Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors
Author: Pat McGrath Avery, Joyce Faulkner
Publisher: Red Engine Press (2008)
Binding: Paperback, 288 pages
In the early days of the Korean War, 450+ American prisoners were marched from Taejon, South Korea, to Seoul, then on to Pyongyang, North Korea. There they boarded a train. On October 19, the train pulled into a tunnel. The North Korean guards unloaded the prisoners, a few at a time, and executed them. Eight of the known survivors tell their story.
Authors Pat Avery and Joyce Faulkner have written a powerful story of a barbaric and savage treatment of American Army POW's during the opening months of the Korean War.
Flush from their opening week's victories over unprepared, poorly trained, and poorly-led American Soldiers, the North Koreans herded some 250 POW's onto a train north the North Korean-Chinese border in October 1950. Starved and beaten, the soldiers ran a gamut of emotions from giving up and dying, to attempting to escape. In the North Korean town of Sunchon, 100 soldiers were executed, and another 33 were executed later when the train came under fire from American fighter jets. With the train disabled, another 91 were marched north, with only a few finally being rescued by American forces.
Their book Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors is a thoroughly-researched story which includes multiple interviews with the eight survivors still alive today. The authors concentrate on the stories of the individual survivors, as opposed to American or N. Korean strategy and tactics. The result is a human interest story that will appeal to a far wider audience than that of a normal "military book," which can only serve to get this story of bravery and courage into the wider audience it deserves.
Reviewed by: Andrew Lubin (2008)