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The Korean War (Essential Histories) Paperback – September 25, 2001
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a good overview as to the reasons behind the war. Concise and easy to read. Good primer before delving into more in depth reading material.Published 21 days ago by JEH
A good introduction to the conflict. It explains in particular how the stalemate part of the war was fought and why the Communist coalition eventually decided to seek an armistice... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Anders Blixt