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From Pusan to Panmunjom: Wartime Memoirs of the Republic of Korea’s First Four-Star General, by Paik Sun Yap

McLean: Brassey’s 1999. Pp. xvi, 269. Illus, maps, index. $17.95 paper. ISBN:1-57488-202-3.

General Paik, who commanded the ROK 1st Division for most of the early part of the war, and then went on to command a corps and eventually become chief-of-staff of the ROK army, has written a different kind of account of the Korean War, one which puts the Koreans at the heart. Most of the troops who defended the Republic of Korean in 1950-1953, were South Koreans, who did much better than one would think from the standard accounts of the war, which always devote most of their space to American forces, and certainly more to the Turks or the British than to the Koreans.

From Pusan to Panmunjom is a combat history. Paik tells the story of his men and their war, men who, according to the Red Chinese, displayed “more fighting spirit” than did the Americans. It’s an important story, and Paik tells it quite well. Although extremely valuable for anyone with an interest in the Korean War, this volume is likely to be of value to anyone with an interest in military history.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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