D. Randall (David Randall) Beirne - The United States Army and the Korean War (review) - Journal of Military History 67:1 The Journal of Military History 67.1 (2003) 290-291

The United States Army and the Korean War. CD-ROM. Annapolis, Md.: U.S. Naval Institute, 2000. PIN 076812-000. Available through the Naval Institute web site www.usni.org or by calling 800-233-8764. $24.95 plus s&h. Free to veterans groups and Korean War commemorative organizations.

This CD-ROM, which comes in a four-disc set, is an excellent and convenient source for those doing historical research on the Korean War, America's "forgotten war." Disc one contains the three major military histories of the first year of the Korean War written by the Army Department of Military History. The authors had access to official Army records, most of them served in Korea, and they interviewed participants extensively. The books are Policy and Direction: The First Year, by James F. Schnabel; South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, by Roy Appleman; and Ebb and Flow, by Billy C. Mossman. Appleman does a good job of covering the United Nations' strong defense in 1950 of the Pusan Perimeter, the breakout and attack into North Korea to the Yalu River, and the entry of the Chinese and the mauling of Eighth Army. Mossman covers combat operations until July 1951.

Disc two contains the book Truce Tent and Fighting Front, by Walter G. Hermes; The Medics War, by Albert Cowdrey; and five monographs covering different aspects of the war. Hermes covers the last two years of the war and the diplomacy carried on by both sides. Cowdrey effectively treats the changes in medical support since World War II. Not only had drugs improved, but the helicopter became the workhorse in evacuating the wounded. In addition, Cowdrey discusses development of MASH units to get the medical aid stations as close as possible to the front lines. The five monographs are Combat Support in Korea, Combat Actions in Korea, KMAG in Peace and War, Black Soldier-White Army, and U.S. Army Mobilization and Logistics in the Korean War: A Research Approach.

Discs three and four cover all three years of the war by way of photographs and posters. Pictorial Korea, by Miller, Owen, and Tackley includes most of the famous photographs that people remember about the war, many by Al Chang. One of the military questions inherent in any book on the Korean War is, "Why after Inchon did MacArthur keep X Corps separate from Eighth Army?" General Matthew Ridgway in his book, The Korean War, makes this point very clear. He states that the Joint Chiefs of Staff questioned MacArthur's decision after the Chinese entered and suggested he "close the gap" between them and establish a continuous line. This question [End Page 290] is only partially answered in the books given as references.

Overall, the discs are an excellent source for anyone studying the war from a military point of view. Two books written after the war might have been included, to round out the sources, The River and Gauntlet, by S. L. A. Marshall, and MacArthur's War—Korea and the Undoing of An American Hero, by Stanley Weintraub. However, I would suggest that any scholar of the Korean War would also need to consult The Forgotten War, by Clay Blair; Korea, the First War We Lost, by Bevin Alexander; and Refighting the Last War—Command and Crisis in Korea 1950-1953, by D. Clayton James.


D. Randall Beirne
Baltimore, Maryland

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