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The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat Hardcover – January 6, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 387 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The authors of the bestselling Halsey's Typhoon do a fine job recounting one brutal, small-unit action during the Korean War's darkest moment. In November 1950, as General MacArthur's troops were advancing deep into North Korea, China warned that it would intervene if armies approached its border. U.S. troops were scattered through mountainous terrain at the onset of a freezing winter. Using extensive interviews with survivors, the authors tell the story of one 234-man company ordered to secure a rocky promontory overlooking the legendary Chosin Reservoir. Abundant and detailed maps enable readers to track the vicious week-long battle almost minute by minute as the men fought off repeated assaults by overwhelming Chinese forces until another marine unit arrived to rescue the few survivors. The authors draw no great lessons from Fox Company's ordeal, but deliver a precise, technically accurate account of the fighting. Although aimed at military buffs, the closeup views of individual marines tested to their limits will engage any reader curious to learn how brave men fought a conventional 20th-century war. 100,000 announced first printing; 12-city author tour.(Jan.)
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From Booklist

The authors of Halsey’s Typhoon (2007) are back with an equally fine book on an episode in the Chosin Reservoir campaign of the Korean War. Sent to hold a hill on the marines’ line of retreat, Fox Company of the Seventh Regiment’s Second Battalion wound up besieged by an entire Chinese division. Three-quarters of the company became casualties before a rescue column fought its way through to them, and three Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded for the action. Drury and Clavin have researched thoroughly, especially the memories of Fox Company survivors, and have written with their customary vividness. They remind us that the predicament of handfuls of Americans fending off foreign hordes isn’t just a Hollywood spectacle. It has been a grisly reality, in this case with both sides enduring bone-chilling cold, untreated wounds, and starvation. A must for the Korean War shelves, invaluable beyond all historical period value for its coverage of infantry combat at its worst. --Roland Green

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871139936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871139931
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (387 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow! What a book, what a story, what incredible heroism, undaunted courage and grim will against all odds. This book tells the story of 246 U.S. Marines and Naval Corpsmen (medics) who fought and died for seven days on a God-forsaken frozen and icy hilltop in North Korea in November & December, 1950. Outnumbered literally 10-1 by the unforeseen involvement of several divisions of the Chinese Army, these brave men fought in inhuman conditions and, in the words of the authors, "dispatched more than three-quarters of the enemy [they] had faced".

The authors do a very admirable job detailing not only the week-long battle on Fox Hill, but also the events leading up to that fateful week, the involvement of other units in the area, and the return of the survivors to the base camp at Hagaru-ri. The action is fast-paced and amazingly detailed. But included with the military history is a wonderful portrayal of the personal stories of many of these men - their lives before the war, as well as afterwards. These personal stories serve to make the men of Fox Company very real and very human to the reader, increasing the sense of awe and admiration for the "uncommon valor" that these "common men" displayed. As another reviewer stated, I, too, was left completely humbled by this story and these men. We as a nation should never, EVER forget the sacrifices that these men, and so many others like them, have made in our history.

More than a military history of an incredible battle, this is the story of a brotherhood & compassion shared by men thrust into the most difficult and challenging of times. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this book in two days. I would have managed it in one had I not started so late in the day, thanks to being near the end of the mail carrier's route. In a word, it is breathtaking, as compelling an account of small unit action as I've ever read. As an account of a heroic stand it ranks right up there with Charles B. MacDonald's "Company Commander" or Harold G. Moore's "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young." The soldiers who fought on Fox Hill are brought to life in the narrative and you find yourself identifying with them, rooting for them, hoping they will make it.

The book is, however, not without deficiencies, albeit, most of them minor. One error is the famous M1 Garand being referred to as the "Garland" M1, a rather more festive but inaccurate name. Hopefully this and other minor errors of omission and comission will be corrected in the published version of the book. My uncorrected proof did not have any of the 16 pages of black and white photos, but it did have the 15 maps and these vary in quality. The second map, "Chosen Reservoir Campaign" is identical to the third map, "Toktong Pass and Fox Hill", the only difference being that the third map is cropped. This third map, which is supposed to illustrate the movements of Fox Company, does not do justice to the narrative. The authors mention as the company's objective, Toktong-san, a mountain, but this mountain appears nowhere on the map and I had to read a ways into the book to find out where the mountain was in relation to Fox Hill (north, south, east, or west). We are told that this area is a bottleneck but the map gives no clue as to the terrain (we know only that it is mountainous).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin have brought their skills to the telling of a very tiny slice of time during the Korean War which in itself is a very small timeframe in the many wars that our country has fought. By digging into the details from first hand interviews with the participants and into other writings, the authors have put together a very readable account of five days in the lives of 234 U.S. Marines that most likely seemed like one hundred years. The authors bring to the reader the circumstance of this situation in which these soldiers were thrust - "hold that hill". How many times were soldiers placed into a similar situation? But this "hill" is documented and now the reader can feel what it was like to be in the middle of North Korea in 20 degrees below zero weather, with the "fog of war" ever present as this small group of Marines protected thousands of other U.S. soldiers from the Chinese invasion that was attempting to cut off the U.S. soldiers from their supply lines, thereby isolating them from the 38th Parallel.

The writing is not elegant and the story doesn't have the flair of some authors, but the descriptions are clear and the wording is easily understood. The story just pulls on you from the beginning and you constantly want to get back to it and see how bad the situation is getting. I don't want to use the use the word entertaining as that would take away from what these men had to go through, but book was riveting and enlightening.

I read this book with a sense of dread and a sense of pride, that anyone would have the courage and fortitude to carry out these orders under these conditions for our liberty and freedom.
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