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Posted July 3, 2000
With the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, there's been a renewed interest in this Cold War struggle. There are many books, new and reprinted, on the shelves at the bookstores. But all of these books continue, for the most part, to ignore the Korean contributions in war. While it is understandable that most attention in the US should focus on the American experience, it is ludicrous that the contributions of the Korean people to their own defense are so utterly, and completely dismissed. Even the very small contributions of the lesser UN allies receive more attention than the valiant struggle of the South Korean (ROK) Army in the usual books on the Korean War. But, no one can truly understand the Korean War without understanding the vital role of the ROK Army. This is the first significant account of the ROK Army's fighting in the war, as told by the most prestigious Korean general. The ROK Army was extremely poor in equipment and in training, but strong in spirit. Of course they paled in comparison to the US Army, but the Korean Army had very little in the way of firepower, training, or support at that time. For this reason, the Communist forces directed most of their massive offensives against areas controlled by ROK divisions. ROK units defended up to 2/3 of the front line, and were involved in some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Under the circumstances, they performed admirably. For the first time in English, the immense contribution of the Korean people to their own fight for freedom is documented by this leading Korean general. It is well-written (well-translated) and fascinating to read. It is also an honest account, in which he readily admits the shortcomings and failings of the ROK Army. Despite these shortcomings, or perhaps because of them, it is an inspiring account of the struggle by Koreans for their own freedom.
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Posted November 2, 2011
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