HrsMinsFrom TheNew York Times Bestselling Author Of Ghost Soldiers And In The Kingdom Of Ice, A Chronicle Of The Extraordinary Feats Of Heroism By Marines Called On To Do The Impossible During The Greatest Battle Of The Korean WarOn October , , The Vainglorious General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander Of UN Troops In Korea, Convinced President Harry Truman That The Communist Forces Would Be Utterly Defeated By Thanksgiving The Chinese, He Said With Near Certainty, Would Not Intervene In The WarAs He Was Speaking, ↠´ read ï On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle by Hampton Sides ↠´ , Chinese Soldiers Began Crossing The Border Led By The , Men Of The St Marine Division, The Americans Moved Far North Into The Trap Mao Had Set For The Arrogant MacArthur At The Chosin Reservoir What Followed Was One Of The Most Heroic And Harrowing Operations In American Military History Faced With Annihilation, And Temperatures Plunging ToDegrees Below Zero, The Surrounded Marines Fought Through The Enemy Forces With Ferocity, Ingenuity And Nearly Unimaginable CourageHampton Sides S Superb Account Of The Battle Relies On Years Of Archival Research And Interviews With Scores Of Marines And Koreans Who Survived The Siege While Expertly Chronicling The Follies Of The American Leaders, This Is An Immediate, Grunt S Eye View Of History, Enthralling In Its Narrative Pace And Powerful In Its Portrayal Of What Ordinary Men Are Capable Of In The Most Extreme Circumstances This is the best account of the Chosin Reservoir battle I have read Sides is an excellent historian and his exhaustive research shows Butthan that, Sides knows how to weave individual stories into the broad overview and still keep the narrative pace moving smartly along.
Chosin was the site of the first major engagement between the United Nations coalition force commanded by the vainglorious Gen Douglas MacArthur and Mao Zedong s People s Volunteer Army Gen Oliver Smith of the First Marine Division spearheaded the effort North Korea had started the war five months earlier when it invaded the South United Nations forces pushed the North Koreans back beyond the 38th parallel, and MacArthur thought he could defeat the North Koreans decisively so as to reunite the country But, when the Americans got closer to the Chinese border, Mao decided to intervene in a BIG way shifting 300,000 troo On Desperate Ground The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War s Greatest Battle by Hampton Sides is the history of one of the greatest stories to come out of the Korean War Sides is an American historian, author, and journalist He is the author of Americana, Hellhound on His Trail, Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, and other bestselling works of narrative history and literary non fiction.
The Korean War is America s forgotten war, and the heroics that took place in the war are often overlooked Marines, however, do remember the events from the landing at Inchon to the evacuation at Chosin Perhaps the Marine Corps most celebrated and most iconic leader Colonel Chesty Puller Puller and the Marines left no man behind as they fought their way out of being surrounded at Chosin Puller always saw the positive We ve been looking for the enemy for some time now We ve fi Yeah, this is the book There aren t many authors who can keep my bedside lamp burning until 0300 hrs on a workday, but that s what happened to this one Any good war story has to have a mixture of brass officers, strategy, planning and balls grunts, action, blood and guts, brotherhood Hampton Sides has mixed these ingredients in just the right combination, which is about one part brass to three parts balls.
Sides spends a bit of time explaining what we already knew that MacArthur was as crazy as a shithouse rat, an officer who loved to be in the rear with the gear, surrounded by sycophants His real effort is expended in relating the heroic battles of the USMC against overwhelming Chinese forces in the battle for the Chosin Reservoir, commonly called the Frozen Chosin I m not going to relate any exploits here, Sides has already done that for you in his Once again, Hampton Sides does not disappoint This was a uniquely engaging in parts, riveting and easily accessible slice of military history, nicely placed in time and place and context, seasoned splendidly with just enough human interest to ramp up the empathy, but not distract, and as is the case with his other stuff efficiently written so it feels as if the pages are turning themselves.
I m long past the point of being objective about Sides work he s one of my favorite non fiction authors, full stop He won me over with Ghost Soldiers, and, in some ways, this felt to be cut from the same cloth even if the underlying story was on the one hand, broader, yet seemingly, less epic This isn t necessarily the kind of stuff I expect that folks will be assigned to read in the military s senior service schools, but it s still incredibl Hampton Sides in one of those authors whose books automatically goes to the top of my TBR list His look at the first 6 months of the Korean War and the Marines escape from the Chosin Reservoir does not disappoint This narrative really begins with MacArthur s great gamble the invasion at Inchon and the subsequent liberation of Seoul In telling this story, Mr Sides relates the unreasonable time table MacArthur set, Seoul had to liberated by 25 Sep the 3 month anniversary of North Korea s Invasion and how it dictated the Marines tactics The commander of X Corps the 1st Marine Divisions higher HQ , MG Ned Almond s, was in complete agreement with it As with most other accounts of Inchon and Chosin, Almond comes off badly With the capture of Seoul, he is show to be completely in agreement with MacA and when the M ô On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle ô Sides always does a great job of humanizing conflicts of war by selecting a handful of individuals and focusing on their specific experiences In On Desperate Ground , Sides follows historical figures such as General MacArthur and President Truman to provide big picture context, but the meat of the book, which provides the strongest images of the conflict for the reader, follows the Army and Marine grunts on the ground It is the experiences of these men that bring the ugliness of warfare to light The Chosin Reservoir was a remarkable battle for multiple reasons In one respect, it illuminates the consequences of hubris particularly on the part of MacArthur and Almond , but it also illustrates the pride and valor of the United States Armed Forces This was the United States version of Xenophon s march of the ten thousand something that Sides references mult I am giving this book 5 stars The 5 star rating for me means the book possesses a WOW factor s and this book certainly had me expressing that sentiment on several occasions To begin with I have to confess that 20th century wars generally do not have a great deal of appeal for me as they tend to have been overly done by popular media Consequently, I do not know much about the Korean War and surprisingly this war didn t seem to get the usual media exposure of wars fought after the invention of movies, television, and the internet The only movie I can recall about the Korean War was Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill It has been called the Forgotten War and that really is true I read Jeff Shaara s historical fiction regarding the same subject last year and that book opened my eyes and awareness to the battle depicted in these pages but I cann What a treat to have Sides create a narrative for us on a tough job our soldiers had in Korea and gather in some lessons relevant to our precarious position today in that part of the world I ve had nothing but 5 star reads with this talented storyteller and history sleuth, and this one continues that tradition His major focus here is on a critical campaign that almost started World War 3, namely MacArthur s initiative after landing at Inchon and retaking Seoul to invade North Korea and win the war with a drive to the Yalu River boundary with China This triggered People s Republic of China s deployment ofthan 200,000 troops across the Manchurian border About 120,000 of these soldiers surrounded the 20 thousand or so American Marine and Army troops around the Choisin Reservoirproperly Changjin These men had been sent to the austere mountainous Hampton Sides latest book, ON DESPERATE GROUND THE MARINES AT THE RESERVOIR, THE KOREAN WAR S GREATEST BATTLE has met, or even surpassed the high standards for excellent narrative history that he has set in his previous works The book is based on extensive interviews, memoirs, command of secondary sources, and the ability to place the reader along side historical decision makers and the soldiers who carried out their orders Whether Sides is writing about James Earl Ray and the assassination of Martin Luther King the last survivors of the Bataan Death March a biography of Kit Carson or the late 19th century voyage of the USS Jeanette to the unchartered Artic waters, he tells his stories with uncanny historical accuracy and incisive analysis.
In his current effort Sides conveys the authenticity and intensity of war on the Korean peninsula His portrayal of th

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