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Their War for Korea: American, Asian, and European Combatants and Civilians, 1945-1953 Paperback – February, 2004
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Millett's groundbreaking effort brings this persepective into sharp focus. He calls the Korean war a "total" war (quoting Korean vets) and his first 14 thumbnail-sketch chapters bear out this interpretation. In terms of concentrated destruction in both time and space, Korea was as brutal a war as they come. Not much "limited" about it.
The book itself is divided into three sections, entitled "the Koreans", "the Allies", and "the Americans". Chronologically, it defines the conflict as beginning shortly after Liberation, 15 August 1945 and it finishes with a chapter on the man who first signed the Armistice documents for the United Nations Command. Millett's emphasis on oral history combined with impressive documentary research makes this book required reading to understand the war beyond the limits of operations, strategy, or diplomatic policies. The human face of war is poignantly and sympathetically presented. There are heros, cowards, soldiers, civilians, men, and women in this great drama of conflict, ideology, and destiny.
Their War for Korea promises to be the first of three volumes that will redefine the western view of the Korean War.
Millett admires Koreans but does not say much about them. Seoul today ranks #1 in cell phones and controls more US bonds than Washington would like, but when I was there (I was drafted) farm people didn't have shoes. China today copies Korean fasion. Korean techology arose from genius, hard work and patience. Korean captive workers died in Hiroshima and rose above a century of Japanese abuse. Koreans in America are models of thrift and enterprise.
American should study Korea, but this book is not a start. All we have here is a story of a war America had no business starting or prolonging - not our only such dishonor. In a couple of places MIllett tries to honor Americans who have waited too long for respect.
Wallace F. Smith, Walnut Creek