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  • The Frozen Hours

  • A Novel of the Korean War
  • By: Jeff Shaara
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 20 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

The master of military historical fiction turns his discerning eye to the Korean War in this riveting new novel, which tells the dramatic story of the Americans and the Chinese who squared off in one of the deadliest campaigns in the annals of combat: the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as Frozen Chosin.

June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China.

But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable - and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.

The Frozen Hours tells the story of Frozen Chosin from multiple points of view: Oliver P. Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined defeat as "advancing in a different direction"; marine private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the Americans he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move.

Written with the propulsive force Shaara brings to all his novels of combat and courage, The Frozen Hours transports us to the critical moment in the history of America's "Forgotten War", when the fate of the Korean peninsula lay in the hands of a brave band of brothers battling both the elements and a determined, implacable foe.

©2017 Jeff Shaara (P)2017 Random House Audio

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Must listen

Love this book,listened to it 3 times well laid out story but also giving you the facts.


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Profile Image for Ark1836
  • Ark1836
  • 22-08-17

Not as Good as Most Shaara Books

I'm going to start this review by saying that this is not Jeff Shaara's finest novel. This is the ninth Shaara novel that I've read, and I have to rate this as the least of those. That being said, a bad Shaara novel is still excellent by most other standards. So, I might sound a little harsh, but it is still a good novel, just not up to my expectations for this outstanding author. My problem with this particular book is the scope. Shaara usually covers an entire war from start-to-finish unless the novel is meant to be part of a series (such as the two-part Revolutionary War series, the Civil War battle novels and the four-part WWII series). This novel really just covers one battle, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. In historical context, this battle was part of a much larger campaign, which this novel fails to fully appreciate. The novel glosses over the earlier Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, which was a larger battle both in size and casualties. The novel also barely touches the Battle of Inchon, which is one of the most daring landings in history. The novel ends in late 1950/early 1951 with an unsatisfying, brief conclusion summarizing the next two years of the war.

Again, this is a Shaara novel, so it's still a very well written novel. Shaara on a bad day is still better than most authors.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Ms. V
  • 10-06-17

Great story; narrator is questionable

What did you like best about The Frozen Hours? What did you like least?

I will be honest; the narrator spoke in monotone and VERY slow...so slow that I even checked the settings a couple times because I could not imagine an author wanting someone to narrate his book in such a way as this.
In fact, I set my speed to 1.5 times (and it helped) but it did not improve the lack of expression on the narrators part.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

No. When the action increased, the narrator didn't...he continued reading as if he was sitting down for a beer or taking a leisurely walk.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

see above.

Do you think The Frozen Hours needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

N/A

Any additional comments?

There was much hard work invested into this book; it is always a shame when a great author has a sub-par narrator.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anke Smith
  • 28-08-17

Highly educational insight into the Korean War

Having grown up in Germany during the 70's I never knew much about the Korean War. Which in hindsight is rather sad as it was an UN mission. I am so grateful to Jeff Shaara for writing this book and opening my eyes. Also the narration by Paul Michael is beyond superb! I listen to Audible books as well as the Great Courses all the time and this narration put one right into Korea and with the Marines.

8 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jerry Geleff
  • Jerry Geleff
  • 28-08-17

Very good, continuing the Shaara legacy

Beginning with,"The Killer Angels" and on through this book, the Shaara's, father and son, have given us the best historical fiction ever written. Giving voice to the forgotten war in Korea gives us a little better understanding of what happened, beyond watching "M*A*S*H*". It also continues the tradition of showing both sides, not just "the good guys". Well worth a purchase and the time to listen.
Good performance in the reading, and a tip; I was able to listen at 1.55 times speed and not miss anything.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Samuel G Watkins Jr
  • 04-06-17

Well written and executed. The Frozen Hours.

I liked the portrayals and historical accuracy. A map of the Chosin area down to Kotori would have been helpful. Since I have David Halbertam's "The Coldest Winter" I had access to the maps. This audio gave me a more human perspective to the war in Korea as was covered so completely in Halberstam's book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • andrew cotton
  • 26-08-17

Korean War

I knew almost nothing about this war. Shaara gives us a riveting feel of what war is really about. I could feel the frigid wind and sub zero temperatures as marines tried to dig foxholes in the frozen. Earth There's nothing pretty or romantic about war. Nothing but blood,pain and courage for soldiers in any army.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Roy Walter Scholl IV
  • Roy Walter Scholl IV
  • 29-06-17

Historical Trash!

This book portrays general Ned Allmond is a man lacking character with a cowardly tendency. This is not only an assault on historical record but an assault on a recently veteran whom led one of the first African American units in the Mountains of Italy before commanding X Corp in Korea. Most historians view this man as an outsider in MacArthur's inner circle of YES men whom made the best of his situation when MacArthur's inner circle refused to believe intel that the Chinese would enter the war if X Corp moved north of Pyongyang following the invasion of Wanson.

I don't think it was fair, even in the spirit of fiction, to lie about a proven real non-coincidental US battlefield commander's reputation to serve a villain role in this TOTAL FICTION pretending to be Historical Fact.

4 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 07-11-17

Superb! Closely based on facts

A riveting and unputdownable novel recounting Marine Corps valor in the face of overwhelming numbers of enemy troops. By the author of Killer Angels.

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  • WD
  • 23-09-17

Dialog drags

I know the Chosin history and I feel the facts got jostled a bit in this book. The biggest issue is the dialog which is dragged to a crawl by the author’s insistence on focusing on minutiae the mind numbing boredom of the dialog between marines adds little to the story. It is as if Sharra is being paid by the word not the idea. This is an amazing chapter in US military history. It doesn’t translate here. I listened to the entire book out of loyalty to the real marines. It was hard but I did it. Sharra’s Father’s Killer Angels is a classic. Jeff the son has written some great military histories in his own right. This is not worthy. The narrator’s performance is amazing; Versitile, multi-voiced and authentic. He kept the story going despite challenging dialog.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Hambone
  • 18-09-17

typical Shaara

What made the experience of listening to The Frozen Hours the most enjoyable?

The precise detail of the milieu of the theater of operations. Everything from environment to weapons to personalities.

What did you like best about this story?

it is very consistent with historical documents . Bu most importantly it matches the stories of the men I knew who fought in this action

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to count BUT if I had to pick 1...it would be how the Marines sang their hymn as the marched out. battered, bruised but unbroken and unbowed. Marines are still that way today. Make no mistake about it. Marines are at their best when things are at their worst. I say all this as a US Navy man.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As much as I hate to admit it because communist atrocities were well known and abundant, the Chinese General seemed to have a code of honor that is admirable. Something we never hear about on this side of the pond. Other than him the Russian Major was very insightful and intelligent in his assessments Again, nothing we generally give them credit for displaying . BUT finally the big hero was O.P Smith to me, I was almost entirely unfamiliar with him because he is over shadowed by Puller and Lem Shepard. I think he is one of my top 3 US generals of all time. I put him in the same class as US Grant and Patton because he was a lot of each of them. He was a real Marine's, Marine and it must have been rewarding to have served under him. MacArthur was past his prime in this particular war and surrounded by boot lickers it seems. Truman was smart to fire him after all.

Any additional comments?

This is a MUST read for anyone interested what bonds fighting men and women together when natural impulse is to do otherwise.

2 people found this helpful