The Korean War Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Jan 2013
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'A brilliant and compelling book which must rank, even by the standards Max Hastings has set, as a masterpiece.' (London Review of Books)
'Rings true and will surely stand the test of time ... Max Hastings has no peer as a writer of battlefield history.' (Stephen E. Ambrose, author of Eisenhower: The President and Nixon: The Education of a Politician) --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
Critically acclaimed on publication, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
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It also discussed MacArthur persistence to not only reach to reach Seoul but, then to the go on and cross way over to the "38th parallel" with the intent to push all the way back to China! There's the predicted and underestimated response by the US when the Chinese retaliated and the eventual dismissal of MacArthur in 1950. Hastings gave good credence to the Intelligence service, the air force, the prisoners taken on both sides and also to many civilians that were involved in the war. He gave amazing surreal narrative accounts of the poor civilians during that time. It was so realistic that it felt that you were walking side by side next to that person on the road behind the front line. But, his descriptions of MacArthur were very disturbing indeed. Not because Hastings was trying to castigate MacArthur, but because MacArthur himself became obsessive, delusional and out of touch. There were disturbing strategies of using the atomic bomb again and creating a radioactive no-go area between the communists and western Korea. It came from a leader that had supreme commander who became out of touch with his own troops, his government and his country. There could have easily been yet another military, moral and historical global disaster again in Asia, after Nagasaki and Hiroshima. If it wasn't for a few staunch peace activists in the UN then, God help us all because there could have been yet another human disaster on the scale that Japan suffered in '45. The world had tilted on the side of oblivion only to be saved at the very last minute.
According to Hastings, the Korean war was full dress rehearsal and a repeated failure by the US to learn from it's failings when it finally gave up the war to the Chinese mid-year of 1953. Not only did the US eventually give up on the war, but the same mistakes were then repented again some ten to fifteen years later in Vietnam (which occurred in '64 to '75). In the case of Korea, the recent world war had literately tired people out. The US government, for example, were sick of funding the forces after the second world war and had dramatically cut funding for the Korean war that very few wanted. So, as Hastings had put it, "Spending was down from $82 billion to $13 billion.... nearly every unit in the army was under-strength, under trained and under-equipped" p.53. Perhaps it would be fair to say that the army was also very unmotivated as well. There was 'bug out' fever where, upon heavy fire, the army would fall back, retreat and in more simple terms just run away from the front line. Particularly, at the beginning of the war there was a yearning to escape the peninsula of Korea and get away from a thankless war where victory or some sort of glory seemed remote or out of the question. 'Under training' was also a large part of the problem in the war too. It wasn't unusual for a soldier to shoot himself or someone else because they even manage their weapon properly. They didn't even know how to load, unload or store a weapon properly.
There was so much to talk about in Hastings book that this writer had more that four pages of comments on paper, but this is not an essay but a simple book review. So, in keeping with brevity, the writer would like to say that some of the best works (fiction or non-fiction) can provoke a tremendous response that needs to be tailored suitably to a brief summary of thoughts. With that in mind, this book easily deserves five stars. Thank you for reading the review. This was review of a (very old, 1988) hardcover edition found in a box of books.