The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

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The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War
Author David Halberstam
Country United States
Language English
Subject Korean War, 1950–1953 – United States
Genre History
Published September 25, 2007 (Hyperion Books, New York)
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages xi, 719 pp (first edition)
ISBN ISBN 1401300529
OCLC 137324872
951.904/240973
LC Class DS919 .H35 2007

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War is a book published after the death of the author David Halberstam. The book, written more than half a century after the Korean War, looks at the war from a different perspective than previously written works on the war by various authors.

Other books on the Korean War are usually straight military histories and focus on the battles, the military mistakes, the soldiers and airmen, the heroes and heroic actions, and other military-related issues of the war. This book covers the major battles of the winter in 1950-51, but most of the chapters cover the politics and national leaders in the USA, the USSR, China, and North and South Korea. Halberstam writes many pages building up to the sacking of Douglas MacArthur by President Truman. He explains the delay and the reasons why MacArthur had to go. Indeed, a fair characterization of this part of the book would be that it seeks to reduce as much as possible the status of MacArthur as an American general, portraying him as a man dominated largely by fantasy, and unwilling or unable to respond to the situation on the ground. Halberstam also comments on the efforts of Stalin to continue the war, even at the expense of China, the Soviet Union's then ally, and the United States.

Quotes pay homage to an earlier Korean War author T. R. Fehrenbach, and The Coldest Winter mentions Fehrenbach's combat experience, something that Fehrenbach never mentions for himself in his seminal work, This Kind of War.