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Review: This Kind of War: The Classic Military History of the Korean War

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This Kind of War: The Classic Military History of the Korean War
This Kind of War: The Classic Military History of the Korean War by T.R. Fehrenbach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Kind of War: The Classic Military History of the Korean War (Kindle Edition) is a very interesting read. Written just 10 years after the armistice that brought an end to the fighting of the Korean War, it is a look at the war unfiltered through the lens of the remainder of the Cold War. It isn’t just a military history of the war either, Fehrenbach also looks at the politics of the Korean War – both US domestic politics and between the US, its allies, and Communist countries. I like how he tells the story of the Korean War; he looks at the war from the perspective of command staff, line officers, and enlisted men, including one who became a prisoner of war. He tells the story of the Korean War as part of the beginning of the Cold War and how the war turned the fortunes of the players involved. Although he never mentions it Fehrenbach served in Korea, but you can tell he came away from his experience in the war with a bad taste in his mouth. He clearly points out what he believes were the failures of both the military and the civilian leadership.

This Kindle edition, however, suffers from two flaws. The first and most glaring is the editing of the digital edition. In a word, the editing is horrendous. The are frequent misspellings and wrong words that stop you in your tracks and make you think about what the author intended to be on the page, not what is actually appearing on the page. It goes beyond a minor annoyance to the point of being a distraction. The second flaw is a lack of maps; understanding movements, whether on an Army or Corps scale or on a Company or Platoon scale, maps are important in helping to understand movements on the battlefield and the flow of a battle. I don’t know whether these flaws are part of the print edition, but they are definitely found in the Kindle edition.

I’ve settled on a rating of four stars because, despite the distraction of the poor editing and lack of maps, This Kind of War is still an excellent read. I give the editing two stars because of how distracting it is, but qive the content five stars because of how excellent of a read it is. Bottom line: this is an excellent read for anyone interested in the Korean War or the Cold War, whether you’re well read on the subjects or not.

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