"Richardson never pulls his punches in these vivid descriptions." --Publishers Weekly
Caught in the Chinese counterattack at Unsan-one of the deadliest American battles of the Cold War Era-Colonel Bill Richardson led an Alamo like defense of the few survivors before being taken prisoner. The North Koreans marched them through sub-zero weather without food, shelter, or medical attention to the area known as Death Valley. Enduring torture designed to break the mind and body, Richardson remained strong enough to lead his fellow prisoners in resistance, sabotage, and new plans for escape.
Valleys of Death is a stirring story of survival and determination, an intimate look at the soldiers who fought America's first battle of the cold war in the unvarnished words of one of their own.
Richardson looks back at the 1950s when he was a master sergeant with the First Cavalry Division in Korea. After U.S. Army occupation duty from 1946 to 1950 in Italy, Germany, and Austria, and the U.N. vote to defend South Korea, he was reassigned to Fort Devens, Mass., to train recruits in weaponry. Shortly after arriving in Taegu, South Korea, their battalion was subjected to North Korean attacks. He recalls both fear and acts of bravery amid the deafening explosions, flying shrapnel, mortar and artillery fire, mass slaughter, bodies lying in piles, and the stunned reaction after a message dropped from a plane: "We were on our own. No relief column was on its way... and if we stayed in this hellhole we would all die." The final third of the book details his torture and starvation during 34 months as a POW, concluding with a short summary of his later military career. Aided by journalist Maurer, Richardson never pulls his punches in these vivid descriptions of bloody combat action, interrupted by occasional flashbacks to his youth on the streets of Philadelphia Photos, maps.