Sunday, November 23, 2008

I just finished The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam, his history of America's role in the Korean War.

Sadly, before reading this book my main source of info about the Korean War was having seen the entire run of M*A*S*H. For example, I knew the Chinese were involved but didn't know to what extent - that they were the main force the UN was fighting against in Korea for the bulk of the war.

The Coldest Winter is a little light on the actual details of the war - it seems to assume that most readers will be familiar with the details - and instead goes into a lot of detail in a few areas, like the initial Chinese offensive and the siege of Chipyong-ni. He also provides a lot of background material on the key figures involved, like Truman, McArthur and Ridgeway on the American side and Kim Il Sung and Peng Dehuai on the North Korean/Chinese side and on the larger political situation that provided context for the war.

Based on the quality of this book, I may pick up Halberstam's book on the Vietnam War as well.

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