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Korea In Print And Onscreen

October 2019

In his letter to the readers of American Heritage in the November issue, the editor quotes author James Brady as saying, “Korea gave us ... no great novel or film.” Another author who shared Brady’s first name, Michener by surname, wrote a fine short novel published in 1953 about the carrier-based air war over Korea, The Bridges at Toko-Ri . It’s understandable how Marine Corps officer Brady would have missed it; he was busy fighting the ground war at that time.

Michener’s story was made into an excellent movie in 1955 with William Holden as a lawyer called up for Korea, and Grace Kelly as his wife. The novel, a quick read, is still in print, and the movie version is available on both tape and disc. I read Brady’s The Marines of Autumn recently, and it’s an absorbing undertaking. He interweaves his fictional characters with the actual locations and facts of the ground war. I got so involved with his characters, I found it was not necessary to pay too much attention to the place-names and geography of the background where the welldefined principals engage the enemy while trying to keep from freezing to death. The Marines of Autumn will not be an easy story to translate to film. But I’ll be watching and waiting.