Hampton Sides is a bestselling author known for his gripping non-fiction adventure stories set in war or depicting epic expeditions of discovery and exploration. He is an award winning journalist twice named a Finalist for the National Magazine Awards in feature writing.
It was late afternoon of November 29, 1950, at a place that would be called Hellfire Valley, near the shores of the frozen Chosin Reservoir in the desolate high country of North Korea where nine hundred American and U.N. troops, in a long train of 150 vehicles, wound north through the snowy mountains. Winter had descended with a vengeance, with the temperature plummeting to 30 degrees below zero.
From the comfort of his Tokyo headquarters, General Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief of the UN forces, had ordered his troops to march as fast as they could toward North Korea’s border with Manchuria—which is to say, the border with Communist Red China.
What MacArthur’s intelligence officers didn’t know, or seemingly didn’t want to know, and what his men on the ground would soon discover, was that hundreds of thousands of Communist Chinese soldiers had crossed the same border, had streamed south under cover of night, and had taken up positions in the Taebaek Mountains to prepare for a surprise attack.
Mao Zedong, who up until then had been sitting on the sidelines, had now secretly entered the Korean War. And he had quite brilliantly prepared a trap for MacArthur’s troops. The stage was set for one of the greatest encirclements in modern military history.
Step inside the story of one man’s acts of heroism in one of the most ferocious battles of the War. One story, among many, that should never be forgotten. Here is Jack Chapman’s story.
BOOKS BY HAMPTON SIDES
On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle(2018):
"Superb...A masterpiece of thorough research, deft pacing and arresting detail...This war story — the fight to break out of a frozen hell near the Chosin Reservoir — has been told many times before. But Sides tells it exceedingly well, with fresh research, gritty scenes and cinematic sweep."—Washington Post
Gripping...Master storyteller Hampton Sides, specializes in captivating readers with his trademark moment-by-moment accounts...Sides captures the big personalities who run things...[and] also immerses readers in vivid accounts of horrific battles and an infamous "attack in reverse." —Christian Science Monitor
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission (2002):
“The greatest World War II story never told.” —Esquire
“Riveting and patriotically stirring without ever slipping into mawkishness or sentimentality.” —The New York Times
“[Sides] liberates his story from documentary and turns it into epic. . . . More than any monument, Ghost Soldiers is the memorial both prisoners and liberators deserve.” —The Seattle Times
“Riveting . . . monumental . .. . Not only does Blood and Thunder capture a pivotal moment in U.S. history in marvelous detail, it is also authoritative and masterfully told.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Stunning. . . Both haunting and lyrical, Blood and Thunder is truly a masterpiece.”
—Los Angeles Times
One of the Best Books of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Francisco Chronicle
"Viscerally dramatic … spellbinding … Both Dr. King and Ray come to life in these remarkable pages. " —The New York Times
"Gripping, exciting, and engrossing . . . hits us with the shuddering intensity of a high-speed collision." —The Times of London
"Hampton Sides is a master storyteller, and here he has delivered a stunningly vivid account of perhaps the most dramatic polar mission you never heard of. Once you start, you won't stop.”
- Mark Bowden, New York Times Bestselling author of Black Hawk Down
“Read this book in two ways-- fast, for the hair-raising excitement of what happens to the brave men of the Jeannette, and then slowly, to take in the clarity of the writing and the unshowy elegance of the structure. The grand disaster that befell this expedition, and the heroic, truly Siberian sufferings of Captain De Long and his comrades, have found a brilliant chronicler in Hampton Sides.” - Ian Frazier, National Bestselling author of Travels in Siberia and On the Rez
“This may be the best road trip you’ll ever take—full of strange vision, hilarious detours, and sudden beauty in unlikely places.” –Burkhard Bilger, staff writer at The New Yorker