The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam
America and the Korean War

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Synopsis

"In a grand gesture of reclamation and remembrance, Mr. Halberstam has brought the war back home."
--The New York Times

David Halberstam's magisterial and thrilling The Best and the Brightest was the defining book about the Vietnam conflict. More than three decades later, Halberstam used his unrivaled research and formidable journalistic skills to shed light on another pivotal moment in our history: the Korean War. Halberstam considered The Coldest Winter his most accomplished work, the culmination of forty-five years of writing about America's postwar foreign policy.

Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu River and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures-Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. At the same time, Halberstam provides us with his trademark highly evocative narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order. As ever, Halberstam was concerned with the extraordinary courage and resolve of people asked to bear an extraordinary burden.

The Coldest Winter is contemporary history in its most literary and luminescent form, providing crucial perspective on every war America has been involved in since. It is a book that Halberstam first decided to write more than thirty years ago and that took him nearly ten years to complete. It stands as a lasting testament to one of the greatest journalists and historians of our time, and to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicles.
 

About David Halberstam

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David Halberstam was one of America's most distinguished journalists and historians. After graduating from Harvard in 1955, he covered the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, then was sent overseas by the New York Times to report on the war in Vietnam. The author of fifteen bestsellers, including The Best and the Brightest, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting at the age of thirty. He was killed in a car accident on April 23, 2007, while on his way to an interview for what was to be his next book.
 
Published September 25, 2007 by Hachette Books. 744 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Coldest Winter

Kirkus Reviews

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Ignoring Washington’s suggestions to stop at the 38th parallel, MacArthur pushed north toward the Chinese border, despite good intelligence that Chinese units were pouring south.

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The New York Times

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“In a way that few understood at the time,” he writes, “it was a kind of giant antiwar rally, not just anti-Korean War, but probably anti-cold war as well, a reflection of a kind of national frustration with a conflict that was so unsatisfying and distant and gray and brought so little in the way...

Sep 26 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

The New York Times

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War in Korea was provoked by “a colossal gaffe” — the failure of Secretary of State Dean Acheson in a routine speech to include non-Communist South Korea in America’s Asian “defense perimeter.” That oversight caused a reluctant Stalin to unleash North Korea’s army for what Kim promised would be a...

Sep 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

The New York Times

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David Halberstam’s last book, a study of the Korean War, is directed simultaneously to battle buffs and pacifists, history enthusiasts and political moralists.

Sep 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

Publishers Weekly

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Reviewed by James Brady At the heart of David Halberstam's massive and powerful new history of the Korean War is a bloody, losing battle fought in November 1950 in the snow-covered mountains of North Korea by outnumbered American GIs and Marines against the Chinese Communist Army.

Jul 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

Star Tribune

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A well-researched, understandable and gripping history of the Korean War that equals or bests anything written on the topic so far.

Sep 26 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

Book Reporter

At times, the analyses --- such as how much family pressure MacArthur, the son of an admirable, if not outrageously successful, military man, had working for or against him (depending on one's point of view) --- seem way out of proportion to the overall history of the war.

Sep 25 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

AV Club

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In The Coldest Winter: America And The Korean War, Halberstam examines that change, suggesting that the Korean War's mistakes rolled back American confidence and established a pattern of strategic miscalculation that continued throughout the Cold War.

Oct 18 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

The Telegraph

In the early hours of June 25 1950, half a million North Korean Communist troops poured across the 38th parallel into South Korea, launching one of the most savage conflicts of the 20th century.

Aug 16 2008 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

USA Today

The Coldest Winter, the Korean War book David Halberstam finished just days before his death, is worth reading not because it's particularly well written it's too long and too wordy but because it's history that helps us understand the present.Consider Harry Truman, president when communist Nor...

Oct 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

Bookmarks Magazine

Stanley Weintraub Miami Herald 2 of 5 Stars "Unfortunately, in The Coldest Winter, Halberstam … simply cuts and pastes his analysis of Vietnam onto Korea: It was, he writes, simply one more chapter in a century-long series of American imperial adventures in Asia in which Washington mistook T...

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

Large Print Reviews

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War presents a masterful and readable account of the Korean War.

Oct 31 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

truthdig

You’re calling for black players, black managers and black money, which there’s been over 500 players to cash out a million dollars in this game.

Mar 09 2006 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

truthdig

The total number of votes counted by the machine must match the number of voters who have signed the the voting rolls.

Jan 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

truthdig

“Americans will believe anything we tell them - - .

Sep 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

The Wargamer

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam delivers a captivating read posthumously in The Coldest Winter.

Apr 12 2008 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter: America a...

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