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A Review Of The Book Korean War By Maurice Isserman

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The book Korean War by Maurice Isserman and general editor John S. Bowman is a fantastic look into the events as well as great facts about the Korean War. The book was written in 1992 and copyrighted in 2003. Do to the semi-early copyright and written date it provides very accurate up to date information.

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The divisions of Korea. Korea is divided into two by the 38th parallel. The Northern half ovisously being North Korea and southern half obviously being south Korea. During the Korean war “communist North Korea had launched an invasion of their noncommunist neighbor, South Korea”. The War began June of 1950 it lasted approximately 3 year and 1 month. Many casualties happened for each side (U.S. and North Korea) however, Korean casualties tremendously outnumbered the U.S. casualties. Korea had approximately 4.5 million casualties but U.S. only reach 54,000 casualties.

Task Force Smith (U.S. troops) were sent to Korea. Before arriving however, 90,000 Korean soldiers over 100 fighter planes, and 150 tanks crossed into South Korea. In North Korea leader Kim II Sung played a trick on the Northern Vietnamese saying that it was intact South Korea invading the north and that North Korea was just acting in reaction. When news was first sent to Washington, D.C. about the terror in Korea everyone in D.C. was shocked, it came as a huge surprise to them that there was an outbreak so soon in Korea. D.C. was actually so unsuspecting of an incident president Truman was actually relaxing at his family home and was not at D.C. to receive the news about Korea.

Truman was very careful in his thinking about how U.S. should proceed to responded. In Truman’s words : “In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak. I recalled some earlier instances: Manchuria, Ethiopia, Austria. I remembered how each time that the democracies failed to act, it had encouraged the aggressors to keep going ahead. Communism was acting in Korea just as Hitler, Mussolini, and the japanese had acted…if this were allowed to go unchallenged it would mean a third world war”. I find this to be one of the most important attributes the author added to the book. When I first read that speech or what you might call it I read it multiple times in awe thinking one little mess up in thinking could have started World War 3.

It was not until November of 1950 when both Korean advances came to a stand still at the edge of the Pusan Perimeter. By mid September General Macarthur Launched an invasion of the port of Inchon. This invasion of the port flipped everything around putting the United Nations on the offensive for once. As you can tell from the numbers North Korea was dealt a bad deck in this so called “war”. September 27th MacArthur was directed to take the war to the north. Truman feared he would appear to be “soft on communism” if the U.N. forces did not take total victory. A poll said Americans think a stop would be a communist “appeasement” which is exactly what president Truman had feared. Most Americans also thought that claiming total victory over the aggressor was the only sure fire way to stop from any aggression in the future. One note about the book is I love how it gives great facts and doesn’t try to persuade the reader to think in any certain way about the subject. What i mean by it does not persuade the reader to think in a certain way is a lot of books will give facts that makes one side sound better than the other but America at War seems very straight forward on facts.

Going along the persuasive aspect of things as well as relating the Korean War to World War II propaganda was coming in at high rates. Just like in World War II and Hitler during the Korean War YAK fighter planes dropped leaflets. On the leaflets it stated for the Americans to surrender. At this point in the war Korea knew when to send out the propaganda because many U.S. soldiers are becoming weak do to dirty resources.

On October 9th US and ROK forces began an offensive against North Korea. By the end of October United Nation had 2 separate armies in North Korea. As you can tell at this point Korea is pretty much at a complete stop by UN forces.

Overall I would very much suggest this book to anyone interested in history. The series America at War seems to be a very good series judging by this Korean War. As I stated many times before it gives up to date facts. The book also provides great pictures with captions that give the reader an inside look into what some of these events actually looked like. One person in particular i would suggest this book to is a teacher that teaches about the Korean War due to its very wide range of information. 

10 Jun 2021

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