In Mortal Combat: Korea, 1950-1953

Overview

In this brilliant narrative of America's first limited war, John Toland shows yet again why, for over two decades, he has been one of this country's most respected and popular military historians. Toland lets both the events and the participants speak for themselves, employing scrupulous archival research and interviews as the bases for the drama and accuracy of his writing. In Mortal Combat reveals Mao's prediction of the date and place of MacArthur's Inchon landing, Russia's indifference to the war, Mao's ...

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Overview

In this brilliant narrative of America's first limited war, John Toland shows yet again why, for over two decades, he has been one of this country's most respected and popular military historians. Toland lets both the events and the participants speak for themselves, employing scrupulous archival research and interviews as the bases for the drama and accuracy of his writing. In Mortal Combat reveals Mao's prediction of the date and place of MacArthur's Inchon landing, Russia's indifference to the war, Mao's secret leadership of the North Korean military, and the true nature of both sides' treatment and repatriation of POWs.

In addition to being the first Westerner to gain access to Chinese records and combatants, Toland interviewed numerous North and South Korean veterans and over two hundred members of the American military, many of whom had never been approached before. The result is a signal work of compelling readability and lasting importance.

In this brilliant narrative of America's first limited war, Toland shows again why, for over 20 years, he has been one of the most respected and popular military historians. He lets both the events and participants speak for themselves, employing scrupulous archival research and interviews as the basis for the drama and accuracy of his writing. Photos and maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this Korean War history, Toland Infamy makes skillful use of material gathered in Chinese and North Korean archives and through interviews with Chinese and North Korean veterans of the 1950-1953 war. In crisp, lucid prose he relates the familiar chronology from Pusan to Panmunjom, personalizing the course of events through well-chosen anecdotes and quotes, examining from a fresh perspective the controversial aspects of the conflict, including Chinese allegations that the Americans used germ warfare, the Truman-MacArthur confrontation and American brutality against Korean civilians. The relatively static last half of the war, usually given short shrift, is here fully developed, with Toland explaining how critical the POW issue was for both sides during the truce talks. In a book full of impressive features, the most noteworthy is this: Toland has gathered previously inaccessible material enabling him to describe Mao Zedong's direct role in the war as well as that of his field commander Peng Teh-huai. The ``forgotten war,'' in which four million people perished, has never been described more interestingly. Photos. Oct.
Library Journal
Toland, author of Adolf Hitler LJ 12/15/78, Infamy LJ 3/15/82, and The Rising Sun LJ 3/1/71, applies his skills as a popular historian to the Korean War. There is little historical background; some of the ongoing analysis is weak and poorly documented e.g., when dealing with Chinese motives and policy-making; and there are also a few omissions and errors. Of the almost 20 maps, many are confusingly drawn and not very helpful. These problems are generally minor, however, and the story is well worth reading. Toland makes good use of participants' interviews from both sides to enrich the secondary literature in a lively, moving, and at times disturbing presentation. He covers strategic and tactical maneuvers, correspondents, political struggles, behind-the-lines activities, prisoners of war, and numerous acts of combat and leadership heroism and failure in a fluid style certain to hold the reader's attention. Highly recommended for public libraries and subject collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.-- Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688125790
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 824,489
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.64 (d)

Meet the Author

John Toland is the author of two novels and twelve previous works of nonfiction, including the best-selling Adolf Hitler and Infamy, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Rising Sun.

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