In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation

In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation
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The Americans Who Fought the Korean War

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Jack Goldstein


Jack Goldstein


Melinda L. Pash


NYU Press


  • اطلاعات
  • نقد و بررسی
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نقد و بررسی

Publisher's Weekly

October 22, 2012
Just five years after the end of WWII, an exhausted but prospering America found itself gearing up for another major conflict. The Korean War, history professor Pash notes,was fought by men and women who were cut from the same cloth as those who served during WWII, but were asked to fight a very different war. The U.S. government hurried to mobilize forces comprising volunteers, draftees, and Reserves, and the process from start to finish was a difficult one, battles notwithstanding: pre-combat training was intense, but often too short; the fighting in Korea was dominated by extreme heat and cold; and homecomings tended to be a solitary and lonely process, accompanied by little of the fanfare afforded WWII vets. Folks looking for insight into military strategy will be disappointed, but Pash’s focus on the individuals on the ground is illuminating; she is particularly effective at highlighting the important role of women in the war, as well as the successful battlefield-driven process of racial integration.


September 15, 2012
Who served during the Korean War? How did their wartime and postwar experiences differ from those of World War II veterans? Why did they sometimes come to see themselves as not measuring up to the Greatest Generation? In attempting to answer these questions, Pash (History/Fayetteville Technical Community Coll.) begins by examining who entered the service and why, what parts of the country they came from, how they accepted the call to serve, and how well they were trained for battle. Through interviews with Korean War veterans, the archives of the Eisenhower library, government documents and contemporary books and articles, the author constructs a portrait of the men and women who served in Korea. She reveals their attitudes once they were in Korea, where, as the war dragged on, troops came to question the reason for U.S. involvement and to understand that the American public had little knowledge of or interest in the conflict. She also looks at the experience of American POWs, who, upon their return, often faced questions of their possible brainwashing and collaboration with the enemy. Pash then briefly examines the situation of servicewomen, mostly nurses, and more extensively, the relations of black and white troops in the newly integrated armed forces. Manpower pressures had created a military life far less segregated than life at home, making the return to civilian life especially difficult for African-Americans, who faced continued discrimination. In general, Korean War veterans found that a hero's welcome was not to be, that veterans organizations like the American Legion excluded them, that the VA offered less help to the physically or psychologically damaged, and that the education benefits were less generous than those of World War II's GI Bill. Americans, it seemed, just wanted to forget about an inglorious war. Packed with facts, figures and anecdotes, the book doesn't entertain like M*A*S*H, but it does provide a wealth of source material for future historians.


Library Journal

October 15, 2012

The Korean War is often referred to as the "Forgotten War." Pash (history, Fayetteville Technical Community Coll.) describes the lives of Korean War veterans before, during, and after the war, examining the reasons they enlisted, their range of experiences, and the consequences of their service upon their lives. Her main argument is that the Great Depression and World War II created a culture among young Americans that prepared them to accept the sacrifices demanded of them during the Korean conflict. The author is particularly thorough in her examination of socioeconomic, gender, and race issues. VERDICT Although Pash doesn't make a strong case for her thesis on the influences upon these veterans, she presents fine descriptive analysis that's especially strong when discussing veterans' experiences during and after the war. Recommended for those with an interest in the war and its human dimensions, or for those new to the subject.--CH

Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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