An intense, psychological novel by a retired Marine general who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and knows how to write.
Not just an action-adventure story-though it is that, to be sure-but a starkly realistic portrait of infantry combat.
The best autobiographical novel to come out of the Korean War.
The press that discovered Tom Clancy and has integrated just a few other novelists into its mainly nonfiction list over the years now offers an excellent debut novel about the Korean War . The author is a Marine combat veteran of that largely forgotten conflict, and this tale could easily be autobiographical (although he claims it isn't); it was written just after the war and then filed away in Simmons's attic for nearly 50 years. The simple story of Marines at war follows Capt. George Bayard as he commands a Marine infantry company of Pacific War vets and new recruits in 1950-1951. Simmons avoids any geopolitical discussions of the war, and instead focuses on Bayard and the men of Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, and the grueling ordeal they face in close combat with the North Koreans and Red Chinese. Bayard is a new company commander, an unknown quantity who must prove himself to his men, especially the WWII combat-tested lieutenants and sergeants. From the surprise amphibious landing at Inchon through the horrific street fighting in Seoul, and on to the frozen wasteland of the Chosin Reservoir winter campaign, Bayard learns a lot about himself and his ability as a leader. His education, however, comes at a grim price, particularly when his company is nearly wiped out defending a snowy mountain pass in sub-zero weather and legendary battalion commander Lt. Col. "Red Snapper" Quillan must come to their aid. Simmons writes with the salty authority of a man who has seen war, providing a convincing and graphic foxhole level view of the infantryman's fight with rifle, grenade and bayonet. This will be a hit with fans of military history, but Simmons's frequent use of unexplained Marine Corps jargon and acronyms may leave civilian readers in the cold. 15,000 first printing. (May) FYI: Simmons was the director of the Marine Corps History and Museums division for 24 years. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.\
YA-A taut, exceptionally well-paced, and exciting novel. Simmons tells the story of Marine Reserve Captain George Bayard, recalled to service during the Korean War from a comfortable teaching position and given command of rifle company D ("Dog" in the military phonetic alphabet), which shipped out in time for the September 15, 1950 attack on Inchon. Readers follow Bayard and his company through the terrible ordeal of the winter of 1950-51. The tale of the advance up the peninsula and the miserable retreat is gripping, and Simmons's well-chiseled characterizations are unforgettable. The most important aspect of the novel is the author's depiction of unit cohesion. Throughout, Bayard is a reluctant warrior, but by the time the first bullets fly he finds the magnetic pull of home with all its comforts is insufficient to overcome the bond he has established with the men of his company. Veterans like Simmons can fully convey this attribute. A vividly accurate depiction of combat in Korea.-Alan Gropman, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
“Ed Simmons’s evocative writing cuts through the mists of half a century to bring into stark relief a proud Corps of Marines in one of their darkest
and finest hours.” W.E.B. Griffin
“A superb novel. It works as a story of the Korean War and the U.S. Marine Corps, but also as a probe into the deepest reaches of the human condition.”
“An intense, psychological novel by a retired Marine general who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and knows how to write. [Simmons is] a master at technical details.”
“A fresh, compelling look at the forgotten war and the tough men of the old breed who fought it. General Simmons’s insights into the tactics, personalities, and minutiae of battle make this a first-rate combat narrative.”
James Webb, author of Fields of Fire
“Will bring you to tears of sorrow and tears of joy.”
“Excellent…Simmons writes with the salty authority of a man who has seen war.”
“Not just an action-adventure story
though it is that, to be sure but a starkly realistic portrait of infantry combat.” Marine Corps Gazette
“The best autobiographical novel to come out of the Korean War.”