Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story--The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company

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Overview

“What would you want if you could have any wish?” asked the photojournalist of the haggard, bloodied Marine before him. The Marine gaped at his interviewer. The photographer snapped his picture, which became the iconic Korean War image featured on this book’s jacket. “Give me tomorrow,” he said at last.

After nearly four months of continuous and agonizing combat on the battlefields of Korea, such a simple request seemed impossible. For many men of George Company, or “Bloody George” as they were known—one of the ...

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Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story--The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company

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Overview

“What would you want if you could have any wish?” asked the photojournalist of the haggard, bloodied Marine before him. The Marine gaped at his interviewer. The photographer snapped his picture, which became the iconic Korean War image featured on this book’s jacket. “Give me tomorrow,” he said at last.

After nearly four months of continuous and agonizing combat on the battlefields of Korea, such a simple request seemed impossible. For many men of George Company, or “Bloody George” as they were known—one of the Forgotten War’s most decorated yet unrecognized companies—it was a wish that would not come true.
 
This is the untold story of “Bloody George,” a Marine company formed quickly to answer its nation’s call to duty in 1950. This small band of men—a colorful cast of characters, including a Native American fighting to earn his honor as a warrior, a Southern boy from Tennessee at odds with a Northern blue-blood reporter-turned-Marine, and a pair of twins who exemplified to the group the true meaning of brotherhood—were mostly green troops who had been rushed through training to fill America’s urgent need on the Korean front. They would find themselves at the tip of the spear in some of the Korean War’s bloodiest battles.
 
After storming ashore at Inchon and fighting house-to-house in Seoul, George Company, one of America’s last units in reserve, found itself on the frozen tundra of the Chosin Reservoir facing elements of an entire division of Chinese troops. They didn’t realize it then, but they were soon to become crucial to the battle—modern-day Spartans called upon to hold off ten times their number. Give Me Tomorrow is their unforgettable story of bravery and courage.
  Thoroughly researched and vividly told, Give Me Tomorrow is fitting testament to the heroic deeds of George Company. They will never again be forgotten.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder
“Patrick O’Donnell has a rare talent for isolating and burrowing into the great military stories of recent history. With Give Me Tomorrow, he applies his well-seasoned skills to a brutal, Thermopylae-like battle from the Korean War—a battle that tested the upper limits of heroism and the outer limits of human endurance.” 

John Mosier, author of The Myth of the Great War and The Blitzkrieg Myth
“A meticulously crafted narrative that not only follows the heroic struggles of one Marine unit, but gives the reader a sense of what for most Americans is, sadly enough, a forgotten war. Absolutely flawless: If you only read one book about the Korean War, Give Me Tomorrow should be that book.”
 
John C. McManus, author of Alamo in the Ardennes
“Pat O’Donnell is, quite simply, one of the best combat historians of our time. In Give Me Tomorrow, he turns his attention to the Korean War and brings the story of the George Company Marines to life in a way that will keep you turning pages. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to understand something of the realities of combat.”
 
Colonel Preston McLaughlin, USMC (Ret.), former chief of staff, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan
“Patrick O’Donnell has done it again! With finesse, he has created an impressive book that captures the experiences of the George Company 3/1 Marines and Sailors in their pivotal battles in the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He he has captured a mosaic of individual experiences that paint a realistic picture of the hard fighting and extreme conditions these heroic men endured. Marines and Sailors fight for their shipmates on their flanks, and this outnumbered Marine company played a crucial role in the success of the breakout. This volume should be in the professional library of every warrior and student of the Korean War.”
 
Col. Dick Camp (Ret), former Deputy Director of the Marine Corps’ History Division and now The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s VP for Museum Operations at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
“Patrick O’Donnell’s Give Me Tomorrow is more than an infantryman’s war story. It is about gut-level combat—up-close and personal, with rifle and bayonet—that separates the men from the boys. It is the personal account of a Marine rifle company—the tip of the spear—in the first few months of the “Forgotten War.” O’Donnell’s storytelling is superb. By using the Leathernecks’ own words and personal accounts, he brings the story to life. Each page resonates with authenticity... O’Donnell follows George Company, Third Battalion, First Marines from the amphibious landing at Inchon to the “Frozen Chosen,” where it fights desperately to stay alive in 60+ degree below zero weather against overwhelming Chinese Communist “volunteers.” I like this book…it stirs the blood of an old infantryman.”
 

