Brian, I will do it before passing it on.
Brian, I will do it before passing it on.
Well, health permitting, I finally have reached the end of the David Halberstam book "The Coldest Winter", and have to give it my full approval. The Korean War-which is what it is about-is a very nebulous and little known war to most Americans and even though having lived in the time era, I, like almost everyone else I've spoken to, knew little to nothing about this terrible conflict. It was a war far far different than any like the US had ever gotten involved in before.
I particularly like the style of Halbertsam's writing-he doesn't simply give summaries of the major battles(I could have gotten That from Wikipedia) but he also explains in clear and concise language about the Politics of the times and the players on the scene and why they did what they did and decided to not do what they didn't. People like Douglas MacArthur, Dean Acheson, Ned Almond, Henry Luce, Matt Ridgway and so many more-without which, things would make little comprehensible sense or reason.
"The Coldest Winter" fills a hole that so many of us all have in our sense of History. I'm sure that many of us could name obscure Russian villages and Panzer Lieutenants' names in even more obscure battles, but when asked about Korea and the war, out come the blank stares and silence. It tells the story and is liberally seeded with many many personal accounts by the major and the minor combatants and Then some. It explains the most massive and largest ambush the US has ever encountered in it's history and how the Chinese mauled them to oblivion at Chosin. It describes the methods of approaches and traps the Chinese were famous for and Very Good at. In this book is MacArthur's masterpiece-the amphibious landing at Inchon....and his everlasting shameful blunder of advancing to the Yalu River and the terrible consequences after. It speaks of the unthinkable Cold of the Winter(hence the Title) of the temperatures being commonly seen at 40 below zero-Without windchill factor(They didn't Use the windchill measurements back then) and the troops having only summer uniforms, as MacArthur had openly declared that everyone would be home and done by Christmas. The dead bodies being loaded onto giant trucks after the battles and having to be fitted in like jigsaw puzzle pieces, as they were frozen solid in their final positions from the horrendous cold. Tank commanders fighting their way's out of entrapments and ambushes and finding their tanks covered with frozen pink foam and brain material the next day like a paint job from Frozen Hell itself.
No, this book has something to keep anyone's attention-politics, preludes, hellacious combat and everything in between and how close a thing it was to using Nuclear weapons! It also explains why even the men that were There and went through it all would never speak of it afterwards-even to their families. They, for the most part, took their terrible memories to their graves with them. Only their comrades who had Been there and Knew...They were the only ones who could get their fellow Vets to speak of what they had gone through. I remember, years ago, a Good Friend of mine casually mentioning over several drinks one day that He had been a tanker in Korea and had had 2 tanks blown out from under him and had gotten a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for it all. Unfortunately, at that point, he seemed to realize that perhaps he had said "too much" and clammed back up about it and I never Did find out what battle it occurred in or what the details were. He was a Great guy and a Hell of a friend, but I had never dreamed that he had such nightmares bottled up deep inside him. I was stunned, as I had never had a clue that he had ever been there or experienced such horrors, but that was, indeed, the way the Korean Vets were. They just did not Talk about it.
At any rate, there you go. A Very interesting book that is Not all blood and guts-but still has enough of it in it to satisfy even the most curious of History readers!
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
Just to let you guys know I have finished soldiers of destruction. It took me a while, but I have been busy with exams and I was gone for a month at Irish college.
So who ever wants it next just send me a PM , I will get it sent out asap.
Best regards, Patrick
Keeping the thread alive. Read up gentlemen.
I'd love to be able to lend, but most of my history books / autobiographies are on a Kindle or in an e-book format ...and having spent quite a lot of time looking, I seem to be unable to lend any of them out.
This appears to be a big downside to the digital age to be honest, but I suppose it is the publisher's right.
They seem to be very slow on 'getting with the times' in the main.
Actually - has anyone come across an e-book that they are able to lend? It is certainly possible according to Amazon.
However, if anyone is interested, if you go to: Category:Wars Bookshelf - Gutenberg (Project Gutenberg) you will find a lot of very good books (fiction and non-fiction) that you are able to download for free - from the Boer War to WW1 - including An Aviator's Field Book by Oswald Boelcke
In my opinion "Soldiers of Destruction" is required reading for anyone interested in the SS.
Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!
Im still old school and cannot seem to get interested in E books. I've tried but its just not the same. Let me look at my collection and post some new titles for any member looking to be a part of this discussion.