A rousing new Marine Corps adventure from the author of the New York Times bestselling Warning of War and The Marines of Autumn
The Marine is Colonel James ("Oliver") Cromwell, a warrior forged at Notre Dame and the Berlin of Hitler's Olympics, and honed by combat at Guadalcanal as one of Carlson's Marine Raiders. With the world at peace, the thirty-five-year old Cromwell is restlessly, if pleasantly, beached on garrison duty in California, aware of how much he misses the war, when he is ordered to fresh duty beyond the seas, as military attaché to the American ambassador in a dull Asian backwater half a world away. There, at dawn on a June Sunday, Ollie gets his wish for action. Korea violently erupts and Colonel Cromwell is caught up in the early, panicked, rout. While South Koreans cut and run, the first GIs hurried into battle are brushed aside by advancing Red tanks and tough peasant infantry.
The Marine chronicles the war-hardened Cromwell's experience of the dramatic First Hundred Days of a brutal three-year Korean War, the chaos and cowardice of retreat, the last-ditch gallantry of the Pusan Perimeter, MacArthur's brilliant left hook sending Marines against the deadly seawall at Inchon, and the bloody assault to liberate Seoul and promote MacArthur's 1952 presidential ambitions. Ollie Cromwell's is the story of a "forgotten war" that never truly ended, but for a bitter truce along what a recent U.S. president called "the most dangerous border in the world."
In The Marine, James Brady crafts a powerful novel of one man's service to his country and Corps.
Straight-ahead prose tempered with wry humor distinguishes this latest war chronicle by Brady (The Marines of Autumn,etc.). Tracking Col. James "Oliver" Cromwell from college to retirement, the novel sometimes reads more like memoir than fiction, but marches smartly up to its dramatic high points. At Notre Dame, Cromwell learns to box well enough to go to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. In World War II, he joins Evans Carlson's famous Raiders and participates in the bold Makin Island Raid, vividly depicted as a near disaster. By 1950 he is a decorated lieutenant colonel, assigned as aide to Ambassador John Muccio in Seoul, South Korea, only days before the North Koreans storm south. Here the novel kicks into high gear, portraying one of the roughest patches in U.S. military history. Through the first summer of hostilities "the gritty stand at Pusan, the tides at Inchon, the arrogance of demanding Seoul by a date definite" Cromwell sticks by Muccio as his boss attempts to keep track of a South Korean government that is running away as fast as it can. MacArthur is shown as both a genius and a madman, backed by an army that must relearn the art of war. Through it all, Cromwell's steps are dogged by a former college classmate, Ben Sweet, a conceited war correspondent and novelist who becomes a kind of nagging alter ego. Brady weakens the novel's climax by letting Cromwell take a serious wound offstage, but this soldier's tale of key conflicts in two mid-century wars is a solid achievement.