The Coldest Winter - Review
The Coldest Winter documents the events of the Korean War which tool place betwen 1950 and 1953. This, among all American wars, is often cited as the forgotten war. The political climate in combination with the overshadowing events of World War II and the Vietnam War have left this the most orphaned of all American armed conflicts. James Brady describes the political landscape left in the wake of WWII with rising tension between communist and western powers. The rise of red state and the demise of colonial control made for a volatile mix in South East Asia. General Douglas MacArthur's struggle for influence was based out of his recently established headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. A series of blunders between the island HQ and officers in the field have left the Korean War among the least successful engagements. China's unexpected involvement turned the tides against the overambitious American troops as they were forced to turn back and establish the boundaries that exist between North and South Korea today. Brady's story of the coldest winter sets the stage for the complicated geo-political scenario of the war. His ability to write compelling politics falls short of his ability to recall the latter events of the war. Because of this, The Coldest Winter gets off to a slow start. The latter parts of the book deal less with the political events surrounding MacAurthur and more with the men on the ground. The scenes built around the fighting men of Korea are moving. It would have nice to capture the compelling back story behind communist interest in the region.
I would recommend you read a book abut the Korean War; I'm not sure that I would recommend this book. Thousands of men fought valiantly for freedom and their story should be told. I understand some of the current challenges being faced by the North and South Koreans better now. I know a part of their story and understand the tension that China walks in between North Korean politics and the rest of the free world. This is the only book I have read about the Korean War. Let me know if you have read others; I would love to continue my understanding of this significant event in American history.