“Excellent…On Desperate Ground is a first-rate work of military history, and its combat narratives are rich with individual stories of danger, bravery, loss, survival and wrenching poignancy.”



Hampton Sides is one of the best writers of History we have today. His books which include Ghost Soldiers, the true story of the Bridge on the river Kwai, Blood and Thunder, the story of Kit Carson and Hellbound on my Trail, the story of the capture of James Earl Ray are as good as you can get to read about these subjects. On Desperate Ground, the story of the battle of the Chosin reservoir during the Korean War is another gem.

MacArthur has accomplished his daring maneuver at Inchon to cut off the North Korean army which had a stranglehold on South Korea, and the United Nations forces are now heading into North Korea. But this time MacArthur is overconfident about the fact that by invading the North, China may enter the war. He feels strongly that they will not attack, and if they did, our armies could handle them easily. But the UN forces are spread very thin over miles and when China does attack, our army is cut off. The attack comes at the Chosin Reservoir. Well over 300,00 Chinese forces attack US marines who are outnumbered about 20 to 1. The ensuing battle which takes place over 3 days, and the breakout of our forces is an unbelievable story in courage and ingenuity. It is a miracle that as many of our men survived that did.

This is an excellent book, written in a free flowing narrative that is hard to put down.

The Korean War is probably the least written about of our wars, but this book is a welcome edition to the history of that conflict. A must read for anyone interested in that conflict.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 10th February 2019

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Richard Franco