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Summary

The master of military historical fiction turns his discerning eye to the Korean War in this riveting new novel, which tells the dramatic story of the Americans and the Chinese who squared off in one of the deadliest campaigns in the annals of combat: the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as Frozen Chosin.

June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China.

But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable - and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.

The Frozen Hours tells the story of Frozen Chosin from multiple points of view: Oliver P. Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined defeat as "advancing in a different direction"; marine private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the Americans he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move.

Written with the propulsive force Shaara brings to all his novels of combat and courage, The Frozen Hours transports us to the critical moment in the history of America's "Forgotten War", when the fate of the Korean peninsula lay in the hands of a brave band of brothers battling both the elements and a determined, implacable foe.

©2017 Jeff Shaara (P)2017 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
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  • Anke Smith
  • 28-08-17

Highly educational insight into the Korean War

Having grown up in Germany during the 70's I never knew much about the Korean War. Which in hindsight is rather sad as it was an UN mission. I am so grateful to Jeff Shaara for writing this book and opening my eyes. Also the narration by Paul Michael is beyond superb! I listen to Audible books as well as the Great Courses all the time and this narration put one right into Korea and with the Marines.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ark1836
  • 22-08-17

Not as Good as Most Shaara Books

I'm going to start this review by saying that this is not Jeff Shaara's finest novel. This is the ninth Shaara novel that I've read, and I have to rate this as the least of those. That being said, a bad Shaara novel is still excellent by most other standards. So, I might sound a little harsh, but it is still a good novel, just not up to my expectations for this outstanding author. My problem with this particular book is the scope. Shaara usually covers an entire war from start-to-finish unless the novel is meant to be part of a series (such as the two-part Revolutionary War series, the Civil War battle novels and the four-part WWII series). This novel really just covers one battle, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. In historical context, this battle was part of a much larger campaign, which this novel fails to fully appreciate. The novel glosses over the earlier Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, which was a larger battle both in size and casualties. The novel also barely touches the Battle of Inchon, which is one of the most daring landings in history. The novel ends in late 1950/early 1951 with an unsatisfying, brief conclusion summarizing the next two years of the war.

Again, this is a Shaara novel, so it's still a very well written novel. Shaara on a bad day is still better than most authors.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • andrew cotton
  • 26-08-17

Korean War

I knew almost nothing about this war. Shaara gives us a riveting feel of what war is really about. I could feel the frigid wind and sub zero temperatures as marines tried to dig foxholes in the frozen. Earth There's nothing pretty or romantic about war. Nothing but blood,pain and courage for soldiers in any army.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. V
  • 10-06-17

Great story; narrator is questionable

What did you like best about The Frozen Hours? What did you like least?

I will be honest; the narrator spoke in monotone and VERY slow...so slow that I even checked the settings a couple times because I could not imagine an author wanting someone to narrate his book in such a way as this.
In fact, I set my speed to 1.5 times (and it helped) but it did not improve the lack of expression on the narrators part.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

No. When the action increased, the narrator didn't...he continued reading as if he was sitting down for a beer or taking a leisurely walk.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

see above.

Do you think The Frozen Hours needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

N/A

Any additional comments?

There was much hard work invested into this book; it is always a shame when a great author has a sub-par narrator.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Samuel G Watkins Jr
  • 04-06-17

Well written and executed. The Frozen Hours.

I liked the portrayals and historical accuracy. A map of the Chosin area down to Kotori would have been helpful. Since I have David Halbertam's "The Coldest Winter" I had access to the maps. This audio gave me a more human perspective to the war in Korea as was covered so completely in Halberstam's book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 07-11-17

Superb! Closely based on facts

A riveting and unputdownable novel recounting Marine Corps valor in the face of overwhelming numbers of enemy troops. By the author of Killer Angels.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerry Geleff
  • 28-08-17

Very good, continuing the Shaara legacy

Beginning with,"The Killer Angels" and on through this book, the Shaara's, father and son, have given us the best historical fiction ever written. Giving voice to the forgotten war in Korea gives us a little better understanding of what happened, beyond watching "M*A*S*H*". It also continues the tradition of showing both sides, not just "the good guys". Well worth a purchase and the time to listen.
Good performance in the reading, and a tip; I was able to listen at 1.55 times speed and not miss anything.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • bstriegs
  • 24-08-17

Great Story

I have read about this battle before, but Shaara really brought it to life.
I have read many of his novels before, and in my opinion, he keeps getting better at his craft.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Wareham
  • 18-09-17

typical Shaara

What made the experience of listening to The Frozen Hours the most enjoyable?

The precise detail of the milieu of the theater of operations. Everything from environment to weapons to personalities.

What did you like best about this story?

it is very consistent with historical documents . Bu most importantly it matches the stories of the men I knew who fought in this action

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to count BUT if I had to pick 1...it would be how the Marines sang their hymn as the marched out. battered, bruised but unbroken and unbowed. Marines are still that way today. Make no mistake about it. Marines are at their best when things are at their worst. I say all this as a US Navy man.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As much as I hate to admit it because communist atrocities were well known and abundant, the Chinese General seemed to have a code of honor that is admirable. Something we never hear about on this side of the pond. Other than him the Russian Major was very insightful and intelligent in his assessments Again, nothing we generally give them credit for displaying . BUT finally the big hero was O.P Smith to me, I was almost entirely unfamiliar with him because he is over shadowed by Puller and Lem Shepard. I think he is one of my top 3 US generals of all time. I put him in the same class as US Grant and Patton because he was a lot of each of them. He was a real Marine's, Marine and it must have been rewarding to have served under him. MacArthur was past his prime in this particular war and surrounded by boot lickers it seems. Truman was smart to fire him after all.

Any additional comments?

This is a MUST read for anyone interested what bonds fighting men and women together when natural impulse is to do otherwise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe Downey
  • 10-09-17

Another Shaara book hit!

If you could sum up The Frozen Hours in three words, what would they be?

You are there.

Who was your favorite character and why?

General Smith. Well developed character. A man of conviction. A warrior. He was the playmaker without whom Chosin would have been another Custer's Last Stand.

Which character – as performed by Paul Michael – was your favorite?

General Smith

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cry. My father told me of that war. He was there; one of three he fought in. So hard.

Any additional comments?

Jeff Shaara and his father are(were) great story tellers and students of military history. They get events out of the level of news reels and down on the ground where the goats can get to it. Baah..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful