Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 5, 2009
Robert Drury and Tom Clavin's "The Last Stand of Fox Company" is a superb account of a forgotten battle during the Korean War, at which 246 men held off thousands of Chinese Communist troops. Fighting in thirty below zero temperature, the vastly outnumbered Americans, using every manner of weapon at hand, stood their ground until a force of 500 cut a hole in Chinese lines, releaving the surviving members of Fox Company. As in their excellent, but somewhat derivative "Halsey's Typhoon." the authors list the names of the men of Fox Company, a painstaking effort that gives life to the men who fought in what is now known as American's "forgotten war."

At the famous battle of Thermopylae, at which the vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians, the famous "300" Spartans were, in actualty, joined by several thousand other Greek soldiers, whereas at "Fox Hill," there were no other troops besides the 246 Marine and Navy men against the Chinese hoards. We know now that these Chinese troops were originally members of the defeated Nationalist army who were used by Mao Tse Tung to fight in Korea. He didn't care how may of them died. Mao was determined for China to be a world power and for his Communist Party to be on an equal terms with Stalin's. Meanwhile, Stalin, who encouraged the invasion by the North Koreans and China's intervention, wanted to assert himself as the undisputed ruler of the Communist world. Most people don't remember, but it was Stalin's mistake of boycotting the Security Council, that led it to adopt a resolution calling for a United Nations force to repel the invasion of South Korean by North Korea. When the Soviets finally returned to veto any further support for the troops, Truman outmanoevered them by getting the General Assembly to adopt a "uniting for peace" resolution that enabled the United Nations force to fight on. The American forces were part of this United Nations effort to stop the Communist aggression and they fought under the United Nations banner.

As Drury and Clavin so brilliantly illustrate, the American troops fought valiantly, without regard to themselves, as most of them were cut down. Any military history of America would be incomplete without this magnificent book. How America has managed to produce such anonymous heroes in time of war is one of the great success stories of the country, and it is to Drury and Clavin's great credit that they recount this story of a battle that helped turn the tide in Korea, giving a face to each of those who fought. I would suggest that after reading this outstanding book, one should visit the Korean War Memorial in Washington. It is unlike any other memorial in the nation's capital. What you will see is a battlefield, with American troops, realistic statues, in combat mode in the mist. It is positively eerie, but also appropriate, as it reminds us of the conditions in which they fought. War is indeed hell, as Sherman told us, and nowhere is this reality more accurately portrayed than in "The Last Stand at Fox Hill."
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