Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea.

AuthorMcCue, Joe
PositionBook review

Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea. By William Clark Latham, Jr. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012. Maps. Photographs. Notes. Appendix. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xiii, 30. $28.80 ISBN: 978-1-60344-073-8

William Latham is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who was an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College and is currently the course director at the U.S. Army Logistics University, Fort Lee, Virginia. His book is well worth reading, as he offers a synopsis of the Korean War and focuses on the conditions faced by American prisoners of war. He details Army unit movements and presents insights on the battles fought. Latham accumulated this in-depth knowledge via interviews with American soldiers who fought in Korea. The result of these is a work that speaks from personal experiences of those who did survive the war.

Korea is sometimes called "The Forgotten War." The basic sequence of events was the initial onslaught of the North Koreans across the demarcation line; the ensuing assault landing at Inchon; rapid movement of UN forces to the north of Korea; mass attacks by Chinese forces south across the Yalu River; two years of seesaw battles; and the final ceasefire agreement at the 38th parallel--where we sit today, some sixty years later. Latham describes the surprise of the initial North Korean onslaught to U.S. forces including Gen. MacArthur and the staff exchanges between him and Washington (President Truman and Joint Chiefs of Staff). He covers the flurry of messages concerning the northern push by UN forces including the reluctance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Inchon landing. The decision by MacArthur to bomb the Yalu River bridges (against the wishes of the Joint Chiefs) and everyone's surprise over the mass attack south of Chinese soldiers...

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