Academic journal article Military Review

Colder Than Hell: A Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir

Academic journal article Military Review

Colder Than Hell: A Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir

Article excerpt

COLDER THAN HELL: A Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir by Joseph R. Owen. 272 pages. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 1996. $29.95.

Although Colder than Hell is a story about Marines written by a Marine, it is applicable to all American warriors. Author Joseph Owen has produced a finely tuned, very readable account of his personal experiences during the first six months of the Korean War.

Written from a platoon commander's perspective, Colder than Hell depicts the good, the bad and the ugly of leading troops under fire. Owen powerfully describes war's grime and discomforts, graphically portraying its nauseating stench, hellish noise and bewildering confusion. Owen also ably communicates the anguish of death and injury during close combat. Anyone who has been in combat will recognize the sensations related to thinking about a spouse and children while in the midst of dangerous, miserable conditions. This realism makes Owen's story incredibly vivid.

Colder than Hell's intensity is similar to Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier and E.B. Sledge's With the Old Breed. Like Adolf von Schell's Battle Leadership, Owen's book presents many of the nuances of small-unit leadership under difficult circumstances.

The author does a good job of reminding the reader of the weighty demand for bravery and stamina in combat. …

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