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The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

by David Halberstam

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,450329,078 (4.07)50
Pulitzer-winning historian Halberstam first decided to write this book more than thirty years ago and it took him nearly ten years. It stands as a lasting testament to its author, and to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicles. Halberstam gives us a full narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides, charting the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides vivid portraits of all the major figures--Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. He also provides us with his trademark narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order. At the heart of the book are the stories of the soldiers on the front lines who were left to deal with the consequences of the dangerous misjudgments and competing agendas of powerful men.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Journalist, deceased 2007, Halberstam writes of North Korea war so much more, covering the presidents Roosevelt to Johnson and political vs military agendas and the history covering the US after WWII and the cold war following. I did not know much about the Korean War. My dad was there but like many soldiers of that war, he would not talk about it and he had a great deal of shame regarding the war. I wish I had read this book before he died. It would have given me great insights and perhaps I could have provided some comfort. This is the last novel by Halberstam. He died in 2007. This isn't just a history book, it is a journalistic report and Halberstam loved to interview people. This is the story of a war not often talked about, seldom acknowledged. But the events here are sadly still present in our policies and politics today. ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 21, 2020 |
Except for the battle of Pork Chop Hill this book left off after the first six or seven months of the war. I would like to know more about the status of the North Korean POWs: Halberstam says Syngman Rhee released them to thwart peace talks and they melted into the South Korean population; Fehrenbach says they vandalized the train cars or buses they rode to the repatriation point. ( )
  JoeHamilton | Jul 21, 2020 |
The interesting thing about the Korean War is that most were reluctant to call it an actual war. Those that admitted to it being a conflict were convinced it would be over in no time. What started in June of 1950 as a "clash" between North Korea and South Korea turned into a war of attrition when China and the Soviet Union came to the aid of North Korea and the UN and United States joined the South. Despite a treaty being signed in July of 1953, to this day, technically the conflict has not been recognized as over.
While Halberstam portrays the well-researched historical events with accuracy and thorough detail, his portrayals of key U.S. figures such as Generals MacArthur and Bradley, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and President Truman read like a fast paced political thriller. The larger than life personalities practically jump off the page. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 2, 2018 |
Best book I've read on this war ( )
  ikeman100 | May 7, 2017 |
This is a fascinating look at the "forgotten war" of the 20th century. Halberstam takes you behind the scenes and to the front lines to give you a picture of the Korean war, the coming of age of China's Mao, and McArthur's downfall. The author gives terrific context and relevancy. If you read just one book regarding the Korean war, this is the book. ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Halberstamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duncan, David DouglasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pugliese, PaulMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On June 25, 1950, nearly seven divisions of elite North Korean troops, many of whom had fought for the Communist side in the Chinese civil war, crossed the border into South Korea, with the intention of conquering the entire South in three weeks.
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Pulitzer-winning historian Halberstam first decided to write this book more than thirty years ago and it took him nearly ten years. It stands as a lasting testament to its author, and to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicles. Halberstam gives us a full narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides, charting the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides vivid portraits of all the major figures--Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. He also provides us with his trademark narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order. At the heart of the book are the stories of the soldiers on the front lines who were left to deal with the consequences of the dangerous misjudgments and competing agendas of powerful men.--From publisher description.

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