Graybeards - Korean War Veterans Association

Graybeards - Korean War Veterans Association

Book Review

Patience is a virtue—except when it

comes to waiting for book reviews

in our magazine. That is to be


If there is one thing the KWVA is not

short of, it is authors. Many of our members

publish their memoirs, accounts of specific

battles in the Korean War, unit histories,

generic histories of the war, novels….in

short, they produce a variety of books in

large numbers. Each author has pride of

authorship and wants to share his or her

thoughts with as many people as possible,

i.e., sell books.

One of the best ways to sell books is

through positive book reviews. So, the

Korean War authors submit their books to us

in hopes that we will provide a review. That

is fine. We do publish book reviews occasionally.

The key word there is “occasionally.”

Astute readers of The Graybeards will

recognize that not every issue includes a

book review, because we do not always have

the space.

The Book Reviewer’s Job

Let me explain the book reviewer’s

“job”—and why I don’t do book reviews.

The latter is simple: I am too close to the

KWVA authors to be objective. Therefore, I

need an objective outsider to review books,

one who will do the “job” out of the goodness

of her heart for Korean War

veterans/authors. So, here is a bit about our

“Staff Book Reviewer.”

• Our book reviewer is a volunteer—and

a highly qualified one at that. (She has an

EdD degree, i.e. a doctorate degree in education.)

• She does a review only when I ask her

to—which is when I have space available.

• Our reviewer does not receive any compensation,

except for the “thanks” she

receives from grateful authors whose books

she reviews.

So, if you would like your book reviewed,

send us a copy. We will be happy to get to it

as space permits. All we ask is that you be

patient. Yours is not the only book we have to

review. And, remember, patience is a virtue.

An Alternative To A Review

If you cannot wait for a review, there is an

alternative. Place a paid ad in our magazine.

Many writers have done that and, by all

accounts, have gotten good results. Contact

our Advertising Manager, Frank Bertulis (see

p. 2), for our ad rates.


As I mentioned earlier, we will try to

reduce our “to be reviewed” backlog through

a series of “mini-reviews.” Here are the first

of them.

Adversaries for a Common Cause.

Farinacci, Donald. Truman and


Bennington, VT, Merriam Press, 2010. 259 pp.,

ISBN: 978-0-557-40902-0

This book is an

excellent treatment

of the political


between and

among military

and civilian leaders

during the Korean

War, specifically

President Harry S.

Truman and

General Douglas

MacArthur. Farinacci examines the root

causes of the rift between the two and their

supporters, how they affected the conduct of

the war, public opinion regarding the men,

etc. He interweaves detailed descriptions of

some of the turning points of the war from its

onset until March 1951, when Truman finally

relieved MacArthur of his duties.

Farinacci goes well beyond the “here is

what happened” aspect of the tug-of-war

between Truman and MacArthur. He digs

deep to establish why it happened—and why

it could not have been avoided. Farinacci

explains through crystal-clear analysis how

their inability to work together affected the

other players in the drama, e.g., Almond,

Ridgway, O. P. Smith, Dean Acheson, and

the rest of the cast seeking a positive outcome

from the Korean War.

The real value of the book lies in

Farinacci’s “asides,” in which he focuses on

key points of the war that are often ignored

by Korean War scholars, e.g., the battles of

Chip’yong-ni and Wonju. And, he just drops

in the reference to the UN’s offer to “hand

over Formosa to Communist China if it

would agree to a Korean settlement (p.

208).” Farinacci leaves it to the reader to follow

up on such statements. Serious students

of the war will do just that—but not until

they have read the rest of Truman and

MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common

Cause, which is well worth the time and


Fire For Effect! Artillery Forward

Observers in Korea.

Sobieski, Anthony J.

Bennington, VT, authorhouse, 2005. 259 pp. ISBN




wants to learn

about the role of

artillery in the

Korean War can

start with this book.

The author knows

whereof he speaks.

He was an artilleryman

with over 34

years of service. His

father served in the Korean War with the

Second Infantry Division. Their combined

backgrounds provide an excellent backdrop

for the book.

Actually, it’s two books. The first part

provides a primer on the role of Forward

Observers and a plethora of definitions related

to their work. As Sobieski wrote, “To help

understand the role of artillery and specifically

of the Forward Observer in Korea, the

need for a general understanding of the

knowledge required by the Artillery Forward

Observer is given below.” That sets the stage.

He complements that intro with a list of U.S.

Army and Marine Corps artillery battalions

and associated units that served in the

Korean War, most of which are covered by at

least one interview in the following chapters.

The following chapters are the crux of the


If anyone ever had any illusions about the

dangers FOs faced in Korea, Sobieski dispels

them. Rather, the narrators do. They tell

some harrowing stories about their jobs,

which include some interesting observations.

Readers will learn, for example, that

Ethiopian troops were promised “a place and

Continued on page 79


The Graybeards

September – October 2010

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