Book ☆ The Coldest Winter Å America and the Korean War

Reader ê America and the Korean War ´ David Halberstam

In a grand gesture of reclamation remembrance Mr Winter America Kindle #180 Halberstam has brought the war back home NY Times Halberstam's magisterial thrilling The Best the Brightest was a defining book about the Vietnam conflict More than The Coldest Kindle three decades later he used his research journalistic skills to shed light on another pivotal moment in our history the Korean War He considered The Coldest Winter his most accomplished work the culmination of Coldest Winter America eBook #9734 years of writing about America's postwar f I like the idea of David Halberstam than his books I liked the fact that a well educated erudite journalist with diverse interests lived in this world writing big messy sprawling books about those interests whether they be Vietnam the Portland Trailblazers or a single firehouse Unfortunately I've never really liked his books Halberstam is famous for his style which really isn't a style at all His writing has been called workmanlike which is to say it is skillful but not that skillful He is known for those long repetitive obliue sentences such as that famous opening to The Best and the Brightest In The Coldest Winter Halberstam turns his researching and interviewing skills to the Korean War The result is a big confusing book The story starts after the invasion and then sort of loops back to tell us what happened Throughout the book he intercuts between matters on the ground in Korea and the political arena in Washington DC Such intercutting can work just fine; here though it makes for a muddle Then instead of finishing his story describing the stalemate between 1951 53 during which time several major battles occurs Halberstam just ends the book He gives a brief overview about what happened but really in essence he just stops telling the story This is a book about The Korean W Halberstam has always been masterful at fleshing out a historical personage Indeed I sort of thought The Best and the Brightest was one long character notebook in which Halberstam told us about the lives of various Harvard and Yale grads This ability is put to good use here He was born Kim Song Ju in the village of Nam ri on April 15 1912 just two years after the Japanese began their colonial era in Korea If one imagines some child of modern Europe growing up in Holland or France under a Nazi occupation that lasted for the first thirty three years of his life Kim's anger and his rigidity can be better understoodHalberstam strains hard to evoke the vividness of combat In The Best and the Brightest Halberstam wrote about the Vietnam War without ever mentioning the existence of a war Here he dives right into combat using a wealth of personal anecdotes These scenes though are incredibly dry His sources the men on the ground who fought the North Koreans and Chinese are understated by nature and profession Halberstam for whatever reason tends to mimic that understatement The Chinese struck in force It was like suddenly hitting a brick wall Paik later wrote At first the ROK commanders had no idea what had happened Paik's Fifteenth Regiment came to a complete halt under a withering barrage of mortar fire after which the Twelfth Regiment on its left was hammered and then his Eleventh Regiment the division reserve was hit on its flank and attacked from the rear The enemy was clearly fighting with great skill Paik thought it must be Chinese He reacted by reflex and thereby probably saved most of his men He immediately pulled the division back to the village of Unsan It was he said like a scene from an American Western when the white folks hit by Indians and badly outnumbered circled the wagons His division had walked into a giant ambush set by the ChineseYawn I don't know why Halberstam's retelling is so lifeless Perhaps it's the astronomical number of commas he uses breaking every sentence up into four or five or six clauses It also doesn't help that his most interesting characters a number of intrepid young American officers appear disappear then reappear much later so that whey you are with them in their defining moments you've already forgotten who they are For me the most enjoyable part of this book is the trashing of Our Lord and Savior Douglas MacArthur A lot of conservatice critics have complained that much of the book is dedicated to this pursuit Indeed Halberstam does end his mammoth telling shortly after MacArthur is sacked by Truman Still it is deserved MacArthur was a vainglorious pompous pretentious incapable ponce This has been shown and proven by countless historians Not even William Manchester could save his reputation though he devoted 800 florid pages to trying MacArthur screwed up every which way in his career He blew it in the Philipines when he ignored warnings of an impending attack and allowed his planes to be blown up on the runway long after the attack on Pearl Harbor He showed it in his unwillingess to prep the Philipines for a Japanese invasion believing they could never get within range without his airplanes spotting them Then after his mistakes forced his men into Corregidor he snuck out in the dead of night leaving John Wainwright and 70000 American soldiers to march to Bataan To double down on idiocy he forced the Americans to recapture the Philipines even though it was a sideshow to the actual strategy of island hopping to Japan In the first moments of the Korean War MacArthur was to have said All is lost American Caesar indeed MacArthur of course scored a coup at Inchon Then he blundered his way towards the Yalu let his men get cut to pieces by the Chinese whom Mac said would never enter the war then tried to get Truman to drop atomic bombs And this man is a hero and icon He makes a mistake and to cover it up tries to nuke a billion Chinamen Class act MacArthur was a dangerous man He thought himself a god which was probably why he did so well in postwar Japan amongst people who believed in divine emperors If Truman hadn't fired him it probably would've become the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War I also ruefully enjoyed the takedown of MacArthur's staff His chief intelligence officer Willoughby was frighteningly creepy I could read between the lines with himbut no Then there's Ned Almond who acuitted himself fine in World War II then turned out to be an incompetent virulently racist bozo in Korea I laughed aloud when Almond went to the front to see the troops and berated a soldier for chopping wood incorrectly There is a definite left of center slant to all Halberstam's work And to be fair there are uite enough right of center books that tell us we could have won the Vietnam War or that MacArthur would have redeemed himself in Korea if Truman hadn't fired him An author's political perspective right or left should always be kept in mind Yet I think here in one major way Halbertam's point of view betrayed him I'm speaking of the reason why he abruptly ended his book where he did This leaves the impression that all was a mess in Korea and that America had been thoroughly trounced This just isn't the caseAmerican soldiers said they were in Korea to die for a tie In reality though we could've come out of this much worse The original North Korean invasion could've wrested all South Korea into the Communist sphere Instead under Ridgeway and Eisenhower the stalemate led to a return to the status uo antebellum It showed the Communist world that we'd fight to protect our satellites And it caused a nice big rift between the USSR and China On the other hand we can't exactly say we solved the problem with North Korea can we

