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The Korean War (Essential Histories) Paperback – September 25, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Essential Histories
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (September 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841762822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841762821
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A very useful resource, especially, but by no means exclusively, in school and college libraries...these books offer very useful standardised accounts and are presented in very attractive and approachable volumes.
Reference Reviews --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

This unique series studies every major war in history looking at all the aspects of war, from how it felt to be a soldier to the lasting impact of the conflict on the world around it.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far the best book I have ever read on the Korean war. It is just the right length to give an easy to follow strategic overview, that is complete in essentials for that level. And for those readers desiring a look at the "little people" involved, there are two sections, one about a soldier's experiences, and another about a Korean family's experiences. There are more than an adequate number of maps, making it easy to follow the ebb and flow of battle. The writing flows along in a nice, easy to read manner. The author is a student of wars of attrition, and his interest and expertise show on every page.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on December 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This summary covers all the bases of the Korean conflict: political, tactical, strategic, cultural and does it well within an Osprey format. It was a war fought on two levels. The lower level was fought between the two Korean countries wanting to unify their whole country under their political control. On the larger scale, it was a war fought among the three super powers for ideology, prestige and the expansion of world dominance.
North Korea was under the influence of Stalin and the Soviet Union was training and equipping the NKPA to invade the south while the US was marginally helping the South Koreans. Its been said that the speech Dean Acheson gave on 1/12/1950 that implied the US was letting go of South Korea, excluding it from the US sphere was the prime motivator for the invasion.

The introduction presents a brief history of Korea going back to 1905 when Japan took it over and mistreated the Koreans until the end of WWII when the Soviet Union liberated the northern half and the US the southern half. The narrative continues to describe the friction between the US and Communist China after the world war as well as the alliance formed between Stalin and Mao. The author talks about the political atmosphere of the day and how these countries are linked together. Its all basic information but if you're new to the Korean War, its invaluable to understand how the war started, why the PRC got involved and why the UN forces stayed the course. There were critical implications that could effect the world if a third world war or a nuclear war had ignited. It was the first time in the Cold War that the Superpowers were indirectly fighting each other.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Wang VINE VOICE on February 22, 2009
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War history is story telling, and good story telling requires a good thesis. The main thesis of this book, which is also the author's PhD thesis, is that Korean War is the first modern "limited war" as the major geopolitical players feel their ways into optimal strategies and tactics in the nuclear-dominated Cold War era. I think this point of view is quite valid and appropriate. Thus the book, although short, is still quite worthy, as it covers all the important events related to its main theme.

Some colorful and interesting details of the Korean War are necessarily brushed over, given the book's limited length. For example, Task Force Faith is not mentioned in the text at all but appears only on the map of Chosin reservoir. Compounding this shortcoming is the fact that the author is British and selects his anecdotes mainly from the combat history of the Commonwealth troops. While the American perspective is not hard to find in most books on this subject, a better coverage on Chinese and/or Korean sources would have definitely improved this work.

The language in the book is not dry but, well, "patient", by which I refer to the feeling I get about the author talking to a young audience. Indeed, my 8-year-old son has no problem going through the book entirely on his own. He thoroughly enjoys it, but probably misses most of the deeper and broader discussions in the book. Overall, I consider this a strength of the book, as it is deep enough for grown-ups and easy enough for kids.
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I am a glutton for war history, but do not like to read books that are long. At 94 pages this book is just about right in providing a lot of detail, yet still holding my interest. After reading this book I have a much better understanding of all facets of the the Korean War. The author did a great job of being technical, but also including actual accounts from soldiers.
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