Kirkus, 10/1/10
“Drawing on interviews with the surviving members of George Company, O’Donnell graphically details the rigors of battle in the brutal Korean winter…While he does not underplay the horrors of the war, and does justice to the lighter moments that men remember years later, the author shines when he captures such catch-in-the-throat moments as when the Fifth and Seventh Marines, coming into base after a harried withdrawal under intense Chinese pressure, marched in singing the Marine Hymn…George Company’s performance at Chosin Reservoir practically defines heroism. O’Donnell brings it to vivid life.”
 
Booklist, 11/15/10
“First Sergeant Rocco Zullo…isn’t the only marine portrayed with great skill here…Place this book beside We Were One in the certainty of attracting the same audience.”
 

Asbury ParkPress, 10/31/10
 “Offers an up-close and often bloody account of battles from Inchon to Chosin Reservoir.”

New YorkPost, 11/7/10
“O’Donnell gives the brave Marines of George Company long overdue recognition.”

PittsburghTribune-Review, 11/10/10
“A detailed book…A gripping read.”

Kingman Daily Miner
, 11/5/10
“As the story unfolds it is as audacious as any movie, but the remarkable part of this saga is that it is true. Reading is gruesome at times, but so is war. The smells, bullets, explosions, and premonitions are forever etched in the mind of the reader. Each story is poignantly told, sometimes with humor, and other times with compassion which will bring tears to your eyes…This book has not only brought to life those who gave theirs in the defense of freedom, it captures the essence of how the Marine Corps is a brotherhood of men who will sacrifice their safety and lives for each other…[A] memorial to those who have valiantly served.”
 
Internet Review of Books, 11/11/10
“O'Donnell's effort deserves to be read by every person who loves America and the democratic ideals that drive our great engine of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—and who understands that the preservation of those ideas can require that men and women sacrifice their lives. Give Me Tomorrow is a brief history, a microcosmic examination, of individual sacrifices necessary to preserve progressive ideals in a world where the power of totalitarianism can too easily hold sway…O'Donnell has written a remarkable book, one that deserves a wide audience in an age where young men still are asked to put on a uniform and die because humankind has yet to learn to resolve its differences without violence.”

InfoDad.com, 11/24/10
“O’Donnell has nothing but admiration and sympathy for the Marines who fought at Chosin. A new memorial to the men who fell there is now on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Virginia, but Give Me Tomorrow is a memorial as well…It is impossible not to respect the men of George Company…And it is impossible not to admire the painstaking research and very extensive interviews from which O’Donnell built Give Me Tomorrow.”

Bookviews.com, 11/28/10
“Based on more than a hundred interviews and primary source materials, this book tells the story of mostly teenage boys who found themselves on the front lines of a war.”
 
BradentonTimes, 12/1/10“[P]rovides a little seen insight into the devastation of a war that has been nearly forgotten.”

 
Westlake.Patch.Com, 1/3/11
“The tale of one group of men struggling against the odds to defeat the enemy and protect each other.”
 

Military Heritage, February 2011
“A testament to the bravery and fortitude of the American fighting man.”

Book Bargains and Previews
“[An] unforgettable story of bravery and courage. This is an amazing piece of history that has been virtually untold for the past several decades…O'Donnell's research is impeccable…This is one of the best war stories I've ever read.”
 
NorfolkVirginian-Pilot, 2/6/11
“O’Donnell’s ability to document George Company’s formation, training and tactical movements is indicative of an experienced journalistic ‘embed.’”
 
Reference & Research Book News, February 2011
“Tells the untold story of ‘Bloody George.’…The text memorializes the men, their friendships, their bravery, and the legacy of this group of America's little- known heroes.”
 

