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This Kind of War: The Classic Korean War History - Fiftieth Anniversary Edition Paperback – March 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

"The author has chosen to alternate the broad view of events on the Korean and international scene with narratives of the contemporaneous experiences of individual soldiers at the front and in rear echelons," said LJ's reviewer (LJ 1/15/63). Fehrenbach's assessment is frank and often unflattering to America's abilities and the motivation of the common soldier.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This Kind of War has been studied by two generations of soldiers. Fehrenbach describes good decisions and bad ones with insight and expertise. But what he does best of all, and what is so memorable, is his eloquent, sometimes painful description of the GIs who must bear the burden of those decisions. That is the awful beauty of this book—it cuts straight to the heart of all the political and military errors, and reveals the brave souls who have to bleed and die for mistakes made. A timely reissue of a military classic.”

“Immensely readable.”


“A comprehensive and impressively written history of the Korean War.”


“The lesson of the Korean War as it has not yet been told by anyone . . . terse, machine-gun bursts of common sense.”
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 50th Anniversary edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574883348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574883343
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (302 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a young U.S. Army company commander in Korea in 1975, my battalion commander issued me a paperback copy of "This Kind of War" with instructions to read it and discuss it with him. I carried the much refered to, tabbed, underlined and used book for 15 years, when I again returned to Korea. I was pleased, when during in processing, I was issued a hard back copy of the book, as were all officers and sergeants. In 1994, during the Normandy 50th Anniversay Commemoration in France, I presented a copy to President Clinton. Today, as a Colonel with 28 years service, I still find it a readable, honest, timeless, useable source. I think all members of congress and senior administration leaders, as well as anyone concerned about America's military, should read chapter 25. Fehrenbach's insight about America's volunteer military is timeless...his counsel is again being verified today in Kosovo and in our peace keeping missions in Bosnia and Macedonia. Smug, psuedo-intellectual military analysts often disregard Fehrenbach's insight and conclusions. His ability to present complicated issues in a human, realistic, understandable manner circumvents any argument that his opinions are dated. History, to include our Iraq/Bosnia/Kosovo adventures, have proved his premise.
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. St Onge on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read THIS KIND OF WAR almost 20 years ago. It stays with me as one of the best and most important books I've ever read.
Fehrenbach was, as another reader-reviewer says, too close to the story to write with the objectivity he later displayed in his excellent histories of Texas, Mexico, and the Comanches. But that kind of detachment will show up in other histories by different authors. What Fehrenbach gives us is the view of someone whom was there, and whom witnessed it all from the inside -- confusion, complacency, cowardice, stupidity, valor.
I'm very glad that this book is so popular in the Army and Air Force. I hope it continues to be read, and learned from. I just wish it were a standard high school textbook, both to let our youth know why we should stay out of war when we can, and what we MUST do when we are in one.
Not a perfect book, but a necessary one for those whom would understand the nature and requirements of war.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Canellis on January 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Unpreparedness is a major theme in American military history. In his popular and unsympathetic view of America's involvement in Korea, T.R. Fehrenbach argues that the American armed forces were psychologically unprepared for the type of limited war that took place in Korea ("this kind of war"). The author questions whether the citizen-soldier and the society from which it breeds were willing to fight and die for an intangible foreign policy in Asia. Originally published two years before a full American commitment in Vietnam (1963), the author warns that this type of conflict will become the rule rather than the exception and America had better train a professional force both physically and mentally to deal with such future conflicts. Fehrenbach's reporting contains many lessons learned and leadership analysis which appeals more to current active duty military personnel. Fehrenbach's book is considered a classic, and is listed on many of the professional military reading lists. Fehrenbach's strengths lie in his combat narrative, particularly at the small unit level, however, when the author attempts to place the conflict in its overall political perspective, he falls short. Many paragraphs contain merely two or three sentences, that for this reviewer, made this book a chore to read in places. In this regard, Fehrenbach trails behind other authors on the subject such as Roy Appleman, and a recently published series edited by Allan R. Millett. Having himself commanded units at platoon, company, and battalion level in Korea, Fehrenbach is direct and pulls no punches.Read more ›
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
T.R. Fehrenbach's "This Kind of War" is the classic military history of the Korean War. Fehrenbach addresses the strategic and operational aspects of the conflict, but much of his focus is on the tactical experience of U.S. units. His book is a searing indictment of the U.S. military and of the United States for having failed to maintain combat-ready forces less than five years removed from the end of the Second World War.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps elements thrust into sudden conflict in June 1950 following the communust invasion of the Republic of Korea had to relearn, the hard way, all the old and hard lessons of warfare. Young soldiers who had been coddled by peacetime occupation duty in Japan found the battlefield to be a merciless place of death for those who were unprepared. In Fehrenbach's words "They were learning, in the hardest school there was, that it is a soldier's lot to suffer and that his destiny may be to die."

Fehrenbach's prose is blunt and straightforward; the narrative sketches the ancient truths of combat and their modern realities and pulls no punches with respect to the shortcomings of both the military and the political leadership. Aging General Douglas McArthur ran great risks during the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter in August 1950 to husband forces for the spectacular September counterstroke at Inchon that turned the tide of combat, only to underestimate the risk of Chinese intervention and suffer an humiliating defeat inside North Korea in November. In parallel manner, the Truman Administration made the hard political decision to intervene in June 1950, then failed to think through the likely implications of going north to the Chinese border in October 1950.

Fehrenbach dispenses credit where due. The U.S.
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This Kind of War: The Classic Korean War History - Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
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