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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 March 2003
"Red Phoenix" is the authority in the world of "What if's" as far as the Korean theater of operations is concerned. The "puzzle palace" was probably wondering how he figured all this out. I'd originally read this amazing story when it first came out and was just floored by the realism, the character interactions and the author's knowledge of military operations. A few years later I was scheduled to go to South Korea on tdy and picked it up to read again. It was amazing to be reading this book and seeing a lot of the areas he'd talked about in the book, in person. To see the river's and the revetments on the banks, to see the tank barricades all around Seoul and all the bases north of Seoul and be reading this book again at the same time. Absolutely amazing! Thank you very much to Larry Bond for an excellent book. {ssintrepid}
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on 28 May 2002
If you liked Red Storm Rising, you'll like this. I largely bought Red Phoenix because I was looking for something similar to RSR, and Bond uses precisely the same formula. Again, the circumstances behind the outbreak of hostilities in Korea are believable, enough to make you wonder whether this is a treatise written against US disengagement from the country. The emphasis is on military hardware, what it can do, and how it is operated. Bond also takes a slightly more realistic view of the US armed forces than Clancy: they are fallible, they do stupid things, and they can be caught on the hop by a cunning foe. They also run away when subjected to sustained artillery bombardment. As a consequence, the book is more believable than some of Clancy's work, which portrays the US military as a cosy little family that rarely puts a foot wrong. It is also still topical, in that the North Korean threat remains today, and some of the political questions raised by the US military presence in Korea are still the same, many of them dealing with the sensitive relationship between the US military and its South Korean counterparts, and left wing Korean politicians.
If this makes this book sound more intellectual than it reads, don't worry, there's plenty in the way of dogfights, artillery duels, and scrabbling around in the snow getting shot at to keep most readers happy. It's hard to believe how anyone could pose a credible conventional military threat to the US today, but Bond does a good job of showing how the US could find itself thing spread, and unable to react quickly enough to a localised problem.
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on 30 July 2003
Tom Clancy?
Actually, it was a joint project between Clancy and Larry Bond, although Clancy only ever seems to have gotten the credit for it. And that's the injustice: read RSR, then read this, and you will see that the books are written in exactly the same style: a relatively decent plot, but breathtaking combat descriptions.
If you liked RSR, you'll LOVE this.
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on 11 March 2013
This book is very wide ranging from the politics in Washington through to the on the ground action. Great characters that develop through the book. Fantastic technical details that cover every sphere of engagement between US, South Korea and North Korea.

Every Larry Bond book delivers, agree with other reviewers this is in the same league as Red Storm Rising
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on 1 July 2011
I've read Red Storm Rising and then I read Red Phoenix, without knowing there's any connection between them. Naturally, this review will draw several comparisons between the two.

First of all, the battles and the tech. On this matter, both books are more or less the same quality, with many accurate descriptions of battles, tactics, weapons and soldiers. Both are great books for high tech war. You've got everything from rifles to grenades to nuclear submarines.

However, I will give Red Phoenix only four stars from a very prosaic reason. Red Strom Rising was about the land battle in Europe, about the Soviet Union attacking NATO.

Perhaps I'm a fault but I just cared less about Red Phoenix. It's probably because I cared less about the war in the Korean Peninsula. It was just less interesting. However, this is just me. Others could see this differently.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 January 2013
Bond and Larkin have produced a pretty convincing 'what if' of a North Korean invasion of the South in the early 1980s in the 'Red Phoenix'. The book is much more nuanced than the frequent US wins everything casualty free approach and shows both the real threat as well as the weaknesses of the North Korean armed forces in the 1980s and how costly, even if winnable, a conflict between the two Koreas could have been.

With a much more belligerent Kim Jong Il, North Korea takes the lead in an invasion of the South, which gets gradually weakened by student protests that lead to very damaging and protectionist US legislation looking for a withdrawal of all US forces. And while the South gets weakened, Kim manages to secure additional Soviet backing.

The war covers the army, naval and air force aspects and operations and does a credible job of comparing some strengths and weaknesses of the combatants. And while one is fairly certain of the type of outcome - if not of all the details - from the start, the book is still a gripping read.

While some aspects - such as the strength of the North Korean artillery - are underplayed, the author manages to bring some balance into the book and he hopefully shatters the illusion that a conflict with the North would be a walk in the park, even for the US armed forces. While a war with North Korea would certainly be winnable, the costs would be pretty high - in equipment, people (military and civilian), as well as in the general preparedness for conflicts in other theatres of war.

The descriptions of the capabilities of many of the weapons systems are OK, and while there is the odd factual error in there, I would still rate the accuracy as way better than some of Tom Clancy's earlier efforts.

Overall a good read (the author even managed to sneak in a not too disturbing love story), which is likely to appeal to those looking for an end of Cold war techno thriller.
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on 29 December 2014
I like long books but unfortunately this long book was too long as it was tedious. What could have been a really great read descended into far too much low level detail of dog fights and trench warfare. The inter-twined love story was dull and the 'rental' of a military helicopter for a couple of bottles of booze to look for our hero's 'crush' was ridiculous. Would have been a much better story if the authors had stuck to the high level politico-military machinations which the book cover suggests as the theme of the book.
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on 31 March 2013
This is a old book ie pre 1990..I read it many years ago.It is now 2013. The problem is still there and even more bigger. Has the time come for the Chinese to sought it out or is this another SYRIA but involving bigger toys.
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on 18 March 2013
started reading this book and realised id first read it back when it first came out in 1989, as good now as it was then, couldnt put it down andcwas gripped by thr stofy from beginning to end. Excellent read!
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on 21 January 2002
Larry Bond has delivered a gripping realistic scenario of the re-invasion of South Korea by the the North. If you think this could never happen I guarantee you will have changed your mind by the end of this story.
The plot is highly plausible and well researched, as is the technology. For those not not familiar with military matters there is even a well researched glossary at the end of the book. Although some of the technology is now a (tiny) bit outdated this is a novel not a reference work and does not detract from the story in any way.
The story follows the typical Bond / Clancy format of several sub-stories throughout the book. While this is not everybody's cup of tea, Bond does it exceptionally well and the story is not difficult to follow. The characters are well built and a character introduction is included at the beginning of the book.
Bond is possibly one of the most underrated military techno-thriller writers and is easily on par with the likes of Clancy. Red Phoenix is a classic case in point!
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