Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea

( 12 )

Overview

America's "forgotten war" lasted just thirty-seven months, yet 54,246 Americans died in that time ? nearly as many as died in ten years in Vietnam. On the fiftieth anniversary of this devastating conflict, James Brady tells the story of his life as a young marine lieutenant in Korea.

In 1947, seeking to avoid the draft, nineteen-year-old Jim Brady volunteered for a Marine Corps program that made him a lieutenant in the reserves on the day he graduated college. He didn't plan to ...

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The Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea

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Overview

America's "forgotten war" lasted just thirty-seven months, yet 54,246 Americans died in that time — nearly as many as died in ten years in Vietnam. On the fiftieth anniversary of this devastating conflict, James Brady tells the story of his life as a young marine lieutenant in Korea.

In 1947, seeking to avoid the draft, nineteen-year-old Jim Brady volunteered for a Marine Corps program that made him a lieutenant in the reserves on the day he graduated college. He didn't plan to find himself in command of a rifle platoon three years later facing a real enemy, but that is exactly what happened after the Chinese turned a so-called police action into a war.

The Coldest War vividly describes Brady's rapid education in the realities of war and the pressures of command. Opportunities for bold offensives sink in the miasma of trench warfare; death comes in fits and starts as too-accurate artillery on both sides seeks out men in their bunkers; constant alertness is crucial for survival, while brutal cold and a seductive silence conspire to lull soldiers into an often fatal stupor.

The Korean War affected the lives of all Americans, yet is little known beyond the antics of "M*A*S*H." Here is the inside story that deserves to be told, and James Brady is a powerful witness to a vital chapter of our history.

In a masterful, personal account of America's "forgotten war, " which lasted 37 months, yet killed as many Americans as died in 10 years in Vietnam, Brady tells what is was like to be a novice second lieutenant in the second year of what had become a devastating, old-fashioned trench war. Photos. Reissue. (Military History)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Coldest War:

"War reporting at its best - a graphic depiction, in all its horror, of the war we've almost forgotten... Jim Brady has used his finely honed reportorial skills to record his own front-line experiences in the Korean War. His story reads like a novel." —Walter Cronkite

"A marvelous memoir. A sensitive and superbly written narrative that eventually explodes off the pages like a grenade in the gut... Taut, tight, and telling. Jim Brady proves again that he is one of the most underrated writers in American books." — Dan Rather

"It is about time somebody wrote about the personal side of the Korean War - the forgotten war. It is a gripping and honest book. Everyone prone to think simply about war should read it." — Jim Lehrer

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a new Marine second lieutenant, Brady, one-time publisher of Women's Wear Daily , joined Dog Company on the front line in Korea on Thanksgiving Day 1951 and departed the following Fourth of July with his hide intact. During that time he learned how to lead an infantry platoon in combat and later served as executive and intelligence officer of the company. The action sequences--patrols, ambushes, prisoner-snatching raids--are vivid and memorable, conveying the unique flavor of the second year of the ``peculiar war.'' Giving the memoir distinction, however, are the author's comments on those he served with, the prickly relations between Marine officers and enlisted men, and the differences between Marine and Army troops. Brady's ingenuous account of how he learned to lead men in combat while he was scared to death is appealing. Photos. (June)
Library Journal
Brady is a popular novelist (the Hampton series, e.g., The Gin Lane) and a well-known columnist (Advertising Age and Parade magazines), but few people know that he was also a platoon leader in the Korean War. Brady's story begins with his arrival in Korea in November 1951. By then, the North Koreans (with the Chinese) and the UN armies stood facing each other halfway down the Korean peninsula. With the region's harsh winter approaching, neither army was preparing any great offensives. Brady's narrative reveals the boredom and physical discomfort of being on the front line for weeks at a time, offset only by the sheer terror of night attacks or patrols crossing the minefields. The war by this time had stabilized into static trench warfare--something World War I veterans would recognize. Brady's book is well written, and this reviewer regrets not reading it in one sitting. It compares favorably with Stephen E. Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers (LJ 11/15/97), although Brady's work is much shorter. This thoughtful work is recommended for both public and academic libraries.--Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-- A compelling account of Brady's year as a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War. This fascinating book packs twice the whallop for being both an informative and judicious look at America's ``forgotten war'' as well as a page-turner. That more Americans were killed (54,000) in this stand-off than in Vietnam is a fact few young people are aware of, and in these times of increased interest in reassessing our rationale and methods in Vietnam, the Korean war holds a remarkable series of parallels that will leave readers wondering how we could have repeated so many mistakes. Brady has an engaging style, placing poignant memories of lighting up in the trenches with his buddies alongside suspensefully drawn incidents of two-bit and grand-scale skirmishes in which those same buddies are carried off the field on stretchers. An insightful look at the changes that even a so-called liberal young man goes through in the peculiar human and male rituals of war adds to an already rich and satisfying book. --Catherine vanSonnenberg, San Diego Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312265113
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 253,431
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James Brady is the author of Further Lane, Gin Lane, The House That Ate The Hamptons, and The Marines of Autumn. His weekly columns for Advertising Age and Parade magazines were considered must-reads by millions. He lived in Manhattan and in East Hampton, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    RECOMMENDED READING FOR THOSE WHO REMEMBER KOREA.

    I REMEMBER LISTENING TO THE RADIO BEFORE GOING OFF TO SCHOOL IN THE MORNING AND HEARING THE LOSS COUNTS ON BOTH SIDES.NOW READING THIS ACCOUNT MAKES IT VERY CLEAR THAT IT WAS NO PICNIC AND SURPRISES ME THAT SO LITTLE HAS BEEN PORTRAYED BOTH IN FILM AND NOVEL FORM.THE REAL HORRORS WILL BE KNOWN ONLY TO THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE CONFLICT.GOOD BOOK.

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  • Posted December 25, 2010

    very good korean war tale.

    Enjoyed the book, but edirting terrible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    The Forgotten War

    This book does not show away from any aspect of war from going to using nature's call to seeing dead men on barbed wire. Unusually, this book does not have the usual cynicism of a war memoir, just the details of an everyday marine in Korea. Some may be offended by his racial slurs, however.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2001

    Korea is not forgotten

    Brady brings Americans back to the forgotten war by not only educating but also inspiring his reader.

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    Posted May 19, 2012

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    Posted December 15, 2011

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    Posted April 21, 2012

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    Posted September 17, 2013

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    Posted December 5, 2009

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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    Posted September 18, 2011

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    Posted February 13, 2014

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