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Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

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For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.   Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.   Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi. Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighter planes for his country. Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot to defend a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.   While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.   Devotion brings us into the foxholes with U.S. Marines and soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to save a Marine division cornered at the Chosin Reservoir and outnumbered ten to one. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.   A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend? From the Hardcover edition.


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For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.   Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.   Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi. Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighter planes for his country. Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot to defend a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.   While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.   Devotion brings us into the foxholes with U.S. Marines and soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to save a Marine division cornered at the Chosin Reservoir and outnumbered ten to one. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.   A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend? From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice. My thoughts on this book are rather long, because of the emotions that it has stirred in me: Pride of the fighting men, grief for their losses and happiness for the good that came from it. This is a true story about men fighting in the Korean War, the forgotten war. It’s called that because in 1950, WWII had just ended and no one wanted another war. Americans were tired of losing loved ones, men coming home missing eyes and limbs, scar Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice. My thoughts on this book are rather long, because of the emotions that it has stirred in me: Pride of the fighting men, grief for their losses and happiness for the good that came from it. This is a true story about men fighting in the Korean War, the forgotten war. It’s called that because in 1950, WWII had just ended and no one wanted another war. Americans were tired of losing loved ones, men coming home missing eyes and limbs, scarred with battle fatigue. It came about because of the rise of communism and the influence of Stalin on Mao on the North Koreans. North Korea, backed by Communist China and Russia, was invading South Korea and General MacArthur was told by President Truman to put a stop to the NK advance. We may be back in North Korea very soon, fighting once again for the same reasons. It began in June, 1950, and the initial push by the American Army, was overrun and practically chased out of the country by Soviet aircraft and Chinese soldiers. The US Marines, Naval and Army/Air Force fighters and bombers were brought in to provide support the Army. An African American sharecropper from Mississipi, Jesse Brown, decided he was going to fly airplanes after the first one buzzed the tobacco field where he was working. His parents were educated and with their influence and Jesse’s hard work, his dream came true. He became the first African American Naval carrier pilot. Tom Hudner a Naval Academy graduate, from the country club set in Fall River, Mass, also became a Naval carrier pilot stationed at Quonset Point, Naval Air Station, RI. Jesse Brown joined him there and Tom and Jesse became fast friends. The commanding officer of the air wing at Quonset Point told all of his pilots prior to Jesse’s arrival, that there was no color division, and they were all Naval aviators. “If anyone has a probllem with that they could pack their bags and go home now.” To me that was a sign of a great leader and the character of their commanding officer. The air wing from Quonset Point was assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Leyte. Their first deployment of Marines and Sailors was to the Mediterranean Sea with the 6th fleet. One of their first stops was Cannes, Fr. on the French Riveria. Not bad duty. All the (unmarried) men from the ahip set out to “fall in love”. There was a surprise for some of the Marines who were scanning the beach to see women in the newest bathing suit craze: the bikini. It was the fashion rage in France at the time. One of the Marines spotted someone he recgnized: Elizbeth Taylor catching rays on the beach. She was suddenly surrounded by US Marines. Elizabth was gracios and flattered and talked away with these brave me. Elizabeth was only nineteen and already famous from the movie National Velvet. She had married Nicky Hilton, and was on a vacation. He was already cheating on her and they would divorce in 6 months. She met more of the crew while she was in Cannes, and even visited the USS Leyte for a tour. John “Red” Parkinson who said the initial “hello” to Ms. Taylor in Cannes, and Charlie Kline were Marine infantry, on their first tour, and they became friends for life. Jesse and Tom didn’t know these Marines but they would provide air support to them and save their lives at the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Lieutenant Rober Reem, USMC, Red and Charlie’s squad leader, would save lives but by falling on a grenade in the gun pit that was being overrun by the NK. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. The author was able to vividly describe the fighting conditions at Chosin Reservoir in the winter of 1950/51. The temp was well below 0*F with windchill making conditions -20*F. There were 10,000 Marines there and 100,000+ Chunese and NK troops who surrounded the Marines and Army personnel. As the US men were attempting to evacuate, the enemy shot and mortared the lines, killing at will. The Forward Air Controller (FAC) called in air support and Tom and Jesse’s squadron of 30 dark blue Navy Corsairs came to the rescue. They bombed, shot up and rocketed the Chinese positions so our boys could get relieved, get a hot meal and medical care. The war would continue for 2 more years and Red and other Marines would return to fight. Jesse Brown was shot down and crash landed. The remaining aircraft in the squadron circled Jesse and called for rescue. Jesse was alive but still in the cockpit of his Corsair. Smoke was pouring out of the aircraft. His team did not understand why he didn’ get out. Tom realized Jesse was trapped and crashed his plane to help Jesse, and stay with him until the rescue chopper arrived. Tom watched helplessly as Jesse died due to injuries and the cold. Tom received the Medal of Honor after returning home because of his heroism. Jesse had a wife, Daisy and a 2 yr. old daughter Pam. Daisy was at the ceremony at the White House when Tom got the medal. The crew of the Leyte collected donations from the Captain to the seamen for Pam’s education. Jesse was highly respected by everyone exempilfied by the crew’s outporing of love and donations for Pam. I enjoyed this book very much, somewhat because I am a Navy veteran, and because this author took the time to write about these heroes and their devotion, friendship and sacrifice. Now is a good time to read this book since we may see fighting in Korea agin… But on a much different scale.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sweetwilliam

