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The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James A. Michener

The Bridges at Toko-Ri (original 1953; edition 1966)

by James A. Michener

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506730,497 (3.66)6
Title:The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Authors:James A. Michener
Info:Bantam Books, Inc.
Collections:Your library
Tags:literature, Korea, historical fiction

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The Bridges at Toko-ri by James A. Michener (1953)



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I think what Michener was trying to do in this book was to speak for the US Navy pilots, and more broadly, for all the US servicemen who served in the Korean War, with many nods given to World War II, which had only ended a few years before. I think he wanted to convey what they thought about the military, the war, and one another. He was exploring what made them keep doing their dangerous jobs, even as most people back home seemed indifferent to them. I don't have the knowledge or experiences to know how well he accomplished this, but the picture he paints certainly lines up with what I absorbed from my dad and uncle, both US military veterans.

Speaking of painting a picture, where this novella really shines is in the almost tactile vividness of Michener's descriptions of carrier operations. I've never been on an aircraft carrier, but this writer made me feel like I was there. My favorite character was Beer Barrel, the hard drinking Texan farmer who found his true vocation as a master at guiding pilots to safe landings on the pitching deck of a carrier. ( )
  RichardAmerman | Aug 24, 2018 |
I am a Michener fan but have discovered I like his territorial sagas better than his historical novellas. This book told the story of heroic Naval pilots of Task Force 77 during the Korean War. It was Task Force 77's job to knock out the vital bridges at Toko-Ri from whence Russian and Chinese soldiers, supplies and ammunition were being funneled into North Korea. The characterizations were good for a novella. The storyline seemed a bit blah. 123 pages 3 stars ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Aug 10, 2017 |
Great, short book. Very sad ending. But War is hell. Pretty lame that this would get flagged as not being a review. Well let's see. The book is only like a hundred pages. Kind of hard to describe a book this short without giving it away. The characters are vivid, a few of them kind of unreal. I don't get the green hat. Maybe I missed something. But it all boils down to loyalty, self sacrifice and commitment. ( )
  Joe73 | May 9, 2017 |
An early work by Michener. Simpler language than I expected from him, but then the characterizations kicked in and the evocation of time and place. A reflection upon the purpose and necessity of wars that the general public pays little attention to; might speak just as well to today's Afghanistan. A respectful salute to under-appreciated men of war. Fifty years on, this is still a great read. ( )
  Cecrow | Jul 26, 2010 |
I loved the book, but I feel I need to make a correction to the historical facts represented in the book: My Uncle, Donald Ellis Brubaker shared a stateroom with Mr.Michener while on deployment during the Korean conflict- my uncle was the subject of his book. To correct the fiction- my Uncle Don was a rancher from Glenrock Wyoming, not a lawer from LA. He survived the war, and eventually served as CO of an aircraft carrier, and served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. My Aunt has a picture of him- black & white-flying a F4-U with the canopy slid back, smiling, and giving his wingman the thumbs up. A few hundred yards behind him is a DC-3, it appears polished silver with a blue stripe down it. In that blue stripe were the words; "United States of America". He was flying guard to the President. I am so very proud of him. He retired to his ranch in Arkansas, and enjoyed his retirement. He was buried in Arlington with honors, along with all the others who have served their country.
1 vote paulbrubaker | Sep 14, 2009 |
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To Marshall U. Beebe, Jet Pilot
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The sea was bitter cold.
Why is America lucky enough to have such men?
“All wars are stupid,” the old man grunted. . . . “But we’d better learn to handle the stupidity.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449206513, Mass Market Paperback)

Young and innocent, they came to a place they had barely heard of, prepared for war. They were American fighter pilots, trained but frightened, facing an an enemy they couldn't understand, and waging a war they had to win....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The story of a war-weary World War II veteran who must leave his family to fight again.

(summary from another edition)

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