On 25 June, 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam.
Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict.
©1987 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios
Print would have provided a reference book that I could see maps
The political tensions between the various countries and the potential use of nuclear weapons
not listened to any
no emotional reaction other than wishing the veterans should gain far more recognition for their action in this forgotten and neglected conflict
A really worthy book to gain an insight into a war that has been ignored and forgotten.
A wholly gripping account of a war which Hastings argues had to be fought because of what was at the time a real threat from communist totalitarian states. As with his other books he offers eye witness accounts of combatants which keeps the action urgent and exciting while detailing the strategic and political efforts of generals, presidents and foreign policy wonks. It's a very satisfying combination and in this particular book it's applied to the story of a country split between murderous communists and despotic nationalists, each backed by a superpower. The allies had good equipment but a shortage of battle hardened troops, the communists had relatively poor kit but were willing to win victory by sacrificing massive numbers of poorly trained infantry. Hastings argues that the terrain and the border with China meant that the war was always, in effect, unwinnable but the story plays out as a riveting dog-fight between two enormous armies lead by gifted but deranged generals across an extraordinarily difficult landscape. Hastings' reflections on what happens when the electorates of democratic nations become bored of intractable conflict and repelled by the foreign regimes that their governments have backed also has strong resonances with what's currently happening in the middle east.
A very intriguing history of a conflict I knew nearly nothing about, yet had such a significant impact on world affairs.
Found the audiobook very informative and easy to listen to. Per usual with Hastings, he has mixed factual and story telling in a manner that's lends itself to easy listening
no favourite, putting figures like Truman and mcarthur in context very informative
yes, all high quality
no. too long, but ideal for commutes
Shows mans folly
This war happened when I was a toddler, and though I have watched M.A.S.H. and heard snippets I never understood what this war was all about.
This book enthralled me, the author makes no bones about the mistakes made by both sides, and brings this terrible moment in history to light.
The narrator does a superb job in keeping the reader interested, by the use of accents where needed and never sounds like he is just narrating.
My one wish is that the author had followed this up with one on Vietnam, as it appears that this war, its conduct and outcome had a strong bearing on the route that the Vietnam War would take.
Well worth listening to.
I don't now
action affect every aspect from the ordinary soldier to the political side of things.
I have been very happy to hear the book - I would recommend that you have a map of Korea so you can see where the action pass away.
"Brings a true history to a war that is often over looked"
Brings a true history to an otherwise forgotten war. The story keeps you engaged as it brings you through the years and battles that politics dictated instead of a goal to win the war.
"did the Brits win this war?????"
Hour after hour of British pride being expressed by Mr hastings! You would have thought they the british single handed won this war and the Americans are an after thought who blundered around the country making foolish mistakes which they then committed again in viet nam. this book was a major disappointment, I have read most of Max Hastings books and can honestly say were great histories well written and very informative. Don't know what happened here. Forget this one
"The Korean War - Hasting's Take"
Story: Overall, the book is very good and covers elements not covered in most books on Korea such as the UK contributions to the UNC. I recommend this book.
Narrator: it is always a pleasure to listen to Cameron Stewart. There is usual bias of an American listening to a British voice.
Very interesting and informative book. I was astounded with how many references there were to the nuclear option. it's frightening how close we came.
"A Max Hastings classic."
This is not a happy read. However, for those like myself who have had little instruction on the matter it is about as good as you could ask for.
"Korean war as told by the british"
Overall good history of the korean war but over emphasizes bristish contributions and throughly glosses over the korean aspect of it. I learned a lot but was dissappointed because the book offered a different view than what i was looking for.
"Mostly a high level view "
I had hoped, that the book would be more like Stephen Ambrose's books from World War 2. That is not the case. It's taking a higher level approach, with less focus on the combat and experience of the men.
"Strong mil-focused history of Korean War"
Deft handling of military and political aspects, but a little weak on politics and lacks post-ussr fall docs. Aside from that doesn't feel all that dated and he takes advantage of when he wrote it to conduct interviews with lots of different voices. could have gone a bit deeper militarily. Pow chapter of Koreans held in the aouth fascinating. Good job weaving in different non-elite voices and from multiple sides. Would've loved to learn more about Turkish fighters. Worthy war in the end, particularly given how ROK has been able to thrive, important to see relative morality when defending flawed regime that's better than alternative. But enough with the Uk analysis can do no wrong.
Not a brilliant work, but good research and interviews went into it. Mac portrait good and concise, not much on us high politics. Good on characterizing how societies were responding to the war, perspective from everyday Americans and uk. Odd to think that uk in 1950 saw itself a first rate power, empire would last for awhile was operating assumption. Have to always be contextualizj get, imagining what is the recent history of the subjects, get a sense of their historical and political frame of references.
"well-rounded & thoughtful"
this is a well-rounded and thoughtful survey of the American and English experience in the Korean War. the narrator sought to enliven quotations with his imitations of the various accents of the speakers, which I could have lived without; but I can't suggest a better way to signal the beginnings and endings of quoted material, so even that I got used to. Hastings I have grown accustomed to enjoying and respecting.
"Excellent history of a war too many people forget."
Certainly. This was my second book by Max Hastings, personally I think he's a discount John Toland, but he can still write a good history book. This book was informative in its context and well reasoned in its speculations and conclusions.
I spent several minutes laughing over the accounts of the antics of UN POWs in the Chinese prison camps. It was a wonderful splash of humor to contrast with the miserable condition of the prisoners.
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