A Short History of the Korean War

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Harper Collins, Oct 27, 2009 - History - 100 pages
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As pungent and concise as his short histories of both world wars, Stokesbury's survey of "the half war" takes a broad view and seems to leave nothing out but the details. The first third covers the North Korean invasion of June 1950, the Pusan perimeter crisis, MacArthur's master stroke at Inchon and the intervention by Chinese forces that November. At this point, other popular histories of the war reach the three-quarter mark, ending often with a cursory summary of the comparatively undramatic three-and-a-half years required to bring the war to its ambiguous conclusion on July 27, 1953. Stokesbury renders the latter period as interesting as the operational fireworks of the first six months: the Truman-MacArthur controversy; the political limitations on U.S. air power; the need for the Americans to fight the war as cheaply as possible, due to NATO commitments; the prolonged negotiations at Panmunjom over the prisoner-exchange issue; and the effect of the war on the home front. Whether the United States could have/should have stayed out of the war in the first place comes under discussion: "no" on both counts, according to the author.

 

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A short history of the Korean War

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Reducing an entire war to manageable length is a high literary art form, and Professor Stokesbury has mastered it. In the case of this Korean War history, short does not mean banal condensation or a ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
13
The Invasion
33
The Pusan Perimeter
51
Inchon
65
To the Yalu
79
The Chinese Intervention
97
The Dismissal of Mac Arthur
113
Approaching a Stalemate
129
The Air Battle
169
The PrisonerofWar Issue
187
Seeking a Pressure Point
201
The World Stage
215
The Home Front
227
The End in Sight
239
Lessons Learned and Unlearned
253
Suggestions for Further Reading
259

War of Posts
141
Negotiating
143
Lunar Battlefield
155
Index
267
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

James L. Stokesbury is the author of A Short History of World War I, A Short History of World War II, A Short History of the Korean War, and A Short History of the American Revolution. Before his death in 1995 he was a professor of history at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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