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Publisher's Summary

On 25 June, 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam.

Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict.

©1987 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about The Korean War

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Articulate and deeply informative.

I feel as though I may actually understand what happened in Korea now.... presses replay.

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Great story, narration meh

It started almost instantly to annoy me when the reader puts on accents for the different nationalities.. I get it, it helps differentiate but there something unexplainably annoying about a fake accent..

Anyways, still recommended

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  • rstone23
  • 2016-03-30

Brings a true history to a war that is often over looked

Brings a true history to an otherwise forgotten war. The story keeps you engaged as it brings you through the years and battles that politics dictated instead of a goal to win the war.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 2016-03-21

The Korean War - Hasting's Take

Story: Overall, the book is very good and covers elements not covered in most books on Korea such as the UK contributions to the UNC. I recommend this book.

Narrator: it is always a pleasure to listen to Cameron Stewart. There is usual bias of an American listening to a British voice.

Production: Excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2017-05-04

simply the best chronology and

simply the best chronology and analysis o the Korean War ...heavy on facts and reflection

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  • Michael S. Owens
  • 2017-04-28

An excellent historical work - but....

This is an excellent historical work focused on little known aspects of the Korean War.

unfortunately the reader's terrible attempts to affect an American accent while reading quotations, amusing at first, become extremely annoying by the end. I would much rather he read solely in his native British accent, preferring to imagine that I was being told the story by the author, himself from the UK.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mikkel
  • 2015-11-11

Mostly a high level view

I had hoped, that the book would be more like Stephen Ambrose's books from World War 2. That is not the case. It's taking a higher level approach, with less focus on the combat and experience of the men.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jordan Schneider
  • 2015-03-28

Strong mil-focused history of Korean War

Deft handling of military and political aspects, but a little weak on politics and lacks post-ussr fall docs. Aside from that doesn't feel all that dated and he takes advantage of when he wrote it to conduct interviews with lots of different voices. could have gone a bit deeper militarily. Pow chapter of Koreans held in the aouth fascinating. Good job weaving in different non-elite voices and from multiple sides. Would've loved to learn more about Turkish fighters. Worthy war in the end, particularly given how ROK has been able to thrive, important to see relative morality when defending flawed regime that's better than alternative. But enough with the Uk analysis can do no wrong.
Not a brilliant work, but good research and interviews went into it. Mac portrait good and concise, not much on us high politics. Good on characterizing how societies were responding to the war, perspective from everyday Americans and uk. Odd to think that uk in 1950 saw itself a first rate power, empire would last for awhile was operating assumption. Have to always be contextualizj get, imagining what is the recent history of the subjects, get a sense of their historical and political frame of references.

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  • JxL
  • 2015-02-26

well-rounded & thoughtful

this is a well-rounded and thoughtful survey of the American and English experience in the Korean War. the narrator sought to enliven quotations with his imitations of the various accents of the speakers, which I could have lived without; but I can't suggest a better way to signal the beginnings and endings of quoted material, so even that I got used to. Hastings I have grown accustomed to enjoying and respecting.

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  • Rev. James Fowler
  • 2018-11-15

Interesting History

An interesting interpretation and story. But the author's dislike for America was obvious and reinforced by his biased examples and interviews with non-Americans.

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  • James Walker
  • 2021-03-23

Like his book on vietnam, a truly gratifying, educational, introspective, and all encompassing experience

While the book is a bit dated at this point, it provides the most essential account of the Korean War. It bears some resemblances in narrative structure to Tradegy, such as focusing on the experiences of pows and the airmen by about the 2/3 or 3/4 point, which isn’t bad just something I noticed. Also like Tragedy, the last chapter is an almost awe-inspiring exercise in reflection, summary, introspection and making you feel like you understand the conflict as well as most historians. Has made me think twice about my views on Communism, and the best use of limited warfare.

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  • Ozyman Jones
  • 2020-06-28

Good coverage of an almost forgotten war.

Always entertaining and informative, stacked with interesting facts. There are a great many stories and asides that fill in the human side of the conflict. Well read and never boring, for this listener.