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Ghost Flames

Life and Death in a Hidden War, Korea 1950-1953

Charles J. Hanley



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Hodder & Stoughton
27 October 2020
Although it was then perceived as a far-off and inconclusive engagement, the Korean War was a highly consequential and deeply destructive conflict. American forces dropped 635,000 tons of bombs over Korea --- more than the entire Pacific campaign of World War II --- and millions of Koreans perished. Today, mass graves still litter the countryside and two nuclear-armed forces stand at odds.

In Ghost Flames, Charles Hanley adds new color and urgency by telling the history of the war through the eyes of twenty individuals --- soldiers and civilians, male and female, young and old, witnesses both to atrocity and to heroism. The narrative unfolds in interwoven episodes, month by month, from the hilltop trench lines, the refugee camps and the prisoner-of-war camps.

In time for the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the war, Hanley offers a people's history of the devastating events on the Korean Peninsula.
By:   Charles J. Hanley
Imprint:   Hodder & Stoughton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 164mm,  Spine: 48mm
Weight:   820g
ISBN:   9781541768178
ISBN 10:   1541768175
Pages:   528
Publication Date:   27 October 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Charles J. Hanley has reported from some 100 countries in his four-decade career at the Associated Press. His reporting on the No Gun Ri massacre of South Korean refugees in the hands of the U.S. military won him a Pulitzer Prize and Polk Award among other honors, and yielded his 2001 book, The Bridge at No Gun Ri. An expert on the Korean War, he regularly lectures and contributes scholarship on the conflict in academic journals. He lives in New York City.

Reviews for Ghost Flames: Life and Death in a Hidden War, Korea 1950-1953

PRAISE FOR THE BRIDGE AT NO GUN RI [A] truly heart-wrenching tale of survival and heroism...This is an inspiring book -- storytelling at its very, very best. Read it. --Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way [I]n a class to stand with such work as Hersey's Hiroshima and Keneally's Schindler's List...Powerful history. --Sydney Schanberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Death and Life of Dith Pran, basis of the film The Killing Fields A wrenching story. --Kirkus Reviews (starred) This account, expanded from their Pulitzer Prize-winning reportage, raises questions about military preparedness and civilian involvement that are as relevant today as they were a half a century ago. --The New Yorker A sober and absorbing account of a very dark chapter in American military history...Meticulously researched, scrupulously fair, and exceptionally well-written...Fine reading and fine history. --Rick Atkinson, author of The Long Gray Line Through the prism of twenty different lives - from a child, a solider, a journalist - Hanley gives us an immensely moving portrait of a war that has still not yet ended. With its unblinking and evocative storytelling of the experiences of those who often go nameless in American accounts of the war, Ghost Flames is unlike any other book on the Korean War. It is, in essence, a close and intimate story of the first US war of intervention in the Cold War era, one that forces us to examine the violent wake of wars the United States has generated since. Building from his previous award-winning journalism on civilian massacres committed by the US military, Hanley raises the urgent question of why the Korean War is forgotten in the United States and reveals the enormous costs that have come with this constant forgetting. --Monica Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of History New York University The stories of twenty people who lived through the Korean War are told with such skill that I grew to care about every one of them. Ghost Flames is an unforgettable depiction of the effect of war on ordinary people, and a stunning achievement. --Linda Sue Park, NYTimes bestselling author and Newbery Medalist Hanley's genius is to tell this remarkable story from the perspective of twenty very different participants--ranging from a general to a grunt, from a refugee to a p.o.w. By deep reportorial digging and gripping in-the-moment narration, he has woven together the saga--sometimes heroic, often disturbing--of an enigmatic war as it really was. --Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and Ike's Bluff Hanley paints an extraordinary portrait of the war's complexity and devastation. This is an essential account of America's forgotten war. --Publishers Weekly Starred Review Charles Hanley has written a people's history of the Korean War, a fascinating, illuminating and highly readable work that opens a new window on the experiences of ordinary people in a critically important, but mostly unknown, war. His narrative is unflinching in recounting the war's horrors, the crimes by all sides. Readers will learn much that is entirely new. --Bruce Cumings, Swift Distinguished Service Professor of History, University of Chicago, author of The Korean War: A History An extraordinary kaleidoscope of human experiences in a catastrophic forgotten war. --Library Journal Starred Review A masterly new history...the accretion of astounding detail makes for a vivid, multilayered look at a deeply complicated war in which few emerged as heroic. A top-notch addition to the literature on the Korean War. --Kirkus Reviews (starred) Ghost Flames is a masterful, often brutal representation of the Korean War. Readers with a limited knowledge of the conflict will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities cast upon ordinary people, from the soldiers who fought to the civilians trying to escape. This historical account revitalizes old memories and provides an outlet for healing from the traumatic events suffered by the victims. It leaves the reader with the unmistakable realization that this unpopular war should not be forgotten. --Coffee or Die

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