The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Covert Mission of the Korean War

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9780399148712: The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Covert Mission of the Korean War

In 2000, as historian Thomas Fleming prepared an article about a crucial but little-known, covert mission of the Korean War, led by a thirty-nine-year-old naval lieutenant named Eugene Clark, Clark's widow noted that her husband had written up his own account, then put it in a safe-deposit box. Would he like to read it? Fleming would-and discovered an extraordinary document: a vividly written first-person chronicle filled with color, detail, and event, as honest and revealing a wartime narrative as he'd read in many years.

In late August 1950, with North Korea on the attack, MacArthur battled his own colleagues over his plan to invade Inchon, behind enemy lines. They simply knew too little about the dangerous tides and miles of mudflats, the beaches, seawalls, and fortifications. It was suicide. MacArthur convinced them, barely, and then brought in Clark, because they did know too little. Clark had to find the answers-and in just two weeks. That was all the time there was.

With two South Korean officers, Clark landed on a harbor island, but the North Koreans discovered him, and soon his intelligence-gathering became filled with firefights, night raids, hand-to-hand combat, even a miniature naval battle involving armed junks. It all culminated on the night of the invasion itself-when he and his men took over a lighthouse and lit it to guide the allied fleet.

The Secrets of Inchon is a stunning account, rich with courage and humanity, infused by Clark's growing brotherhood with his newfound allies-a new classic of military history.

"A classic first-person account of heroism, resolve, and ultimate triumph that will touch every American in these troubled times." (Stephen Coonts)

"The Secrets of Inchon is a modern classic of military history, an astonishing first-person account that fairly crackles with drama. As we have seen so recently, heroism can come at any time-but who even suspected that this Korean War hero could write so well?" (W.E.B. Griffin)

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Review:

If Korea is America's forgotten war, Eugene Franklin Clark is certainly one of that war's least-known heroes. The Secrets of Inchon is his first-person account--written in 1953 and long forgotten in a safety deposit box--of his terrifying fortnight on a small island in North Korean-occupied Inchon harbor. Douglas MacArthur's planned invasion was as fraught with peril as it was daring. The port, with 29-foot tides, was, at their ebb, protected by a mud-flat moat 6,000 yards wide in places. Without elaborate, accurate, first-hand information--which Clark was ordered to supply--about mines, fortifications, sea floor gradients, troop distribution, and other matters large and small, the operation (Clark likens it to a "fly deliberately planning to invade a spider's web") could easily have become "an American Dunkerque." Clark's reconnaissance included hand-to-hand gunfights, rugged interrogations, night forays in small junks, constant vigilance, exhaustingly long hours, and the cooperation of anti-Communist Koreans. The Secrets of Inchon is a commendable tale of an unfathomably obscure and daring military episode. --H. O'Billovich

About the Author:

Eugene Clark died in 1998, after retiring from the Navy in 1966 with the rank of commander. For his role in the invasion, he won the Silver Star. Later missions added an oak leaf cluster and the Navy Cross.

Thomas Fleming is the author of forty books, including The New Dealers' War, Duel, Liberty! The American Revolution, and the bestselling novel The Officers' Wives.

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