Thursday, April 17, 2014


This is your chance to be very interactive with the blog, as being a new Korean War student, I am asking for your suggestions for the various resources that you find useful.  These resources can be websites, books, movies...whatever you find to be good material on the Korean War.  Leave your suggestions in the comments and I will add them accordingly.


Overall Studies

Formidable Enemies - Kevin Mahoney
Korean War Almanac - Harry Summers
The Korean War (Korea Insitute of Military History)
The War for Korea - The House Burning (1945-1950) - Allan Millet
The War for Korea - They Came From the North (1950-1951) - Allan Millet
United States Army Official Histories

Battle Studies

Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950 - Martin Russ
Colder Than Hell - Joseph R. Owen
Fire Brigade: U.S. Marines in the Pusan Perimeter - John C. Chapin
Into the Breach at Pusan - Kenneth Estes
Marine Tank Battles in Korea - Oscar Gilbert
The Last Stand of Fox Company - Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Air War

Combat Over Korea - Philip Chinnery
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 4th Fighter Wing - Warren Thompson
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing - Warren Thompson
F-86 Sabre vs. MiG-15 - Dildy & Thompson
F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War - Warren Thompson
F9F Panther/Cougar in Action - Jim Sullivan
Famous Aircraft: The F-86 Sabre - R.J. Childerhose
Korean War Aces - Dorr, Lake, & Thompson
North American F-86A-L Sabre in USAF and Foreign Service - McDowell & Ward
Soviet MiG-15 Aces of the Korean War - Krylov & Tepsurkaev
USN/USMC Over Korea - Thomas E. Doll
The United States Air Force in Korea - Robert F. Futrell


Commentary on Infantry Operations and Weapons Usage in Korea - Winter of 1950-51
Korean War Gallery - National Museum of the United States Air Force
Korean War Project


  1. well,

    as general histories are concerned, you need to list the two (hopefully soon, three) books from Allan Millet: The War for Korea: The House Burning (1945-1950); The War for Korea, They Came from the North (1950-1951). Both are published from Kansas University Press. Also you really need to list the US Army Official Histories. They are free in PDF from the Center of military History website. Seriously, you cannot start a book list on Korea without including them. The Marine Official History is also quite detailed, but, according to a former marine officer, Kenneth Estes, is unreliable in several parts. Another good, albeit not easily readable, are the three volume of the Korean Institute of Military History. The translation is not the best, but they have a wealth of captured document, often translated in full. It is the official ROKA version of the war, and it is worth reading. The USN official history is bad at the moment. I think something new is about to be published, but the current volume from Edward Marolda "Approaching Storm: Conflict in Asia, 1945–1965" is underwhelming (86 pages). Marolda did publish a single volume history in 2007 "the US Navy in the Korean War" that could be considered official, but is not free, because it was published by the Naval Institute rather than the USN... adding insult to injury all the other books about Korea from the Navy are out of print from the GPO and not available online with the exception of the 1962 history by James Field Junior available here:

    As much that bright people surrounding the CNO pretend to play with a super technological navy their history branch and their online historical publications are crappy. And that was told me by a USN Captain last week. Of all the services the USN has the worst history command.

    I will not recommend Hastings's book because is, in Sir Max tradition, poorly researched (also Halberstam one is not stellar).

    On Battle studies I would start from Kenneth Estes 'Into the Breach at Pusan'. Probably the most accurate history of the initial battles of the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade. On the commonwealth side the two books from Andrew Salmon, "to the last round" and "Scorched Earth, Black Snow". A good study of the use of tanks in Korea is Oscar Gilbert "Marine Tank Battles in Korea". If you like entertaining battle stories backed by USMC bravado and little else, Eric Hammel "Chosin" is readable, entertaining, and a true USMC epic, sadly it is also fantasy. USMC histories (except Millet who was a Marine officer before being an historian...) tend to blame everything on MacArthur and Almond. As much they did make several mistakes, Almond was instrumental in getting the 1st Marine out of Chosin. Actually according to Millet Almond shined in the black days and proved himself a good corps commander in the subsequent spring and summer battles. also t5he idea that the 1st Marine Division never served again under Almon after escaping Chosin is just a fancy story made up by Hammel...

    off of my minds these are the best books on Korea available (and also mentioned some of the worst, Hastings and Hammel) Everything is easily found on Amazon or other big online retailer, with the exception of the ROK official history. sometime you found it, sometime not.

    Anyway I gave you plenty of books to read also for free! Enjoy them. Got the US army official history on Korea just for the maps, the PDF version as the original big ones (like they do for the WW2 green books).

    1. Wow, what an amazing list! I had a copy of Hammel's Chosin years ago. I did enjoy reading it, but you are correct, it is filled with Marine bravado, maybe justifiably so, maybe not. But it was a good read even if there are factual holes.

      The official histories (the famous green books of World War Two) I had completely forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder!

      There are many books you have mentioned that I have not heard of, so off to Amazon to add to the wishlist.

      I've added most what you have mentioned above, except what you consider to be the worst. I'll have to do some searching on the Korean official history.

  2. I see you have The Last Stand of Fox Company. That was an amazing story, and great book. Another book to recommend would be Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950, by Martin Russ. It has been quite a while since I have read it, but it was good. I still remember reading his book Line of Departure: Tarawa, and how much that book made an impression on me.

    1. I'll have to check into that title, USMC...I think I had it years ago, and I know I have seen it numerous times in various bookstores over the years. I also ran across a copy of East of Chosin by Appleman, but didn't pick it up as my focus seems to be Marine driven.


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