The Last Parallel: A Marine's War Journal



The Last Parallel: A Marine's War JournalLong Regarded As One Of The Best Books About Combat Ever Written, The Last Parallel An Undisputed Classic Of The Korean War Is Back In Print A National Bestseller And A Book Of The Month Club Main Selection, The Last Parallel Ranks Top Among Combat Soldiers War Records Of All Time , Said Fred T Marsh In The New York Herald Tribune John P Marquand In The Book Of The Month Club News Concurred The Last Parallel Is About The Best Account Of Combat I Have Read One Could Even Rate It As A Higher Achievement In Some Respects Than That Classic, The Red Badge Of Courage Every Reader Wilt See Death And Danger As Sergeant Russ Saw It He Will Wince At The Explosion Of The Mortar Shells Vicariously He Will Struggle Every Step Of The Way As Russ And His Companions Bring Back The Dead And Wounded It Is The Best Pro Marine Book Yet To Be Published And One That Should Be Read By Mothers, Wives And Sweethearts, As Well As Everyone Who Has Worn A Uniform

Martin Faxon Russ was an American military author, Marine, and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University.Russ was born in Newark on Feb 14, 1931, to Carroll and Lavinia Faxon Dunn His parents were professional writers.After graduating from a private school in Connecticut, Russ attended St Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., but dropped out in his junior year to join the Marines Assigned to an ordnance battalion, Private Russ made a nuisance of himself until his request for combat duty was granted In later years, although he had no college degree, he taught writing at what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

[PDF / Epub] ☀ The Last Parallel: A Marine's War Journal Author Martin Russ – Heartforum.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 333 pages
  • The Last Parallel: A Marine's War Journal
  • Martin Russ
  • English
  • 23 May 2017
  • 0880642378

10 thoughts on “The Last Parallel: A Marine's War Journal

  1. Jamie says:

    Whoever wrote the publisher s blurb on the cover that this is one of the best books about combat ever written had clearly not read many books of this genre However, I nevertheless liked it and thought the author did a good job showing life during the latter stages of the Korean War, when it had become static trench warfare, with offensive actions limited to raids and reconnaissance The reader gets a good feel for the organization, equipment, and daily routines of Marines maintaining front li Whoever wrote the publisher s blurb on the cover that this is one of the best books about combat ever written had clearly not read many books of this genre However, I nevertheless liked it and thought the author did a good job showing life during the latter stages of the Korean War, when it had become static trench warfare, with offensive actions limited to raids and reconnaissance The reader gets a good feel for the organization, equipment, and daily routines of Marines maintaining front line positions Like all wars, it was mostly tedious and boring, with occasional moments of adrenaline fueled intensity, and the ever present knowledge that death was always lurking in the form of an artillery shell or a sniper s bullet.The best parts are the night patrols out in No Man s Land between the American and Chinese lines Trying to move as silently as possible, straining eyes and ears to detect the enemy s presence, and then long hours of waiting in the cold and darkness to see if they could pull off a successful ambush With everything else going on they had to make sure they knew exactly where they were stray too far left or right of your company s position, and the units manning those lines, not knowing there was a patrol out, might open fire as you attempted to return The author has a laconic, just the facts writing style, the classic Marine professional warrior It makes for good reading, but I would have liked to seeof the human element that must have been present cold, tired, twitchy, and sometimes very scared The Chinese existed as a shadowy presence, occasionally heard but seldom seen Both armies had artillery behind the lines which could be called in on a moment s notice, and it did not take much provocation to have a ferocious barrage called down on your position Even though peace negotiations were underway, and the fighting might end at any time, there was no sense of live and let live Both armies would quickly take advantage of any opportunity to inflict casualties on the other.Russ wanted to be a sergeant, but of course he couldn t seem like he wanted to be one, so he did his job and tried to keep out of trouble He finally got the promotion, just before he left the country He tosses off an interesting comment as he describes the party they held to celebrate it had plenty of booze and hashish It was the first time I had heard of there being easy access to drugs in the Korean war, but I suppose it should not be surprising given the highs and lows of tension followed by boredom, drugs would be a natural relief valve.His tour of duty up, he went back to his civilian life He had proved to himself that he could handle combat, could be a good Marine and manage the responsibilities and the pressure He does not seem to have been personally changed by his experience, and was neither pro nor anti war He had seen death and was prepared to kill, but never appeared to even consider committing acts of unnecessary brutality He was just a Marine doing his job in a difficult and dangerous environment, and he served honorably and well His book is good at making readers wonder how they would behave in similar situations It is worth reading for its ability to portray life and death on the line in the last days of the Korean War

