The next couple of books I will be reviewing pertain to the “Forgotten War” – the Korean War. I think that the Korean War could have been called that a few years ago, but I think that more books have been published recently on the War (David Halberstam’s book brought much-needed attention to the War). Within the study of the Korean War, some subjects have been studied and written about more than others – Inchon and Chosin mainly. As a result, authors who want to write in these areas must dig deeper and write about smaller incidents or units. Such is the case with Patrick O’Donnell’s Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story–The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company.
George Company, part of the First Marine Regiment, was one of the many units that were activated at the start of the Korean War. It had a core of active Marines, but was filled in mainly with active and inactive reserve Marines. Many of the men called up were either rushed through training or received no training at all. The active Marines had to train the others on the ship on the way to Japan and then Korea.
After departing Japan, the company, as part of the First Marines, landed at Inchon and fought to retake Seoul. The First Marines was then transferred to the east coast of North Korea and helped to drive the North Korean Army toward China until they were attacked by the Chinese.
O’Donnell combines excellent research with wonderful writing. Based on the interviews of George Company veterans, O’Donnell tells the compelling story of this group of men. They, like so many other Korean War veterans, endured so much for their country without being recognized for their actions. These men were common Marines who were called upon to do uncommon actions.
O’Donnell’s writing captures the spirit of the men of George Company. They were commanded by officers, but led by First Sergeant Rocco Zullo. O’Donnell writes of how Zullo did everything within his power to kill as many of the enemy and keep his men alive at the same time. His personal leadership kept the company intact a number of times.
As I have become more well-versed in a subject, I have found myself gravitating more to books that are about smaller units rather than ones on a war as a whole. Reading about the ground pounders in their own words in many cases is much more interesting. O’Donnell fits this style of writing perfectly. You get a better feel of what it was like to be fighting the enemy in places like in the frozen mountains of the Chosin area.