War: How the Ball Bounced

More than a million Americans, many still in their teens, fought, and survived, the Korean War. The G.I. never quite understood what this particularly bewildering war was all about. But he fought well, and reached his own understanding of Korea by personal, painful, ugly experience.

For one thing, he understood death. There was the first mound of corpses by the roadside, caked with dried blood, open mouths frozen in a scream. His sergeant said: ''Don't get shook up. They're just Koreans." Or there were muddy U.S. Army boots protruding awkwardly from under a...

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