  2. Jack Tyler says:

    Okay, five stars Yeah, this is one of those books that I encountered in junior high school that had a profound effect on that 13 year old boy At 65, I still remember many long passages almost verbatim, and at 65 I still can t shake my love for the story And story it is Despite the fact that this is nothingnor less than the diary of a marine corporal caught up in the Korean War in 1953, there is indeed a long and involved narrative here It was that stable, stationary phase of the war, Okay, five stars Yeah, this is one of those books that I encountered in junior high school that had a profound effect on that 13 year old boy At 65, I still remember many long passages almost verbatim, and at 65 I still can t shake my love for the story And story it is Despite the fact that this is nothingnor less than the diary of a marine corporal caught up in the Korean War in 1953, there is indeed a long and involved narrative here It was that stable, stationary phase of the war, after the long marches and long retreats had been concluded and the lines had settled into trench warfare reminiscent of WWI The story the young Corporal Russ tells is one of nights spent on patrols into no man s land, listening to Chinese soldiers going about the same routine, alternating with nights spent in isolated listening posts in front of the lines, listening to patrols, enemy and friendly alike, passing the front of the slope, and wondering if this was the night the Chinese would send one of their human wave attacks to probe for weaknesses.The book describes situations that were what they were, but the quality of the book lies in Russ ability to write description of events, and the colorful people he served with, in a way that rivets the attention and engages the senses of the reader in the manner of a skilled novelist The narrative is at once a chronicle of an obscure war, and a spooky, suspenseful tale of blind wrestlers groping for one another in the dark In this passage, a Marine Corsair a support aircraft has been shot down over no man s land, and the pilot has ejected in plain sight of both lines However, seconds after he floated out of sight, we heard the strange metallic sound of a Maxim machine gun, a Russian made weapon CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG four rounds, fired from the Detroit or Little Rock area local nicknames for Chinese positions It seemed obvious that the weapon would not have been fired unless the Chinese gunner had spotted a target How helpless the pilot must have felt up there in the air, with groups of Chinese watching his descent.A little man called Dutchy was sprinting up and down the trench, trying to assemble an emergency rescue patrol We ll never make it in time, somebody said Besides, that Maxim probably got him Dutchy yelled at him, We ll bring back the f ing body, then By that time S Sgt Cruz arrived I think every man in the platoon was standing in the trench, waiting Cruz strode through us, picking out men at random With a minimum of preparation, nine of us departed No time for organization Some men went without parkas, some without gloves One man I won t mention his name found that his BAR magazines were empty, except for the magazine in the weapon In my case, the magazines were filled halfway In order to release the pressure on the magazine spring, it is advisable to remove eight or ten rounds when the weapon isn t being carried Otherwise the spring becomes weak We even forgot to bring a stretcher.We slid down the ridge, dog trotted across the ice, and scrambled up to Texas Ridge No one was the least bit concerned with being stealthy We crashed in among the pine trees I got the feeling that the men were out of their heads, literally that if we had encountered any Chinese it would have been the end of them Just before we reached the saddle, Cruz motioned us to a halt and we lay down, panting hard and listening Not a sound It was almost dark now A call for two volunteers was passed back Not me I wouldn t have gone down in that paddy again to meet Jesus Christ We had rustled branches, tripped over twigs, broken off little branches, crunched through snow, and fallen through the ice Mao Tse tung could have heard us in Peking Two men volunteered immediately and S Sgt Cruz leading them, they disappeared into the dark They were extremely quiet, as marines can be when they want to.I think I ve made my point This book, originally published in 1957, has great value to historians and lovers of the grand war story alike as a spectacularly effective view through the eyes of a grunt Reprinted in 1999, it remains available in all the usual places, and is well worth a read by those with an interest in this field

