The Korean War...

…The Fight Across the 38th Parallel, from Amber Books

Title:  The Korean War

Author: Jeremy P. Maxwell

Publisher:  Amber Books

ISBN:  978-1-78274-899-1

I still think that while there is a lot written about WW2 and the later Vietnam war, that the Korean War which started in 1950 and ended only with an armistice in 1953 is often overlooked. Perhaps the one reminder of the war which strikes a note with most people is still the old film and subsequent TV series, M.A.S.H. I suspect that for many interested in military history of the 20th Century know the least about is the Korean War.
For those wanting to know more, then this new one from Amber Books is I think an excellent introduction as well as expanding the knowledge of events for those who already know a little. The Introduction sets the background, with the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsular from 1905 which was only brought to an end by their surrender in 1945. Korea was keen to regain its' independence but new Communist supporters wanted to take over control. With the background set the book goes on to explore that various elements of the conflict. There was an agreement to split Korea along the 38th Parallel, Russia supporting the North and the USA supporting the South. The chapters cover the sequence of the war with the USA Enters the War: Inchon Landings: Chinese Intervention: The War in the Air: Stalemate and closes with After the Armistice. It wasn't just the US at war on the side of the South, but the newly formed United Nations as well. Much of the equipment which we see in the many archive photos was of WW2 vintage, while the one new factor to highlight was the combat use of the new jets, the American Sabre and the Soviet Mig 15. Throughout the book there are plenty of archive images, maps and colour artwork illustrating uniforms and other equipment.
There are names some might be familiar with, such as Pusan, Pork Chop Hill, and another movie title that was actually a real battle, for Heartbreak Ridge. The war ended with an armistice though the South Korean government never signed it, which is why the war had still not technically been ended. It is in the final chapter where it includes the more recent stories of President Trump and President Kim Yong-un. The heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) remains and there have been numerous 'events' in the years since the armistice. Recent talks and equally North Korean missile and nuclear tests bring back the question of just what is needed to resolve this old conflict and allow families to be reunited without any further bloodshed. One of the issues I personally think is that of trust, on all sides, and whether either will trust what the other says. Even after all these years not an easy problem to solve but if you want to understand current events then this history will provide you with plenty of background. Recommended without any hesitation.

Distributed by Amber Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin