On Desperate Ground
Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 5:30PM
King Library

Book Discussion

Author: Hampton Sides

Facilitated by: Mr. Billy David

A chronicle of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean War.

On October 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of UN troops in Korea, convinced President Harry Truman that the Communist forces of Kim Il-sung would be utterly defeated by Thanksgiving. The Chinese, he said with near certainty, would not intervene in the war.

As he was speaking, 300,000 Red Chinese soldiers began secretly crossing the Manchurian border. Led by some 20,000 men of the First Marine Division, the Americans moved deep into the snowy mountains of North Korea, toward the trap Mao had set for the vainglorious MacArthur along the frozen shores of the Chosin Reservoir. What followed was one of the most heroic — and harrowing — operations in American military history, and one of the classic battles of all time. Faced with probable annihilation, and temperatures plunging to 20 degrees below zero, the surrounded and hugely outnumbered Marines fought through the enemy forces with ferocity, ingenuity, and nearly unimaginable courage as they marched their way to the sea.

About the Facilitator
Billy David was raised in Litchfield County, Connecticut and graduated from Washington and Lee University. Following graduate school, he served in Vietnam as a Marine infantry officer. Bill spent his career in magazine publishing, including Town and Country, Sports Afield and Rolling Stone. He now resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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