This Kind of War

The Classic Korean War History

Written by: T.R. Fehrenbach
Narrated by: Kevin Foley
Originally Reviewed: 08-14-17 on
Rating: 2 – A must read for warriors, in preparation of conflicts yet to come

As We Sit on the Precipice of Part II…

Most people don’t realize what an Armistice actually is and therefore don’t know that this war in Korea never ended. Although we managed to not re-enter major conflict with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the past 65+ years through the chaos and posturing of both Kim Jong-il and his father before him, it now seems inevitable that we will have to contain the exacerbated shenanigans of Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un.

To do this, we have to study part one as if it occurred only two decades ago instead of six. And regain our lost experiences from 40 years of guerrilla warfare that we’ve mostly been engaged in. ‘This Kind of War’ brought so much perspective that I never really had. I grew up with Vietnam as the overture of American Foreign Policy debacle and then entered the Fanatical Islamic Terrorism age that we currently find ourselves. Although the macro view of the war is the premise of the book, the author delves into the tactical to operational and strategic engagements that helped lead to the Armistice as well as the preceding ousting of MacArthur (bad thing), but replacing him with Ridgway (good thing).

The book is filled with anecdotal examples of the deterioration of our military professionalism from the Greatest Generation in WWII up till the unanticipated invasion by the North.The fact that this preceded (in hyperbole) LBJ’s Great Society is quite ironic that we see the continuation of social experiments in our military today as we face the same enemy.

I normally listen at 3x speed, but usually am forced to slow for jam-packed details of history and foreign names of locations and people, but had no problem with the narrator in this version.

My guess is if we do get involved in full-spectrum conflict in Korea, 30-50% of our Soldiers will be returning in body bags, which will pale in comparison to the 100,000s of Koreans (North and South) that will die. We’re probably not ready for this, the way that MacArthur’s forces weren’t ready the first go around. However, the consequences will be far more deadly and although nuclear consideration during the first war were there, they are undeniable in this one, even if only through the contamination of from damaged radioactive facilities.

Other works for consideration:
1. Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick
2. Act of War, by Jack Cheevers
3. East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950, by Roy E. Appleman
4. Article for Soldiers, by Jonathan Love

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