Relaxed Fit, 2/15/11“O’Donnell brings us into a frozen killing ground of the Korean War…This is an excellent, well documented work that belongs on the bookshelves of serious military historians…Give Me Tomorrow should be required reading in military academies and the halls of Congress.
 
50+ Lifestyles, February 2011
“It’s difficult to find books about the Korean War, so this one is welcome…A compelling read…Worth adding to your military history library.”
 
MidwestBook Review, March 2011
“A detailed survey…Offers a personal approach to battle experience…[A] 'must' for any military history collection.”

Naval History
, June 2011
"Readers will appreciate [O'Donnell's] skill in developing this grunt's-eye view of combat...For readers wanting to get a sense of what it was like to be an infantryman in the 1st Marine Division during the opening months of the Korean War, the stories of the men of George Company more than fill that niche."

“A moving and exciting story of courage, determination and the ethos of the Marine Corps.”

Collected Miscellany, 6/20/11
"O’Donnell combines excellent research with wonderful writing…[and] captures the spirit of the men of George Company.”

CharlestonNews Alternative, 6/23/11
“An heroic and sometimes blood-curdling story told by the individual soldiers…[O’Donnell] writes like someone who’s been there.”

Marine Corps Gazette, August 2011
“The subjective nature of Give Me Tomorrow’s primary source material is also its most exceptional strength…A fitting tribute to these Marines and an excellent addition to your bookshelf.”
 
PortlandBook Review, 10/1/11“Brings to life the camaraderie shared between these men, and the gritty realities of combat that cemented their bond… The war in Korea is often called the Forgotten War. In honoring the boys who became men under the most harrowing conditions, the author chips away at that epithet and ensures that the valor of the men of George Company is preserved for the next generations.”


Burlington
Hawk Eye 12/6/11
“Great for the history-lover on your list.”

Politics and Patriotism (blog), 3/21/12“A heartfelt compilation of first hand recollections of the Korean war, as told by the veteran members of George Company…O’Donnell brings together the firsthand accounts of men who fought a war that nobody wants to remember for reasons that nobody can quite put their finger on. This isn’t just a history book. It’s a testimony…Give Me Tomorrow does more than tell you what happened to a rifle company that went through Hell. It tells you who they were and how they prevailed.”

The Graybeards, November/December 2012
“Anyone who wants to know what it was like to be a U.S. Marine with George Co., 3rd Bn., 1st Regt., First Marine Division in the Korean War can find out vicariously by reading Give Me Tomorrow…Readers will pick up the book and be unable to put it down.”

Kirkus Reviews

Military historian O'Donnell (They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany, 2009, etc.) chronicles a Marine company's struggles in the toughest campaign of the Korean War.

George Company was thrown together from raw recruits and World War II veterans in the wake of North Korea's invasion of the south in 1950. When they went ashore at Inchon, most of the men had never seen combat and some barely knew how to handle their weapons. But their arrival tipped the balance, beginning an offensive that drove the North Koreans nearly to the Chinese border by late October—at which point the Chinese army came into the conflict. That invasion set up George Company's defining moment. Surrounded by overwhelming numbers near the Chosin Reservoir, the company held out with nearly inhuman determination to protect a vital intersection and haven for other cut-off units. Gen. Oliver Smith's response, when asked if his men would retreat, showed the Marines' resolve: "Retreat, Hell; we're just advancing in another direction." Drawing on interviews with the surviving members of George Company, O'Donnell graphically details the rigors of battle in the brutal Korean winter. First Sgt. Rocco Zullo, a prototypically tough Marine who'd seen action in the Pacific during WWII, is in many ways the hero of the story. He drove his green recruits to remarkable feats of valor until he was wounded in late 1950. His men believed him dead until he showed up at a reunion decades later. While he does not underplay the horrors of the war, and does justice to the lighter moments that men remember years later, the author shines when he captures such catch-in-the-throat moments as when the Fifth and Seventh Marines, coming into base after a harried withdrawal under intense Chinese pressure, marched in singing the Marine Hymn. A final withdrawal, which included crossing a deep chasm on an air-dropped bridge, brought the soldiers to temporary safety, though its members saw more action throughout the war.

