3 out of 4 stars
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The period is 1966-1969 when four thousand soldiers are stationed on the Korean DMZ. Every day heightens their anxiety. The North Korean army is readying itself for an ambush in South Korea, their aim being to assassinate the South Korean president after crushing the line held by the American soldiers. The American soldiers, in turn, most of them just GIs and KATUSAs (ordinary soldiers), have been readying themselves for this day. The North Korean army is, however, a massive power force as compared to the American one. The events surrounding this war are recorded in Unremembered Victory by Dennis H. Klein. An important consideration to keep in mind is that if the American soldiers would have failed, the war fought on the DMZ could have easily grown to be a full-fledged world war. Their grit left a footprint on the land that they fought on and that can be witnessed today.
The best feature of the book is that it sheds light on a part of history that very few, probably too few, know about. With much focus being on the Vietnam War, Dennis H. Klein presents another war that was fought close by. The Korean War lies forgotten without any media recognition. No history books record the victorious actions of these ordinary soldiers who held their ground even when faced with certain death. Many Americans do not realize that such a war was even fought. The Korean War veterans upon returning home received no recognition, worse still, no one even knew about the victory they had attained.
Another great feature of the book is that the author breaks the narrative with poetic verses and song that add depth and flavor to the plot. Dennis H. Klein also includes quotes which reflect the soldiers’ feelings and their outlook. The words contained in the compositions display their relentless attitude even in desolate time.
Most importantly Klein instills the feeling of victory. He shows that even though the soldiers were just ordinary without any special rank, their attitude was enough for them to outwit the opposing side. The author highlights that even the most ordinary of men can do the most extraordinary things when they have a set focus. As proven by the events in the book, his quote, “We are a whole lot better than we are told” stands true.
The book contains a few structural mistakes such as repetition but overall, it is an engaging read that will be appreciated by every veteran who fought in the Korean War. Unremembered Victory by Dennis H. Klein is an informative read not only to lovers of history but to every American citizen. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
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