Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Columnist and author Brady (The Coldest War) has written the most powerful and stunning war novel since 1997's The Black Flower by Howard Bahr. In 1950, soon after the start of the Korean War, the men of the 1st Marine Division found themselves surrounded by 100,000 Communist Chinese soldiers at the famous battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Brady is a Marine veteran of the forgotten war, and he writes colorfully and convincingly about how 20,000 Americans fought their way out of the Communist trap in the most bitterly cold winter weather ever experienced on the Korean peninsula. Reserve Marine Capt. Tom Verity, a young widower and a single parent, is recalled to active duty in the autumn of 1950; he is a Chinese linguist whose skills are badly needed. Gen. Douglas MacArthur has unwisely sent the Marine division into North Korea with orders to march to the Chinese border; despite MacArthur's flippant assurances, the Marines suspect the Red Chinese are waiting for them in the Taebaek Mountains. Verity is to join the forward battalion and gather intelligence for the Marine brass. Aided by conscientious, capable Gunnery Sergeant Tate and jeep-stealing, wise-cracking Corporal Izzo, Verity's efforts pay off, but it is too late. The Communists attack relentlessly, day and night, and with temperatures down to 25 degrees below zero, everyone freezes. The American withdrawal back to the seaport of Wonsan is a horrific nightmare of fatigue, frostbite, wounds and death. After days of marching and fighting, Verity, Tate and Izzo are about to reach safety when a single sniper's bullet changes all their fates. Brady's narrative captures the viciousness of combat, the brutal weather conditions, the forbidding terrain and the Marines' display of extraordinary courage, sacrifice, and valor. Incisively mapping out the fine lines between hope and despair, heroism and cowardice, this moving novel is a model of historical and moral accuracy. (June) FYI: This is just one of several upcoming novels commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
On the 50th anniversary of the Korean War come these two novels about marines in combat. Both follow a marine captain through the rigors of infantry fighting to the climax of the Chosin Reservoir campaign in which the marines were besieged by over 100,000 Red Chinese troops. Both reflect on the home life left behind; both strive for insight into, and understanding of, the professional soldier's mind. Beyond that they are quite different. Simmons, a retired brigadier general, held a company command in the war and wrote his novel shortly after returning. For personal reasons, he decided against publication. Now after a distinguished career as author and corps historian, he has released an absorbing tale. His marines are businesslike, dedicated, skilled in their jobs, and generally free from fear, second-guessing, or regret. They understand the demands of war and accept the hardships as part of their profession, remaining human, thoughtful, and complex throughout. Simmons's depth of understanding, insider knowledge, and informed compassion are especially effective. Brady, author of a series of novels set in the Hamptons, is also a veteran of the war. His novel follows Tom Verity, a new father, recent widower, and veteran of Guadalcanal, who is reactivated against his will and thrown into the fray to monitor Chinese radio transmissions. This takes him to Chosin. Brady's work is more explicitly exploitative of the reader's emotions, and he misses no opportunity to savage MacArthur's bad judgment and overweening ambition. Nor does he skip a chance to glorify the heroes on the ground. There is much interest in the upcoming anniversary, and many libraries will want to add Korean War material.Buy Simmons first and Brady's if demand exists. In either case, add recent histories as well.--Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-Through vivid writing, readers observe and almost feel the cold, filth, and deadly danger of the Chosin Reservoir campaign, in which several regiments of Chinese troops unexpectedly appeared in North Korea as the Americans and South Koreans moved North to "win the war by Christmas," 1950. The undermanned American troops were trapped in the mountains, necessitating a retreat while under constant attack. The only road ran along one narrow defile, slippery with ice and intermittent new snow; Chinese troops paralleled the retreat on the opposite side of the crest. Our troops were thus strung out for miles, traveling slowly and suffering from the effects of below-zero temperatures as well as sniping and/or attacks from the Chinese. Brady describes episodes of heroism and bravery among the long-suffering men, as they slowly make their way south to safety. This is a Marine story, and neither MacArthur, the Army, nor the South Korean troops come off looking very well. The hero is Marine Reserve Captain Thomas Verity, called upon for a short stint in intelligence work because he grew up in China and speaks the language. His character is loosely based on Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, who served in this campaign. The flashbacks of Verity with his wife and daughter in Georgetown don't ring quite true or seem necessary, but they don't mar the overall effect, which is to make readers appreciate all soldiers' sacrifices and heroism.