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Retreat, Hell! (The Corps series) by [Griffin, W.E.B.]
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Retreat, Hell! (The Corps series) Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 524 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Megaseller Griffin (Honor Bound; Brotherhood of War; Men at War) musters another solid entry in his series chronicling the history of the U.S. Marines, now engaged in the Korean War. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, nicknamed El Supremo by his subordinates, is taken by surprise when the North Korean Army surges south across the 38th parallel. After early losses, he rallies his troops and stems the tide, but not for long. Intertwining stories of literally an army of characters reveal how MacArthur and his sycophantic staff overlook the entire Red Chinese Army, which is massed behind the Yalu River and about to enter the war. Brig. Gen. Fleming Pickering attempts to mediate the ongoing battles between feisty, give-'em-hell Harry Truman and the haughty MacArthur, while worrying about his pilot son, Malcolm "Pick" Pickering, who has been shot down behind enemy lines. The introduction of the Sikorsky H-19A helicopter into the war by Maj. Kenneth "Killer" McCoy and sidekick Master Gunner Ernie Zimmerman details the invention of tactics that will become commonplace in Vietnam. Readers looking for guts and glory military action will be disappointed, as barely a shot is fired in anger, but fans of Griffin's work understand that the pleasures are in the construction of a complex, big-picture history of war down to its smallest details: "There were two men in the rear seat, both of them wearing fur-collared zippered leather jackets officially known as Jacket, Flyers, Intermediate Type G-1." Veterans of the series will enjoy finding old comrades caught up in fresh adventures, while new-guy readers can easily enter here and pick up the ongoing story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Griffin is the author of five series, including Honor Bound, Brotherhood of War, The Corps, Badge of Honor, and Men at War--33 books for those readers who are still counting. In this latest book in The Corps, Griffin sets the action in Korea in 1950 during the war. The plot involves a disagreement between General Douglas MacArthur and Major Kenneth McCoy on just where the Chinese are waiting to engage U.S. troops. Another protagonist, General Fleming Pickering, is kept busy mediating the growing quarrel between MacArthur and President Truman. Pickering's son, a marine pilot, is missing after being shot down behind enemy lines. There are lots of other characters, all keen on destroying the bad guys. Like his other novels, this one is filled with military jargon and tough talk. The setting is worldwide: locales include South Korea, a neuropsychiatric ward in a San Diego naval hospital, Tokyo, Wake Island, the Sea of Japan, and the White House. There also are lots of top-secret memos and military abbreviations but not much suspense. In Griffin's novels, the good guys always win. However, the author has a knack for smoothly combining fact with fiction, giving his work a realistic veneer. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1744 KB
  • Print Length: 524 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (Dec 28 2004)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001A8FGFA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #94,012 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This was my first WEB Griffin novel and not having read any of the other Marine Corps series I found this was not a very good standalone book with too much background exposition required and pre-knowledge of the main characters. Set in post-Inchon landing Korea (fall 1950) we have a small group of clever CIA types working within the Marine Corps. For some reason I kept thinking of the over-the-top "Colonel Flagg" character in M*A*SH as a counterpoint... As a fact meets fiction story I found the conversations with and about actual people - Truman, MaCarthur, Al Haig (!), Gen. Almond bemusing. There is more wit and yarn spinning in the minor role Captains/clerks and admin-types who work the side stories, and this is the world Griffin/Butterworth would appear to know best. All the "action" occurs between the chapters and we have mainly dialogues in offices, hotel rooms and bases planning and debriefing events. The 50's military here is depicted to be very concerned with protocol - who salutes who, when to say "aye aye sir", when to appear in clean clothes...offset by casual friendships between ranks. Not great-was it the last from this author??, but I'll try the previous book "Under Fire"...
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Format: Hardcover
As it happens, I have not yet read any of Griffen's other "Brotherhood of War" novels, so this review may be less insightful than those written by persons who are more familiar with the series. I picked this one up because the Korean War has always interested me, and I am always up for a rousing novel about the courage of the US Marines!
This novel was not what I expected, not meaning to be critical. First of all, virtually the whole novel takes place during what amounts to a slow point in the Korean War--where the US/UN forces have the North Koreans on the run after the brilliant Inchon landing, and before the Red Chinese intervention. The story is essentially centered on the interaction between President Truman and MacArthur during this period, and the stupidity of MacArthur's intelligence staff in failing to predict the Chinese entry into the war.
The story dwells on small personal and intricate political matters within the American command in Korea. Evidently some of the characters hail from earlier (and later?) "Brotherhood of War" novels, and possibly readers of these books will appreciate the sub-plots involving these characters more than I did. One thing Griffen does exceedingly well is to create the atmosphere of what it might have been like to be in Korea during this time. The author writes with an authenticity that is indisputedly real. The reader feels transported to the early days of the Korean War.
My overall evaluation is that this novel never quite takes off, although it does make for an entertaining read. First of all, I expected a story dealing with the first desperate days when the Chinese caught the American forces unprepared for their onslaught. Not at all.
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Format: Hardcover
There have arguably never been more substantial real-life characters than Harry S. Truman and Douglas MacArthur. To bring their personalities and significantly different styles to a work of fiction, and do so in a manner that makes the reader feel " in the room" with these men, is nothing short of masterful. To bring the historical significant year of 1950 to life, and then weave through it a tale replete with anguish, danger, intrigue, frustration, elation, humor, heroism, and moral outrage, is nothing short of phenomenal. To develop fictional characters with dynamic and diverse personalities, and bring them to life through dialog, is nothing short of fantastic. A work of fiction that can do all three is brilliant. Retreat Hell! is W.E.B. Griffin at his finest. Retreat Hell! is brilliant, and the W.E.B. Griffin is a literary genius by any standard. This is his best work to date. If you can read this book without laughing out loud, you never served in the military. If you can read this book without tears, you never served in the Marine Corps. If you can read this book without feeling outrage, you must be related to MacArthur. If you can read this book without being thoroughly entertained, then great historical fiction is beyond you. Five Stars!
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Format: Hardcover
Absolutely nothing occurs in this novel: the Chinese don't invade, MacArthur doesn't get fired, no one gets laid, no one gets heroically killed. Just lots of Griffin type pedantic prose. He either gets paid by the pound, or by the word - how many times do you need to be advised that McCoy is a Major, USMCR?
Griffin cranks one of these out every 18 months or so. Good market timing - I usually forget what little content there is and, as a simple ex-Marine, have high hopes for a great story of the Corps. The first two in this series were pretty good and offered some potential. Very little action since; fooled again, and again, and again ...
In the early sixties, I trained and served under men who fought at the Frozen Chosin. They were common men , but heros all. This was the greatest instant of our (USMC) history. Griffin simply doesn't do the Korean conflict justice.
Don't buy this book. Check it out from you library, borrow it from a foolish friend, or wait and lift the reject from Good Will for 50 cents.
Semper Fi........
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