Doc The Coldest Winter

The Coldest Winter America and the Korean WarH reportage of the highest order As ever he was concerned with the extraordinary courage resolve of people asked to bear an extraordinary burden The Coldest Winter is contemporary history in its most literary luminescent form providing crucial perspective on every war America has been involved in since It's a book that Halberstam first decided to write over years ago that took him nearly a decade to complete It stands as a lasting testament to one of the greatest journalists historians of our time to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicle I picked up this book as the Korean War was something I'd never really taken the time to investigate while my interest in history lay mainly in the Second World War and before that I had seen on Goodreads that it had a great reputation and came highly recommended and I thought that it was a good introduction to the Korean War I had never read any of Halberstam's other books but that's not uncommon in non fiction circlesMy main issue with the book was that it is a book of big things of grand sweeping gestures of the big people in the Korean War The primary players being General Douglas Macarthur and Harry Truman So much of this book is devoted to the political machinations and failures of leadership both at a military and a political levelThe thing that bothered me the most in retrospect was the Afterword to the book wherein David Halberstam's virtues as an interviewer are extolled Be that as it may the personal stories is precisely what I felt was missing from the bookHalberstam opens the book with a battle scene and I felt as though I was right in there in the action GREAT But then he almost immediately cuts away in movie terms to a long and extensive description of the history of South East Asia the Macarthur family and sundry other matters which are relevant yes but their position at this point is uestionable at bestThe author spends an enormous amount of space detailing the continuous and overwhelming litany of failures that led to the abysmal situation that existed in Korea The failure of people on all sides to accept that the Chinese firstly were in country and were there in force Macarthur's obstinacy and failures as a collaborative commander and the fraternal appointment of useless officers over competent and capable ones purely out of personal loyaltyThere are some very interesting little people in the war people such as Paul Macgee But the telling of these stories gets lost as Halberstam clearly uses these to leverage into his true argument regarding the macro level management of the war While it is told in a mostly chronological form One of the biggest failings I found with the book was the way that Halberstam tended to in large ignore or describe only in the vaguest terms the actual fighting Yes there were a few choice narratives regarding particular battles but he tended to skip over the actual events and concentrate on the aftermath or political fallout One that particularly springs to mind was the relief column sent to save the American forces engaged at Chipyong ni Halberstam goes into great detail about the setup of that and how much the officers involved would regret doing this or that the dangers of putting the soldiers on top of tanks etc etc Then he glosses over what happened on the way and talks about the aftermath the horrendous loss of life and the military fallout This left me asking aloud So what the FK actually happened He was far too eager to cut away to the bitch fighting between the senior generals and officersI found it difficult to tell when things were happening in relation to others He also proceeds to gloss over the second half of the conflict resorting to making obliue references to ongoing fighting and skirmishes and these were the nails in the coffin which got it into my head what the book was truly aboutIf you knew nothing else about the conduct of the Korean War from reading this book you might walk away with the idea that the United States did not have a navy or an air force Halberstam talks about the Chinese trying to obtain air support from Russia and talks repeatedly about US air superiority But whenever Halberstam mentions the Air Force they are always unavailable or engaged elsewhere or providing support to another unit Which left me begging the uestion what else is going on in this place that he's not telling me aboutThe Korean War was really the dawn of the jet age with the first serious dogfighting between jet air craft Yes this might not have fit nicely into Halberstam's grand overview of the whole thing but come on I wanted to know about Mig Alley about the air war Surely it's an iconic enough part of history to warrant a mentionThis is a book which is only secondarily related to actual warfare and people looking for a book which actually tells the story of the fighting man on the ground should probably look elsewhere This is a book about the politics of war and the wars of politics which go on behind the scenes in any conflict The battle between Macarthur trying to maintain his independence either through vainglory or arrogance from the civilian government is Halberstam's central interest in this book and to what he devotes most of the 700 pagesWhile I recognise that he was an American author and the war was primarily conducted by Americans it was a United Nations force which was fighting there and as an Australian I think it's a little disingenuous to those other countries who were there alsoAs a political science book this is instructive and frightening Some time ago I read a book regarding the first world war which was in a similar vein and it is apparent that little was learned between these two wars When I read a book about a war though I would like to think it would devote time to the actual war