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Taking a break from his fluffy satires of summering glitterati (The House That Ate the Hamptons, 1999, etc.), Parade and Advertising Age columnist Brady, delivers a bitter, despairing novel of the valiant but futile stand by US Marines against the Chinese Army at the Chosin Reservoir.. Having survived combat at Guadalcanal, US Marine Captain Tom Verity had had enough of war. In 1950, Verity, a widower with a three-year old daughter, looks forward to another semester teaching Chinese language at Georgetown when he's called back into uniform and sent to Korea. There, he's given a jeep, a fancy radio, a respectful, history-quoting Sergeant Tate, and the wisecracking, street-wise South Philadelphia driver Izzo. Ordered to head north, to the snowy Korean highlands bordering China, he is to listen to Chinese radio transmissions and determine if the they're aiding Korean Communist forces. A pawn in a bureaucratic conflict between Marine commanders and General MacArthur, who has divided American forces along the Korea-Chinese border in anticipation of a quick end to the hostilities, Verity quickly discovers what the Marines have suspected and MacArthur refuses to believe: that the Chinese have mobilized to invade from the north. After an agonizing build-up, they attack in human waves, demolishing entire battalions before retreating into the snowbound hills. Verity, Tate, and Izzo fight their way through a series of devastating, gut-wrenching combat scenes, then join the remnants of the American forces on a humiliating retreat through punishing attacks and brutal cold. Their final, tragic (and somewhat unconvincing) response to so much wasted life is to make sure that one of theirfallencomrades will not be left on foreign soil. Gloomy, gory, and furiously critical of MacArthur, Brady's second take on the Korean War (after his 1990 memoir, The Coldest War) throws ice water on mindlessly gung-ho military thrillers, concluding that the only good things about war are the honor and decency of the few good men who fight it. (two pages maps, not seen)
From the Publisher
"The privation undergone by the U.S. Marines at the 'Frozen Chosin' in Korea, 1950, stands with the monumental infantry ordeals in the history of warfare. Now James Brady, who himself fought as a Marine rifle platoon leader in the same Taebaek Mountains of North Korea, brings this annal of valor to life in prose that is at once brutal, humorous, harrowing, and indelible. The Marines of Autumn takes its place among the unforgettable chronicles of war crafted by men, to paraphrase Whitman, 'who were there, who knew, who suffered.' Outstanding." Steven Pressfield, author of Tides of War and Gates of Fire
"In this thoroughly engrossing novel Brady captures the way the Marines of 1950 thought, talked, fought, and died. His Marines of Autumn are not the Marines of World War II or Vietnam, but the Marines of Korea, and a uniquely fascinating breed they were...At last we have a major Korean War novel!" Martin Russ, author of Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950
"The Marines of Autumm is a you-are-there epic story that portrays the horror and the heroism of the corps' finest yet most critical hour. A truly gripping tale of a war that America has sadly forgotten." David Hackworth, U.S. soldier, Korea, 1950
What People are saying about this
In this thoroughly engrossing novel Brady captures the way the Marines of 1950 fought, talked, thought, and died. His Marines of Autumn are not the Marines of World War II or Vietnam, but the Marines of Korea, and a uniquely fascinating breed they were….At last we have a major Korean War novel!
(Martin Russ, author of Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950)
"THE MARINES OF AUTUMN is right up there with the very best of combat writing and is destined to become one of the defining novels of the genre."
"An epic story worthy of the ancient Greeks. Riveting. A truly first rate novel of the Korean War."
The privation undergone by the U.S. Marines at the 'Frozen Chosin' Korea, 1950, stands with the monumental infantry ordeals in the history of warfare. Now James Brady, who himself fought as a Marine rifle platoon leader in the same Taebaek Mountains of North Korea, brings this annul of valor to life in prose that is at once brutal, humorous, harrowing, and indelible. The Marines of Autumn takes its place among the unforgettable chronicles of war crafted by men, to paraphrase Whitman, 'who were there, who knew, who suffered.' Outstanding.
(Steven Pressfield, author of Tides of War and Gates of Fire)
Colonel David H. Hackworth
"THE MARINES OF AUTUMN is a you-are-there epic story that portrays the horror and the heroism of the Corps finest, yet most critical hour. A truly gripping tale of a war that America has sadly forgotten."
War reporting at its besta graphic depiction, in all its horror, at the war we've almost forgotten…Jim Brady has used his finely honed reportorial skill to record his own frontline experiences in the Korean War. His story reads like a novel.
(Walter Cronkite on The Coldest War)
Kurt Jr. Vonnegut
"The Korean War now has its own Iliad, historically precise and harrowingly poetic."
The Marines of Autumn is a youarethere epic story that portrays the horror and heroism of the corps' finest yet most critical hour. A truly gripping tale of a war that America has sadly forgotten.
(David Hackworth, U.S. Soldier, Korea, 1950)