Top positive review
Great read! I couldn't put this one down
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2017
Great read! I couldn't put this one down. Read it in about four days, which is super fast for me! This book is is a thorough history of the first ten months of the Korean War & Truman's eventual firing of General Douglas MacArthur. It's hard for Americans born after WWII who live in a 24 hour news cycle, to understand just how people who lived during WWII viewed popular Generals like Eisenhower or MacArthur. These were the guys who had won WWII (at least for the Americans). They were almost godlike figures. Not only had MacArthur emerged as one of the most celebrated Americans of WWII, but his record in occupied Japan and the changes he made in that country were only slightly less Olympian. Couple these two achievements with his brilliant move at Inchon and you have (whatever your opinion of him), one of the greatest military figures in American history.
And then it all unraveled. The Chinese enter in to the War & everything changes. MacArthur an advocate for total war, increasingly encourages not only bombing Communist China, but even the Soviet Union. He advocates "seeding" atomic material in a chain across Communist supply lines in North Korea.
The most interesting side of this story to me was the timidity of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, themselves giants of WWII. Men like Omar Bradley, J. Lawton Collins, Admiral Radford, and former Secretary of state George C. Marshall, who hesitated to confront MacArthur until they finally had no choice. The other interesting aspect of the book was it's revelation of just how vulnerable the American military was in 1950.Not to mention most of the American peoples obliviousness to the fact that by mid 1951, the American armed services, which had swept all before it just 5 years before
was dangerously over stretched in Korea, & the JCS were aware of this fact.
The tension builds & the President & JCS finally have to make a decision.
Very good read! My only problem with this book was the author's seemingly more sympathetic view to Truman (however it's hard not to be).