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Valleys of Death: A Memoir of the Korean Warby Bill Richardson
Synopses & Reviews
The Green Beretsandmdash;a legendary corps of soldiers whose exploits made military history. But now, their very identity and role as a fighting force may be forever changedandhellip;
Until the war in Iraq, Special Forces were the militaryandrsquo;s counterinsurgency experts. Their specialty was going behind enemy lines and training insurgent forces. In Afghanistan, they toppled the Taliban by transforming Northern Alliance fighters into cohesive units.
But in the almost nine years since, Special Forces units have forgone their previous mission, instead focusing on offensive raids. With time running short, the Green Berets are going back to their roots and have started to focus on training Afghan security forces and building an Afghan government one village at a time.
Award-winning journalist Kevin Maurer traveled with a Special Forces team in Afghanistan, finding out first hand the inside story of the lives of this elite group of highly trained soldiers. He witnessed the intense brotherhood built upon the Special Forcesandrsquo; rigorous selection process and arduous training that makes them the smartest soldiers on the battlefield. He also discovered the boredom of chasing an elusive enemy and managing third world cops and the infighting between teammates and other units.
Nine years after the start of the Afghan war, Maurer delivers a compelling account of modern warfare and of a fighting force that is doing everything in its power to achieve victory on a complex twenty-first century battlefield.
"Richardson looks back at the 1950s when he was a master sergeant with the First Cavalry Division in Korea. After U.S. Army occupation duty from 1946 to 1950 in Italy, Germany, and Austria, and the U.N. vote to defend South Korea, he was reassigned to Fort Devens, Mass., to train recruits in weaponry. Shortly after arriving in Taegu, South Korea, their battalion was subjected to North Korean attacks. He recalls both fear and acts of bravery amid the deafening explosions, flying shrapnel, mortar and artillery fire, mass slaughter, bodies lying in piles, and the stunned reaction after a message dropped from a plane: 'We were on our own. No relief column was on its way... and if we stayed in this hellhole we would all die.' The final third of the book details his torture and starvation during 34 months as a POW, concluding with a short summary of his later military career. Aided by journalist Maurer, Richardson never pulls his punches in these vivid descriptions of bloody combat action, interrupted by occasional flashbacks to his youth on the streets of Philadelphia Photos, maps. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Book News Annotation:
Richardson, a career military man who served as a master sergeant during the Korean War, and co-author and war correspondent Maurer, who worked as an embedded journalist in both Afghanistan and Iraq, share Richardson's recollections of his experiences in deadly battles and almost three years as a POW. The book will interest readers of military history and others who want to learn more about a war for which relatively little has been written. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Valleys of Death" is a stirring story of survival and determination that offers a fascinating, intimate look at the soldiers who fought in America's first battle of the Cold War, told in the unvarnished words of one of their own.
In a remote, enemy-held valley in Afghanistan, a Special Forces team planned to scale a steep mountain to surprise and capture a terrorist leader. But before they found the target, the target found themandhellip;
The team was caught in a deadly ambush that not only threatened their lives, but the entire mission. The elite soldiers fought huddled for hours on a small rock ledge as rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-gun fire rained down on them. With total disregard for their own safety, they tended to their wounded and kept fighting to stay alive. When the battle finally ended, ten soldiers had earned Silver Starsandmdash;the Armyandrsquo;s third highest award for combat valor. It was the most Silver Stars awarded to any unit in one battle since Vietnam.
Based on dozens of interviews with those who were there, No Way Out is a compelling narrative of an epic battle that not only tested the soldiersandrsquo; mettle but serves as a cautionary tale. Be careful what you ask a soldier to do because they will die trying to accomplish their mission.
"Richardson never pulls his punches in these vivid descriptions." --Publishers Weekly
Caught in the Chinese counterattack at Unsan-one of the deadliest American battles of the Cold War Era-Colonel Bill Richardson led an Alamo like defense of the few survivors before being taken prisoner. The North Koreans marched them through sub-zero weather without food, shelter, or medical attention to the area known as Death Valley. Enduring torture designed to break the mind and body, Richardson remained strong enough to lead his fellow prisoners in resistance, sabotage, and new plans for escape.
Valleys of Death is a stirring story of survival and determination, an intimate look at the soldiers who fought America's first battle of the cold war in the unvarnished words of one of their own.
About the Author
Colonel William (Bill) Richardson, U.S.A. (Ret.) and his wife Claire have been married for 56 years and have five children. They live in North Carolina. Kevin Maurer is an award-winning reporter who also lives in North Carolina.
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