David Halberstam ´ The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War Book

Book ☆ The Coldest Winter Å America and the Korean War ✓ [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War ❤ David Halberstam – In a grand gesture of reclamation remembrance Mr Halberstam has brought the war back home NY Times Halberstam's magisterial thrilling TheOreign policy He gives a masterful narrative of the political decisions miscalculations on both sides He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces Coldest Winter America and the MOBI #234 near the Yalu River that caught Douglas MacArthur his soldiers by surprise He provides vivid nuanced portraits of all the major figures Eisenhower Truman Acheson Kim Mao Generals MacArthur Almond Ridgway At the same time he provides us with his trademark highly evocative narrative journalism chronicling the crucial battles wit This is a must read I liked it so much that I bought it twice The 2nd time I purchased Coldest Winter was after I left my first copy on a plane on a flight returning from Brazil Watch out as it is liable to make you angry however Why First how could the US give so much money and support to China’s Chiang Ki Shek and get so little in return when it was obvious he was an incompetent thief The end result was to supply Red China with all the euipment that Chang’s forces surrendered which were used against the US in Korea Second how can a US statesman be so careless with his public comments to make the communists believe that the US would not defend South Korea in the first place Third how can the US go into the Korean War so unprepared After his success at Inchon how could MacArthur who never spent a single night in Korea be so arrogant to ignore all the intelligence that indicated that the Chinese would enter the war MacArthur insisted all units continue on the offensive and ignore the obvious The book teaches about heroes such as Marine general OP Smith who saved the first Marine Division and maybe all of X Corp from total destruction in the Chosin Reservoir The 1st Mar Div was spared because Smith disobeyed orders from MacArthur’s incompetent sycophant Edward Almond and concentrated his forces Meanwhile the Army units were sacrificed Finally MacArthur was sacked in favor of Ridgeway If you are Chinese you will be angry that your man God Mao was so eager to sacrifice 15 MM casualties to stop the Americans in Korea Meanwhile Mao kept busy by sleeping with the teenage girl of his choice at every village he visited Further Halberstam explains that the Democrats who had a lock on the presidency for several years finally lost it due to political fallout from losing China to communism and the Korean War He draws parallels to the US involvement in Vietnam which was politically motivated so that the Democrats could counter republican rhetoric by demonstrating that they were doing something to combat communism in AsiaYears later the reader can decide for themselves if the 33000 US casualties in Korea were worth it Halberstam points out the stark contrast between the bustling economy in South Korean and the isolated North Korea barely able to feed itself and the failure of communism in the Soviet Union and China The book is a testament to why parents should be leery of allowing their children to volunteer in the US armed forces so they can be used as the expendable pawns that they are while politicians seek reelection