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On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle Audio CD – October 2, 2018

4.9 out of 5 stars 767 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Superb...a masterpiece of thorough research, deft pacing and arresting detail...Sides shows how brave Marines — officers and grunts — innovated, organized and blasted their way out of the trap their fabulously famous boss had helped set. This war story — the fight to break out of a frozen hell near the Chosin Reservoir — has been told many times before. But Sides tells it exceedingly well, with fresh research, gritty scenes and cinematic sweep."
Washington Post

“To this pantheon [of the best books on the Korean War] we can now add Hampton Sides’ On Desperate Ground, which hits all the right notes...It’s a story Marines are rightly proud of and one that should be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the remains that just returned home from Korea, and why those men deserve to be remembered.”
Wall St. Journal

Gripping...Master storyteller Hampton Sides, specializes in captivating readers with his trademark moment-by-moment accounts...Sides captures the big personalities who run things...[and] also immerses readers in vivid accounts of horrific battles and an infamous "attack in reverse."
Christian Science Monitor

“Excellent…On Desperate Ground is a first-rate work of military history, and its combat narratives are rich with individual stories of danger, bravery, loss, survival and wrenching poignancy.”
—Dallas Morning News
“Sides’ brilliant reporting and crisp storytelling provides a backdrop for events on the world stage almost 70 years later…It’s an epic worthy of Homer…In their will to survive the Americans are just as crafty as their Greek forebears.”
Santa Fe New Mexican

“Hampton Sides's On Desperate Ground is a heart-pounding, fiercely written account of the brutal Chosin Reservoir Campaign during the Korean War. Every page pulsates with drama. Sides, an American master of nonfiction, has written one of the finest battle books ever."
—Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Rightful Heritage and The Wilderness Warrior

"On Desperate Ground is first-rate narrative history. Hampton Sides' characters are richly drawn, his background history engrossing, and his battle scenes bone-chillingly realistic—a great read."
—Daniel James Brown, #1 
New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat

“On Desperate Ground is a masterpiece of war history, a sweeping and powerfully drawn epic of the Korean War and its mightiest battle. The astonishing heroism, resourcefulness, and grit of the Marines trapped at Chosin Reservoir boggles the mind, and Hampton Sides’s telling of the story largely through the voices of those who fought (including Koreans) makes for a spellbinding and moving narrative. One of the most harrowing accounts of war I have ever read, this book is destined to become a classic.”
—Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

“What a book! Through moment-by-moment, intensely-researched details, On Desperate Ground utterly immerses the reader in this harrowing battle. Hampton Sides gives us a better understanding of the history behind current U.S. relations with Korea and China while offering a series of captivating profiles in human courage—an absolutely riveting read.”
—Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See

About the Author

HAMPTON SIDES is an award-winning editor of Outside and the author of the bestselling histories In the Kingdom of Ice, Hellhound on his Trail, Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers.

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2018
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Top international reviews

Ken man
5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner
Reviewed in Australia on November 9, 2019
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Jean Louis
5.0 out of 5 stars On desperate ground
Reviewed in France on December 26, 2019
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Gerard T. Monahan
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Reviewed in Canada on November 14, 2018
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