The War for Korea, 1950-1951
They Came from the North
Allan R. Millett
Harry S. Truman Book Award
In The War for Korea, 1945-1950: A House Burning, one of our most distinguished military historians argued that the conflict on the Korean peninsula in the middle of the twentieth century was first and foremost a war between Koreans that began in 1948. In the second volume of a monumental trilogy, Allan R. Millett now shifts his focus to the twelve-month period from North Korea's invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, through the end of June 1951—the most active phase of the internationalized "Korean War."
“Recommended for all historians of the Cold War or of Korea.”
“A meticulously researched narrative ... the author’s writing is a model of clarity . . . first-rate scholarship.”
—ParametersSee all reviews...
“Millett blends battlefield operations and tactics with Cold War geopolitics, strategy, and civil-military relations, furnishing an extensive treatment of the contributions and challenges of integrating naval and air power with ground troops of the United Nations command and demonstrating the important role of Korean support services. His discussion of the performance of the South Korean forces is excellent.”
—China Review International
“This book and the larger trilogy will be an absolutely indispensable resource for scholars of the Korean War and the Cold War in general. Millet’s annotated bibliography of the secondary literature and archival sources is comprehensive in scope, spanning the earliest primary sources to the most recent revelations and revisions. His exquisite documentation of declassified archival sources is particularly valuable for students and scholars alike. . . . Millet’s strengths are his remarkable talent for personalizing the war, in particular illustrating intimate details of various high and low-profile Americans involved, as well as his keen ability to see more in the archival documents than the authors of the documents themselves.”
—Journal of Asian Studies
“Distinguished historian Allen Millett . . . combines military operations with high-level command and policy to analyze a period in the war when so much was at stake. . . . When Millett writes, the result is always worth reading, and this is no exception.”
—Proceedings (of the U.S. Naval Institute)
“This is one of those books that invite words such as magisterial, authoritative, and definitive. Millett provides a record of events in clear and measured prose, with full regard for context and personalities; the interplay between the local and the international as well as the military and diplomatic; and the details of battle and the broad sweep of the campaign.”
“Millett easily shifts between the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of warfare and does not eschew high politics and diplomacy. . . . Millett superbly integrates national points of view into his narrative, not concentrating on the action of a single country at the expense of the others. As befits a careful scholar, his notes offer insights about the sources as he explains a subject's historiography and how he differentiates between views. In addition, Millett includes a lengthy bibliographic essay in which he discusses his research and how it fits into Korean War historiography. His judgments are as judicious as his style is felicitous. This volume, along with its companion, will repay the time it takes to read. When completed, the triology will be this generation’s standard work on the war.”
“For those who have anticipated this book for five years, let me cut to the chase: The wait was worth it: read this book! . . . An unparalleled inquiry into the reasons things happened the way they did during the Korean War’s first year.”
“Exhaustive documentation, plentiful maps and photographs, and a scholarly bibliographic essay will make this an indispensable purchase at four-year and graduate school libraries. Essential.”
“An extraordinarily thoughtful, provocative, and detailed narrative of how the conflict on the peninsula evolved from a ‘local war’ into a major military confrontation between the United States and Communist China, and how it remained a ‘limited war.’ It further confirms Millett’s position as the world’s leading scholar of military history in general and the Korean War history in particular.”
—Chen Jian, author of China’s Road to the Korean War
“Millett’s gripping story vividly captures the most dynamic period of the war. . . . Essential reading for those who would understand this conflict.”
—Colonel (Ret.) Donald W. Boose, Jr., author of U.S. Army Forces in the Korean WarSee fewer reviews...
Moving deftly between the battlefield and the halls of power, Millett weaves together military operations and tactics without losing sight of Cold War geopolitics, strategy, and civil-military relations. Filled with new insights on the conflict, his book is the first to give combined arms its due, looking at the contributions and challenges of integrating naval and air power with the ground forces of United Nations Command and showing the importance of Korean support services. He also provides the most complete, and sympathetic, account of the role of South Korea's armed forces, drawing heavily on ROK and Korea Military Advisory Group sources.
Millett integrates non-American perspectives into the narrative—especially those of Mao Zedong, Chinese military commander Peng Dehuai, Josef Stalin, Kim Il-sung, and Syngman Rhee. And he portrays Walton Walker and Matthew Ridgway as the heroes of Korea, both of whom had a more profound understanding of the situation than Douglas MacArthur, whose greatest flaw was not his politics but his strategic and operational incompetence.
Researched in South Korean, Chinese, and Soviet as well as American and UN sources, Millett has exploited previously ignored or neglected oral history collections-including interviews with American and South Korean officers—and has made extensive use of reports based on interrogations of North Korean and Chinese POWs. The end result is masterful work that provides both a gripping narrative and a greater understanding of this key conflict in international and American history.