retreat of the NKPA back to North Korea. MacArthur wasn't satisfied with regaining the 38th Parallel; he talked Truman into attacking the North with the objective of combining the two countries into one democratic one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Jeffries on May 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bill Sloan again does an excellent job with his treatment of the first few months of the Korean War. There are many fine books out there that give the Army's view of the first disasterous months of the Forgotten War. Sloan justly gives them credit in his extensive notes(Blair's "The Forgotten War"; Fehrenbach's "This Kind of War"). Kudos to Mr Sloan for his written work on the First Marine Brigade's efforts to stem the tide and greatly backstop Walker's Eighth US Army. The action sequences and insertions of valorous deeds by young Marines do the Corps proud. This book is written in the same gritty factual fast paced style as Sloan's efforts describing the Okinawan campaign in "The Ultimate Battle."
As an Army veteran it always pains me greatly to read about the initial painful efforts of the US Army's attempts to halt the initial onrush of NKPA forces into South Korea. Sloan provides a succinct overview of those weak initial efforts and the causes that led to the post-war draft Army's weakened condition. The Marines as a fighting force have never been equaled and were much needed during this trying time. Sloan's book is an excellent example of the perils of unpreparedness by our nation for armed conflict, but also a shining example of the fighting spirit of volunteer forces who are aptly supplied and ably led.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By TrueBlueBrewCrew on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bill Sloan's work here is extraordinary, in that its a very truthful telling of how the Marines stopped the North Korean onslaught at the commencement of the Korean War. I've read alot of books on the war, and like a lot of them, this one is justifiably unkind to the Army. However, this brings new insights, as the Marines were on the brink of extinction prior to the war, something alot of folks do not know about. Also, unlike alot of the books on the Korean War, this one utilizes alot of first person interviews, from a quickly dying breed of veterens of the conflict, including my late father. This is an honest history, warts and all, of what really went on. All marines, current and ex, should be proud of the accomplishments which described throughout the book. A very fine book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ironmike on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr Sloan has done something unique, held my attention on a subject that I have read much on. His account of the three critical months that saved South Korea and the US Marines as an organiazed fighting unit. Interesting accounts of the brutal fights and the brave army and Marines that stemmed the tide of the North koreans. It is packed with facts, amazing characters that did the impposible and faced a ruthless foe bent on victory at any cost.
I would rank this among Mr Sloan's best works and I have read several of his other books. I recommend this title for anyone wanting to learn more about our brave military members then and now and to discover the horrific conditions they had to back in 1950 - the year I was born. Tough guys and glad we had men like these when we needed them. Real American heroes and Sloan does justice to the other UN forces that stepped up to the plate in dire times as these.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Buntline on January 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Love it" isn't the right term. It is a gripping story of war's hell. Amazingly well written and documented. Wish some of our so called "leader" in this country would read it for some little understanding of what war is.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Mardis on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first Korean War book. I've read all of Bill Sloan's WWII books and really enjoyed them. They stand alone from a lot of military history books because of the way Mr. Sloan slices out a story from or about a group of men or unit or action and tells a story. It's not dry history, but storytelling, and by that I do not mean made-up or embellished either. It's telling a story but not so deep you can't enjoy the read. ( Some military history books require great effort ).

I'm almost done reading this book and will edit ( update ) when finished, but can already remark on how satisfying this book is to read. Since this is my first Korean War book, I am only judging this book and how it satisfies my desire to learn about the premise of the book and so far, Sloan sets it up nicely and then is clearly and richly, filling in on the premise. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

It's quite clear to me that this was an awful time to be in the armed services and the veterans of this war deserve great honor and our support. The Korean War is still forgotten by too many. This book, with others, is a great way to learn more..

UPDATE: 4/29/10: Finished book a few weeks ago. It is excellent throughout and I recommend it. Well done and satisfying.
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