George Company's performance at Chosin Reservoir practically defines heroism. O'Donnell brings it to vivid life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306820441
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 232,405
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Patrick K. O’Donnell is a military historian and the author of six previous books: Beyond Valor, bestseller and winner of the prestigious William E. Colby Award for Outstanding Military History; Into the Rising Sun; Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; The Brenner Assignment, which received international praise; They Dared Return; and the highly acclaimed We Were One, about a Marine platoon in the Battle of Fallujah. He has provided historical consultation for DreamWorks’s award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers, and for documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and Fox News. He is an expert on WWII espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency on the modern battlefield. O’Donnell is also the founder of the Drop Zone, an award-winning online oral history Web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 1, 2010

    why war is hell

    I was a member of George Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division or G-3-1 in Korea. I've waited 60 years for someone to tell our story.. Fate must have sent Patrick O'Donnell to uncover this story before it was too late.

    He brought this story to vivid interest and readability. We were 19 and 20 year olds that had to be the least trained Marines going into a battle. In World War ll we usually outnumbered the enemy but in Korea it was the opposite. Usually 10-20 to 1.

    I still can't believe we did what we did.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    highly recommended

    all though i am a former marine and knew the story of the marines in south korea this story really hit home and brought out the feelings all of these marines endured. this story is hard hitting and makes you feel like you were there. the hardship these men had to endure shows the spirit that our fighting men had for each other.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    Riveting true story, my Dad, Joseph George Sagan, USMC Retired.

    I enjoyed learning more about my Dad's Marine Corps history and the book is really great, featuring vivid and unbelievable accounts from the Marines, the "Frozen Chosin" who survived the assaults and freezing temperatures with inadequate clothing and weapons. My Dad is still dealing with the frostbite and schrapnel that he was exposed to in 1950-1951. I highly recommend this book, a terrific example of Qualitative Research with amazing oral histories.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    Outstanding!!

    Great story about true American heroes!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great book for those interested in a ground-eye view of the Korean War

    Give Me Tomorrow is a good read for anyone interested in a ground level view of the Korean War, or in the Marine Corps experience during the conflict. Patrick K. O'Donnell constructs the narrative from oral history interviews that he conducted, but supplements them with well known Korean War secondary literature. The story follows the exploits of George Company, Third Battalion, First Marines during the Korean War with particular emphasis on the Company's experience in the Chosin Reservoir.
    O'Donnell does a fine job weaving together the remembrances of these forgotten heroes into a coherent narrative that is engaging and fast paced. The experience of combat varies for every person and the more complex the fight, the more diverse the memories. George Company faced impossible odds in each of the battles it participated in starting with the Inchon landing. The men faced complex enemy situations including ambushes, roadblocks, snipers, and tanks during their missions. Crafting a lucid narrative from all this was no easy task and O'Donnell's greatest strength is his ability to do just that. Give Me Tomorrow would benefit from the addition of more official sources such as Battalion logs or after-action reports, but nevertheless, the book is a testament to the resolve and bravery of the young men who faced immense hardship and personal loss in the harshest of places.
    I was fortunate enough to be at the George Company reunion in November 2010, when the Company dedicated a memorial at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia. It was an honor to meet these heroes in person and witness the powerful bonds forged between them in battle. They taught me as much about leadership and comradeship in a few short days as I had learned in fifteen years in the Army and two combat tours in Iraq. I remain humbled by these men and can only hope that my generation of Soldiers and Marines earns their respect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    excellent book

    man. I really was taken in by this book. Read it in record time. Really enjoyed this and have read it twice more. Awesome!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great Read!

    Nice addition to my library

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Title says it all

    Very entertaining take on a little known war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    I would buy this one again.

    Very good and informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great gift book; husband loved it!

    This was a gift for my husband.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    A

    A

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2010

    Should be a movie.....

    I loved "Band of Brothers" and the movie 300. George Company had many epic stands throughout the war and in a sense this story is a bend of the two movies. A truly outstanding book. These men are heroes! Semper Fi through the ages!! This should be made into a movie.

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