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The Korean War


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About the Author

Brian Catchpole is a Korean War veteran and the author of many books including Twentieth Century Germany, The Modern World and Britain; Clash of Cultures and Balloons to Buccaneers. He lives in Yorkshire.


For the 50th anniversary of the Korean War (1950-53), retired British Army veteran Catchpole has produced a well-balanced, succinct history of the first war fought by the United Nations against an aggressor state. This trim volume adequately covers the politics, diplomacy, wartime operations, and aftermath of an undeclared war that still has no peace treaty. The author's research is solid and his narrative lively, providing vivid anecdotal insight into the prelude to war, the ground combat, the surprise Chinese intervention, naval and air warfare, prisoners of war, propaganda, public opinion, and little-known aspects of partisan warfare and covert operations. New scholarship includes recently unclassified Chinese and Russian source material. Catchpole clearly reveals the contentious relationship between General MacArthur and President Truman and is accurately critical of MacArthur and other high-ranking U.S. Army officers for their arrogance and lack of tactical and strategic foresight. There are strong references to British and Commonwealth contributions to the UN effort. This excellent one-volume history is highly recommended for public and academic libraries. (Maps not seen.)DCol. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Sebascodegan Island, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"* 'Meticulous in his coverage......a gripping book' - Economist

A 34-year veteran of the British Continental Army who retired a lt. colonel in 1987, Catchpole has published map histories of the U.S., China and Russia, as well as the sweeping study Clash of Cultures. This single-volume account covers the conflict from North Korea's early victories and attempts to penetrate the Pusan defense line and MacArthur's amphibious assault at Inchon, which reversed the tide of the war, drawing in the Chinese People's Liberation Army, all the way up to the 10-minute Battle in the Yellow Sea just two years ago. Writing from the British perspective, Catchpole naturally highlights British involvement in this unpopular war, which was the first to take place under United Nations auspices. That perspective makes for a fresh take on events like MacArthur's decision to move to the Chinese border in late 1950. Under Americans commanders throughout the war, British troops suffered the second highest number of casualties of the UN nations. Chapters encompass naval and air warfare, and contributions of Canadian, New Zealand and Australian troops, and examine the effect of the war on the home fronts. Scrutiny of UN covert operations, prisoner of war problems, the positive effects of the war on Japan and consequences for the rest of the Far East round things out. The British amateur historian's-eye view of things is likely to appeal only to those who have exhausted U.S.-focused accounts. Maps not seen by PW. (Oct. 30) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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