Thursday 17 December 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books - THE EDGE OF THE SWORD by Anthony Farrer-Hockley

Well, this is the final Friday's Forgotten Book of 2009.
Next year will be the 70th anniversaries of various events of World War 2.
Also it will be the 60th Anniversary of that 'forgotten' war known as The Korean War.
That is what 'THE EDGE OF THE SWORD' is about. Although, the story in this book is fact, Anthony Farrer-Hockley writes this book in such a way that it is like reading a rivetting novel.
The opening part of the book involves the role played by the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment - known as the Glorious Glosters.
It follows the battle that took place between 22nd April 1951 to the 25th April 1951 leading up to the Glosters' last stand on Hill 235 while defending the eastern crossing of the Imjin River. The battle itself was epic in scale. By the time orders came through to pull back Hill 235 was surrounded by the Chinese army.
This last stand not only ensured that the Belgian and American forces fell back on a prepared UN line but that the road to Seoul was firmly shut against the advancing Chinese Army.
Eventually, the hill fell to the Chinese and the survivors of the Glosters were taken prisoner. From here on Anthony Farrer-Hockley tells of the dreadful conditions; the interrogations in the Pyongyang Political Prison where he underwent
with other, pyschological treatment aimed at capturing the mind and spirit as well as the body. Also life with the Chinese both in the camp and outside of it. For Farrer-Hockley made several amazing and gripping escape attempts.
The Battle Of The Imjin River earned the Glorious Glosters two Victoria Crosses, a George Cross and several D.S.Os. And a Unit Citatation from the US Army.
From a quiet opening, the lull before the hectic scenes of battle to the tension of the escape attempts this book, rarely, lets the reader take a pause.
One of the best books about the Korean War.


pattinase (abbott) said...

And I know so little about it compared to other 20th century wars.

Evan Lewis said...

Same here, Patti. It usually takes some good historical fiction to get me interested.

Rick said...

What a great review! I'm buying this book tonight. Thanks.