  3. Robert F. says:

    The author of this book entered the Korean War in its later stages when it was becoming a static situation with entrenched forces facing each other over what has become the demilitarized zone Patrolling, probes, listening posts There are no grand battles taking place, only small skirmishes, sniping and a lot of boredom This book is kind of an embellished daily diary of a relatively well educated enlisted Marine who went to the war willingly, even enthusiastically Thus, you are getting the The author of this book entered the Korean War in its later stages when it was becoming a static situation with entrenched forces facing each other over what has become the demilitarized zone Patrolling, probes, listening posts There are no grand battles taking place, only small skirmishes, sniping and a lot of boredom This book is kind of an embellished daily diary of a relatively well educated enlisted Marine who went to the war willingly, even enthusiastically Thus, you are getting the frontline Marines view of his little sector of the DMZ Despite there not being big battles, there is still fear, death, adventure He touches on the ambiguous nature of the causes of the war, but this is not a political treatment of the situation It points to the dedication and mindset of US Marines at that time in history.You will not learn the Big Picture of the Korean war You will see the day to day existence of a well prepared Marine, dealing with the stresses and dangers of a static form of warfare that remains one of the least known and understood wars of the 20th Century

  4. Marc Beckwith says:

    Russ, a Marine BAR operator, describes the tail end of the war in Korea on the DMZ before the armistice was signed It was a static war, raids into no man s land, little contact with enemy Russ is too cute, too full of himself, constantly reminding us of his prep school background, gee, I can make up fake Latin, etc Does not wear his learning well Oh, and the futility of war Hold that thought, Russ you mean there s no difference today between N Korea and S Korea Between the threat of the Russ, a Marine BAR operator, describes the tail end of the war in Korea on the DMZ before the armistice was signed It was a static war, raids into no man s land, little contact with enemy Russ is too cute, too full of himself, constantly reminding us of his prep school background, gee, I can make up fake Latin, etc Does not wear his learning well Oh, and the futility of war Hold that thought, Russ you mean there s no difference today between N Korea and S Korea Between the threat of the gulag and freedom Is there nothing to choose between a society offering periodic famines, citizens reduced to eating tree leaves, and one with abundant food Does that count for nothing, Russ Which country would you choose to live in George Macdonald Fraser and E B Sledge are just two vets of WWII who wrote excellent wartime memoirs, without all the egotistical preening

  5. Al Swanson says:

    First book in the Korean conflict While I ve read dozens of first person accounts of WWII, WWI, Vietnam and later engagements, this was my first from the disagreement on the peninsula Much different than I expected The writer isof an author gone to war than a warrior playing at writing and that lent an interesting quality to the entire narrative Not as in your face gritty as most accounts I ll have to look for something written at an earlier point in the campaign, but this is a great First book in the Korean conflict While I ve read dozens of first person accounts of WWII, WWI, Vietnam and later engagements, this was my first from the disagreement on the peninsula Much different than I expected The writer isof an author gone to war than a warrior playing at writing and that lent an interesting quality to the entire narrative Not as in your face gritty as most accounts I ll have to look for something written at an earlier point in the campaign, but this is a great book Even if you re not a war buff, there s plenty in here to interest you

  6. Richard Lucas says:

    Difficult to maintain interestI gave this book 2 stars due to the lack of a proofreader Misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, use of words that are not in a large dictionary are only part of the reason the action in this book is difficult to follow Few author s can pull off sounding like an intellectual in one sentence, and an uneducated red neck in the next Unfortunately for this author, he is not one of those few On the plus side, he did serve his country, and I thank him for that.

  7. Rob says:

    When the New York Times says that it s one of the most gripping stories of combat ever told, that gets your attention Historian Stephen Ambrose claims it s the best book written on the Korean War Marine Martin Russ s chronicles of his duty on the front lines of the Korean War on his first night of watch duty the Chinese tried to overrun his position evokes the gut clutching quality of the war Originally published in 1957, this is the war as seen through the eyes of an automatic riflem When the New York Times says that it s one of the most gripping stories of combat ever told, that gets your attention Historian Stephen Ambrose claims it s the best book written on the Korean War Marine Martin Russ s chronicles of his duty on the front lines of the Korean War on his first night of watch duty the Chinese tried to overrun his position evokes the gut clutching quality of the war Originally published in 1957, this is the war as seen through the eyes of an automatic rifleman, a time of suffering, illness and death, vividly described in Russ s no holds barred account

  8. Joshua says:

    A must read, period Simply for the understanding of what a soldier goes through We all know someone who is away in Iraq or Afghanistan Try to get an understanding of what they are going through, even if this journal is from the Korean War.

  9. Jeffry says:

    Great book Informative, personable and funny The day to day life of a Marine during the final phase of the Koren War.

  10. Charles says:

    Excellent book

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