Top critical review
Some obvious errors create concerns about accuracy
Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2018
I have to admit to not being overwhelmed with this book. The individual stories were compelling, and of course the historical impact of the introduction of Chinese soldiers into the Korean campaign is a equally compelling. However, two things about this book bothered me in particular. First, it was difficult to differentiate between the marines' anti-U.S. Army bias and the author's. The author may feel that the Army did not do its due part in Korea, but he provides no evidence to that effect. If, however, he was only meaning to convey the average marine's opinion of soldiers (of which I am acutely aware), he doesn't do so cleanly. Yes, this is a book about the heroism of a marine company, but the unnecessary shots at U.S. soldiers and leadership comes across as petty.
Second, there were at least a couple of glaring factual errors. The author refers to the Congressional Medal of Honor when he means the Medal of Honor, and at one point he relays the anecdote of a marine's M-1 Garand no longer being capable of automatic fire at one point in the battle, when the M-1 is a semi-automatic rifle. Some folks might consider these details to be nit-picky, but they are so easy to fact check (or catch in editing) that it really made me wonder about the reliability of other details in the book. And for a book that purports to be a "true story", and is filled with the internal thoughts of marines involved in the fighting, it cannot afford to squander credibility.
In the end, I think there are better books out there about Korea in general and Chosin in particular.