Author: Eugene Basilici
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (2006)
Binding: Paperback, 246 pages
The Korean War rages in Southeast Asia. Every night the North Koreans hurl themselves against the outnumbered Americans who hold the Pusan Perimeter, and every night the overextended defenders are thinned even more.
Into this maelstrom lands Rick Barinelli, a teenager fresh out of Basic and is thrown immediately onto the front line. A natural leader with an innate understanding of combat, he’s able to command and hold the all-important “Bowling Alley” sector. Barinelli’s successes on the battlefield earn him quick promotions.
The Inchon landing relieves the pressure on Pusan and Barinelli’s platoon takes the point for an American offensive. At Hungnam, they’re ordered to the rear and reorganized as a reconnaissance company, while the Army’s Tenth Corps and First Marine Division advance to the Chinese border.
But a quarter-million Chinese secretly infiltrate the mountain passes and surround the Americans with orders to annihilate them all. The only escape route is along a narrow road past the Chosin Reservoir through the Funchilin Pass to Hungnam and safety. The Funchilin must be held. But when Barinelli’s company commander suddenly disappears, the survival of over twenty thousand men falls on him.
With fewer than two hundred men under his command, Barinelli faces the pressures of leadership in battle. More importantly, he learns of faithlessness and heroism and the inner gauntlet each soldier must pass through to survive.
Author Eugene B. Basilici has taken a huge step forward in honoring those who fought in the Korean War with his novel Barinelli's War. This story is riveting and honors those brave young men who fought there. The author claims to have loosely based his story on the actions of the real life heroes of Fox Company who held the Toktong Pas open while engaged against a full Chinese Division. The actions of that small group saved the lives of some 25,000 allied troops. So his story has a feel of realism to it. "The Forgotten War" is no longer to be forgotten because of authors like him.
In Basilici's book his main character is a young man just fresh from basic training named Rick Barinelli. The reader gets to follow him as he matures and endures tests of his courage. He eventually gets promoted and when his company captain disappears he is left with the command responsibility of protecting 25,000 troops with just his own small force of men against the onslaught of hordes of Chinese soldiers. Greatly out numbered he shows what he is made out as he leads his men in victory against all odds!
Lots of action and battles but the real story is how the author lets the reader get know each of the stories main characters. There is depth and emotion to the telling of this tale and the author makes you wonder if he was thee himself. It comes off as if it were really a memoir of some someone who had been there and saw it. His words drip in blood, courage and heroism! It is a flag waving red, white and blue tribute without the band, the parade or the flag! It is a tribute to those who did fight there even if it had to be told though a fictional story. It is told with dignity and clarity of purpose. You know who the heroes are and root for them
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2006)