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In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought the Korean War
     

In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought the Korean War

5.0 1
by Melinda L. Pash
 

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Largely overshadowed by World War II’s “greatest generation” and the more vocal veterans of the Vietnam era, Korean War veterans remain relatively invisible in the narratives of both war and its aftermath. Yet, just as the beaches of Normandy and the jungles of Vietnam worked profound changes on conflict participants, the Korean Peninsula chipped

Overview

Largely overshadowed by World War II’s “greatest generation” and the more vocal veterans of the Vietnam era, Korean War veterans remain relatively invisible in the narratives of both war and its aftermath. Yet, just as the beaches of Normandy and the jungles of Vietnam worked profound changes on conflict participants, the Korean Peninsula chipped away at the beliefs, physical and mental well-being, and fortitude of Americans completing wartime tours of duty there. Upon returning home, Korean War veterans struggled with home front attitudes toward the war, faced employment and family dilemmas, and wrestled with readjustment. Not unlike other wars, Korea proved a formative and defining influence on the men and women stationed in theater, on their loved ones, and in some measure on American culture. In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation not only gives voice to those Americans who served in the “forgotten war” but chronicles the larger personal and collective consequences of waging war the American way.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Through prodigious research in archives and oral histories, Melinda Pash has given voice to the American veterans of the Korean War, men and women she calls the 'silent generation' of the 'forgotten war.' Her absorbing narrative and analytical account is filled with fascinating details about their growing up in the shadow of the World War Two Generation, their hasty mobilization and training, and tortuous combat against North Korean and Chinese forces, as well as the disappointing neglect most of them confronted upon their return home. In highly readable, flowing prose, Pash provides the authentic voices of the veterans as they recall and apprize their experiences, and with masterly skill, she imbeds their stories within historical scholarship on the Korean War and current understanding of the physical and emotional impact of war upon those who fight it.”-John Whiteclay Chambers II,editor-in-chief, The Oxford Companion to American Military History

"[P]rovides a wealth of source material for future historians."- Kirkus Reviews

"No one ever referred to our Korean War soldiers as part of the Greatest Generation; yet, their war began just five years after V-J Day, and more than 36,000 of them died in service to their country. These were truly forgotten combatants of a forgotten war, but Melinda Pash has done a brilliant job of recounting the experiences of these ordinary men and women who spent three years fighting and dying on a peninsula that most Americans could not locate on a world map and soon forgot."-Lewis H. Carlson,author of Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War

"The book is recommended to anyone who seeks further information on Korea and the lot of the American soldier. Thanks to Pash, Korean War veterans have finally been given a long-delayed acknowledgement for their sacrifices."- H-Net

"Through obviously superb scholarship and imaginative analysis Melinda Pash has managed to capture the essential essence of that largely unheralded generation that fought the Korean War."-Paul M. Edwards,Executive Director, The Center for the Study of the Korean War

Publishers Weekly
Just five years after the end of WWII, an exhausted but prospering America found itself gearing up for another major conflict. The Korean War, history professor Pash notes,was fought by men and women who were cut from the same cloth as those who served during WWII, but were asked to fight a very different war. The U.S. government hurried to mobilize forces comprising volunteers, draftees, and Reserves, and the process from start to finish was a difficult one, battles notwithstanding: pre-combat training was intense, but often too short; the fighting in Korea was dominated by extreme heat and cold; and homecomings tended to be a solitary and lonely process, accompanied by little of the fanfare afforded WWII vets. Folks looking for insight into military strategy will be disappointed, but Pash’s focus on the individuals on the ground is illuminating; she is particularly effective at highlighting the important role of women in the war, as well as the successful battlefield-driven process of racial integration. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The Korean War is often referred to as the "Forgotten War." Pash (history, Fayetteville Technical Community Coll.) describes the lives of Korean War veterans before, during, and after the war, examining the reasons they enlisted, their range of experiences, and the consequences of their service upon their lives. Her main argument is that the Great Depression and World War II created a culture among young Americans that prepared them to accept the sacrifices demanded of them during the Korean conflict. The author is particularly thorough in her examination of socioeconomic, gender, and race issues. VERDICT Although Pash doesn't make a strong case for her thesis on the influences upon these veterans, she presents fine descriptive analysis that's especially strong when discussing veterans' experiences during and after the war. Recommended for those with an interest in the war and its human dimensions, or for those new to the subject.—CH
Kirkus Reviews
Who served during the Korean War? How did their wartime and postwar experiences differ from those of World War II veterans? Why did they sometimes come to see themselves as not measuring up to the Greatest Generation? In attempting to answer these questions, Pash (History/Fayetteville Technical Community Coll.) begins by examining who entered the service and why, what parts of the country they came from, how they accepted the call to serve, and how well they were trained for battle. Through interviews with Korean War veterans, the archives of the Eisenhower library, government documents and contemporary books and articles, the author constructs a portrait of the men and women who served in Korea. She reveals their attitudes once they were in Korea, where, as the war dragged on, troops came to question the reason for U.S. involvement and to understand that the American public had little knowledge of or interest in the conflict. She also looks at the experience of American POWs, who, upon their return, often faced questions of their possible brainwashing and collaboration with the enemy. Pash then briefly examines the situation of servicewomen, mostly nurses, and more extensively, the relations of black and white troops in the newly integrated armed forces. Manpower pressures had created a military life far less segregated than life at home, making the return to civilian life especially difficult for African-Americans, who faced continued discrimination. In general, Korean War veterans found that a hero's welcome was not to be, that veterans organizations like the American Legion excluded them, that the VA offered less help to the physically or psychologically damaged, and that the education benefits were less generous than those of World War II's GI Bill. Americans, it seemed, just wanted to forget about an inglorious war. Packed with facts, figures and anecdotes, the book doesn't entertain like M*A*S*H, but it does provide a wealth of source material for future historians.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781479847280
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
05/22/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
349
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Pash’s focus on the individuals on the ground is illuminating; she is particularly effective at highlighting the important role of women in the war, as well as the successful battlefield-driven process of racial integration." -Publishers Weekly,

"[Melinda Pash] presents fine descriptive analysis that's especially strong when discussing veterans' experiences during and after the war. Recommended for those with an interest in the war and its human dimensions, or for those new to the subject."-Library Journal,

"[P]rovides a wealth of source material for future historians."-Kirkus Reviews,

"No one ever referred to our Korean War soldiers as part of the Greatest Generation; yet, their war began just five years after V-J Day, and more than 36,000 of them died in service to their country. These were truly forgotten combatants of a forgotten war, but Melinda Pash has done a brilliant job of recounting the experiences of these ordinary men and women who spent three years fighting and dying on a peninsula that most Americans could not locate on a world map and soon forgot."-Lewis H. Carlson,author of Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War

“Through prodigious research in archives and oral histories, Melinda Pash has given voice to the American veterans of the Korean War, men and women she calls the 'silent generation' of the 'forgotten war.' Her absorbing narrative and analytical account is filled with fascinating details about their growing up in the shadow of the World War Two Generation, their hasty mobilization and training, and tortuous combat against North Korean and Chinese forces, as well as the disappointing neglect most of them confronted upon their return home. In highly readable, flowing prose, Pash provides the authentic voices of the veterans as they recall and apprize their experiences, and with masterly skill, she imbeds their stories within historical scholarship on the Korean War and current understanding of the physical and emotional impact of war upon those who fight it.”-John Whiteclay Chambers II,editor-in-chief, The Oxford Companion to American Military History

Meet the Author

Melinda L. Pash received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee in 2008 and teaches at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought the Korean War 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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