Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Review (#16 of 2008)

MacArthur's War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero (audio).
I give this one 4.5 stars (out of 5). It was well-researched, easy listening, and I learned a lot. I guess all I previously knew about the Korean war came from books I'd read from the GIs' perspectives and some documentaries based on 1950's newsreels (which were mostly uninformed propaganda). This gave a much broader view of the conflict from the view of the generals.

Korea was a fiasco from start to finish. MacArthur's hubris as America's greatest general was quite costly. His poor decisions probably cost us the war while his political statements kept the nation fiercely behind him, calling for an impeachment of the President that fired him. Most people probably remember the firing as being because of his threats to drop A-bombs on mainland China, but that would be inaccurate. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs concluded in the end that he should have been fired years earlier for incompetence and insubordination.
But, at the time, MacArthur was a living legend, "God among us," blasphemed many Congressmen.

There are perhaps several parallels to the Korean effort and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Korea had the potential to be a flashpoint for World War III. Great book, great read.


Keith Walters said...

An audio book interesting. How long was it? I love military histry and know little to nothing about the Korean War. Sounds interesting.

JTapp said...

It was 3.75 cassettes.