The Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War

THE FROZEN HOURS                            JEFF SHAARA

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 retreat 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 Jeff 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.


Frozen Hours is Mr. Shaara's look at the beginnings of the Korean War. Frozen because of the men at Chosin Reservoir. How our troops were surrounded and how General MacArthur and his staff were so out of touch with what was actually taking place. Of course, with all of them being in Tokyo might have something to do with it plus the idea that no the Chinese were not sending any troops, when in fact approximately 140,000 men were sent in and ended surrounding our troops. Now, of course, men are working together to survive and to bring each other out of that hell hole.
Once again just one look at the war, not the entire war or all of the battles going on between Truman and MacArthur. You do get to see MacArthur arrogance and how it is passed on to Almond. He also takes through General Smith who I think is forgotten and how he and his staff work to bring the men out and not abandon them. The author once again takes you through the fighting with soldiers from both sides which always adds to the story. Overall another good book by this author. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

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