The Korean War: The West Confronts Communism

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An authoritative account by the historian and Korean War vet offers “a comprehensive picture of the war . . . and riveting tales of heroics . . . Gripping” (The Washington Post Book World).
Winner of the Westminster Medal for Military Literature
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean People’s Army shocked American troops by crossing the 38th parallel into South Korea. After five years of relative quiet following the close of World War II, the US Army was unprepared to face a battle-ready enemy. After an initial defeat, General MacArthur turned the tides along with significant contributions from UN allies. Joining the Americans were troops from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and elsewhere, working together despite problems of culture and logistics.
In The Korean War, Michael Hickey frames the conflict in the larger context of international power politics. A veteran of the war himself, he recounts such masterstrokes as MacArthur’s landing behind the enemy lines at Inchon, the drama of the glorious Glosters episode, and both collaboration and mutiny in the prisoner-of-war camps of either side.
Drawing on many previously unexamined sources from several countries, including recently declassified documents, regimental archives, diaries, and interviews, Hickey adds extensively to our knowledge of one of the most significant conflicts of modern times.
“[A] fine, opinionated contribution to Korean War literature . . . Not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Col. Michael Hickey himself fought in Korea. He is a graduate of the Staff College, Camberley, the Joint Services Staff College, and the Royal Military College of Science, was a Defense Fellow of King's College, London, and was later Director of the Museum of Army Flying. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Unforgettable Army, on Field Marshall Slim and his 14th Army in Burma, and of Gallipoli.
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Additional Information

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Published on
Sep 4, 2001
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History / Military / Korean War
History / Military / Strategy
History / Modern / 20th Century
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The Korean conflict was a pivotal event in China's modern military history. The fighting in Korea constituted an important experience for the newly formed People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), not only as a test case for this fledgling service but also in the later development of Chinese air power.

Xiaoming Zhang fills the gaps in the history of this conflict by basing his research in recently declassified Chinese and Russian archival materials. He also relies on interviews with Chinese participants in the air war over Korea. Zhang’s findings challenge conventional wisdom as he compares kill ratios and performance by all sides involved in the war.

Zhang also addresses the broader issues of the Korean War, such as how air power affected Beijing's decision to intervene. He touches on ground operations and truce negotiations during the conflict. Chinese leaders placed great emphasis on the supremacy of human will over modern weaponry, but they were far from oblivious to the advantages of the latter and to China's technological limitations.

Developments in China's own air power were critical during this era. Zhang offers considerable materials on the training of Chinese aviators and the Soviet role in that training, on Soviet and Chinese air operations in Korea, and on diplomatic exchanges over Soviet military assistance to China. He probes the impact of the war on China's conception of the role of air power, arguing that it was not until the Gulf War of the early 1990s that Chinese leaders engaged in a broad reassessment of the strategy they adopted during the Korean War.

Military historians and scholars interested in aviation and foreign affairs will find this volume of special interest. As a unique work that presents the Chinese point of view, it stands as both a complement and a corrective to previous accounts of the conflict.

An “Unnecessary” War is a researched readable account of the Korean Conflict, told an Air Force Officer who served  with the 3rd Bomb Wing (Light). (Not until 1986 did the US Congress declare the Korean War to be a real war) The cost in human and material loss in the three war years was huge. Any gain is still difficult to assess. Communism was halted, but a grim totalitarian regime was left in place that is now a nuclear thorn in the side of the planet. The book discusses in some detail, the political and financial (yes-financial) decisions made by UN and US political leaders leading to Chairman Mao’s and Joe Stalin’s approval of Kim Il Sung’s ill-considered crusade to invade the South. (Kim Il Sung was the grandfather of our present pesky North Korean Kim, who seems to blame his self-inflicted ills on America) Most recounts of the Korean War are either biased or too detailed for the non-military reader. This book was written for the rest of us, and contains hopefully unbiased judgmental information not available elsewhere in a single writing.
The book contents are set in chronological order with descriptions of major battles, discussions of conflicts, weaknesses, and interplay of US commanders, particularly the actions, sometimes inexplicable, of Douglas MacArthur. It also contains a summary of casualties and losses, orders of battle of both the US Army and USAF, and descriptions of Communist forces committed at critical times. Discussions of the efforts of other UN members, particularly the British Commonwealth and Turkish forces give an insight to the contribution and sacrifices of our comrades-in-arms. With access to USAF “frag” orders at the time, the air war descriptions here are likely more accurate than in USAF published histories tending to glorify USAF contributions. Post Korean War discussions with National Guard comrades with the 2d Division during the disastrous Chongchon rout, add an eyes-on contribution to the discussion of this engagement.


NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From America’s “forgotten war” in Korea comes an unforgettable tale of courage by the author of A Higher Call.

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.

Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?

Praise for Devotion

“Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account.”—USA Today

“An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting.”—Los Angeles Times

“[A] must-read.”—New York Post


“A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane—when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again.”—Associated Press

“A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget.”—The Washington Times

“My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way.”—President George H. W. Bush

“This is aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake

“Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice

“At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book.”—Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend
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