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Thursday, June 21, 2012

A People's Army (kindle) by T.C. McCarthy

This short story (Amazon's Kindle Store estimates its length to be about 32 print pages) is the tale of a North Korean tank commander named Choi Chung Ho in a future war against the Americans on a frozen planet. The North Koreans and the Chinese combined forces are taking a beating from an advancing formation of American tanks. There are four people in Choi Chung Ho's damaged tank and two are rookies. His under-gunned, practically crippled tank is the only thing that can prevent the American forces from completely sweeping the field.

Kim Il Sung (1912-1994)
The story of how Choi Chung Ho repairs his tank and goes back into the fight is interesting enough, but McCarthy spices things up by throwing in little tidbits like having the North Koreans cloning Kim Il Sung (the original member of the Kim family to rule North Korea) over and over again to lead North Korea. Kim Il Sung #58 is in charge now. It seems a little crazy at first, but then again, maybe not. North Korea is more than a little odd and they still refer to him as the "Eternal Leader" and his son has been given several posthumous jobs (yes, he still gets work, even though he is quite dead).

T.C. McCarthy
A frequent theme of the story is the ubiquitous presence of the North Korean propaganda machine and how the experienced soldiers just aren't buying it any more. This is not just a North Korean issue - in all wars the propaganda just loses most of its meaning when the bullets are flying and your friends are dying. It is interesting to watch the changes in one of the newbies as the story moves along.

I was also struck by the parallels to the Korean War. One of the most famous battles is the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. At the "Frozen Chosin" we have the position reversed - overwhelmed American forces barely escape an onslaught of Chinese and North Korean troops.

With top rate action and plenty to think on as you read, A People's Army is a great one sitting short story.

I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

You can find this short story on Amazon.com here: A People's Army

Reviewed on June 21, 2012.

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