THE KOREAN WAR: Vol II by Donald & Alfred Coppel Knox


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The concluding volume in an altogether splendid two-part oral history of the Korean War. Picking up where he left off, Knox (who died before completing the manuscript) covers the ""police action"" from the hard winter of 1951 through the cease-fire agreement signed on July 27, 1953. As in his first volume, he draws on unit combat diaries, news reports, official communiquÉs and other contemporary sources to offer bigpicture perspectives. Again, though, the real story is in the gritty detail provided by scores of officers and enlisted men who survived the savage campaigns that convulsed the land of the morning calm. Once Western leaders decided victory in the traditional sense was too risky to pursue, the conflict was effectively ended with the start of peace talks at Kaesong during the summer of 1951. But a truce was not negotiated for two more years, during which the UN's predominantly American forces and resilient Chinese troops engaged one another constantly, sustaining tens of thousands of casualties in the bloody, purposeless process. Knox makes a particularly fine job of reconstructing the murderous battles fought late in the stalemated struggle by Marines around the Nevada Cities (ridge-line outposts along the 38th Parallel named Carson, Reno, Vegas, et al.) and the UK's Black Watch regiment at The Hook (a bend in the Sami-ch'on River). There's still no national monument to the courage displayed by the US military on Korea's killing grounds. With his eloquent record, however, Knox delivers a genuinely fitting tribute to the sacrifices made by those who fought in the so-called forgotten war.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1988
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich