Synopses & Reviews
In the fall of 1999, a team of Associated Press investigative reporters broke the news that U.S. troops had massacred a large group of South Korean civilians early in the Korean War. On the eve of that pivotal war's 50th anniversary, their reports brought to light a story that had been surpressed for decades, confirming allegations the U.S. military had sought to dismiss. It made headlines around the world.
In The Bridge at No Gun Ri, the team tells the larger, human story behind the incident through the eyes of the people who survived it. The American side, the green recruits of the "good time" U.S. army in Japan, was made up of teenagers who viewed unarmed farmers as enemies, and of generals who had never led men into battle. On the Korean side were peasant families forced to flee their ancestral village caught between the invading North Koreans and the U.S. Army. The narrative examines victims both Korean and American; the ordinary lives and high-level decisions that led to the fatal encounter; the terror of the three-day slaughter; and the memories and ghosts that forever haunted the survivors.
Based on extensive archival research and more than 500 interviews with U.S. veterans and Korean survivors, The Bridge at No Gun Ri is an extraordinary account of the tragic events of July 1950 that the world should never forget.
"A wrenching story. No one who reads it will question again why Korea is never evoked when our nation's military past is put on display." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"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] fascinating but gut-wrenching account of a tragedy." Jay Freeman, Booklist (starred review)
"This volume, with its focus on personal experience, is correspondingly best understood as advocacy reportage, eschewing critical analysis by concentrating on the victims on both sides of the rifles." Publishers Weekly
"[T]his book tells a grim but true story. The authors have done their research and tell an excellent tale one that the U.S. Army tried to forget." Library Journal
"[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")
"The Bridge at No Gun Ri is great journalism and scholarship and also a great read." Far Eastern Economic Review
"Your heart breaks for the refugees and soldiers....This is an inspiring book narrative history at its very best." Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way
"An even-handed and engrossing account." BookPage
About the Author
Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe
and Martha Mendoza
were awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for breaking the No Gun Ri story. Hanley is a special correspondent with the Associated Press International Desk in New York who has covered a half dozen wars over thirty years. He is a U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam. Choe is an Associated Press reporter in Seoul, South Korea. Also a military veteran, Choe received a special award for his No Gun Ri work from the Korean Journalists Association. Mendoza, the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University, is an Associated Press national reporter in San Jose, California, who has won numerous awards for her investigative work. Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft
, who was the fourth member of the Pulitzer team and contributed to this book, is an expert in public records and electronic research.
Table of Contents
Korea Map xi
The No Gun Ri Area Map xii
The U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, July 1950 xiii
The Korean Families xiv
Prologue: The End of the Road 1
Part I The Road to No Gun Ri 3
Part II The Bridge at No Gun Ri 117
Part III The Road from No Gun Ri 147
Epilogue and Notes on Sources 269
A Note on the Pentagon Report 285
A Survivors' Petition to President Clinton 289
No Gun Ri Victims List 291