    Another winner by Adam Makos. I enjoyed Spearhead so much that I downloaded every book I could find by the same author. Devotion was the third of four books by Makos that I read back-to-back. Once again, I was thoroughly entertained and the reading never felt like it was a chore. The setting for this book is the Korean War and the focus is two Corsair pilots from the carrier Leyte. One was Ensign Jesse Brown, the son of a black sharecropper. Makos describes Jesse as the Jackie Robinson of Naval Another winner by Adam Makos. I enjoyed Spearhead so much that I downloaded every book I could find by the same author. Devotion was the third of four books by Makos that I read back-to-back. Once again, I was thoroughly entertained and the reading never felt like it was a chore. The setting for this book is the Korean War and the focus is two Corsair pilots from the carrier Leyte. One was Ensign Jesse Brown, the son of a black sharecropper. Makos describes Jesse as the Jackie Robinson of Naval Aviation because he broke the color barrier as the first black naval aviator. The other was Lieutenant Tom Hudner, an affluent heir to a supermarket chain. These two aviators couldn’t have come from more diverse backgrounds but that didn’t matter. They were comrades in arms. They say that there are no atheists in a fighting hole. I would like to add, that there are no racists either. The squadron loved and respected Ensign Brown. Even the Leyte’s skipper whose father was a prominent politician in the era of the Jim Crow South and an ardent segregationist had nothing but good things to say about Ensign Brown. Devotion is mostly an upbeat story with a sad ending. There is the typical gallows humor that can be found in all of Makos’ books. With the exception of the last letter that Jesse Brown wrote to his wife Daisy, the story really never gets too sappy. Also, Makos refrains from taking a sanctimonious attitude. Jesse was a great pilot and even though Tom outranked Jesse, Jesse was the section leader because he had more flying time. A few things I learned about the Corsairs. They were difficult to land on a carrier deck because long nose caused visibility problems and the pilot had to “feel” the tail hook and there were stall issues to deal with. Early on, Brown nearly killed himself when he made the transition to the Corsair and made his first carrier landing. The Corsairs were a great weapons platform. By the Korean War they were obsolete as pursuit aircraft but they were still outstanding for close air support as fighter bombers. Makos gives several examples of this during the fighting in the Chosen Reservoir. During the 1st MAR DIV famous advance in another direction, close air support was probably one of the biggest reasons that that the Marines weren’t overrun by the red devils. In addition to the two aviators, the author also follows the lives of several Marine infantry men in the Chosin. Coincidentally, these Marines were stationed on the Leyte or went on the same Mediterranean cruise that Jesse and Tom were on just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War. As chance would have it, these same Marines found themselves cutoff in the Chosin Resevoir, outnumbered ~10-1. Pilots like Tom and Jesse came to their aid day and night and Makos give you their perspective as well. There is a really odd part of this story when a wounded Marine is taken prisoner by the Chinese. Prior to the war, the young Marine was offered a professional baseball contract but he turned it down. Instead, he chose to serve his country and now he is wounded and frost bit in some desolate, God forsaken section of Korea. The Chinese wanted his cigarettes and Marine tells then that they are going to have to kill him. These Chinese had previously fought for the Chinese Nationals and they were familiar with the China Marines stationed in Shanghai from 1927-1941. Luckily, these Chinese had a high opinion of the Marine Corps and they didn’t kill him or take his cigarettes. He escaped when the Corsairs few over and the Chinese scattered to the wind shouting “Corsairs!” The young man survived but he would never play competitive baseball again. This is another good read by Mr. Makos. I can’t wait till his next project. He has a fan in me! 4 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Holloway

    I have been given an opportunity to review the book “Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice” by Adam Makos. I read this 420 book in two days, day one was while I was receiving my infusion of Rituximab. “Devotion” inspired me. It melted my heart. It gave me an adventure to be a part of. I deeply enjoyed reading about the friendship of Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown during the Korean War as pilots. I enjoyed reading the other stories of friendship between the soldiers of the war I have been given an opportunity to review the book “Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice” by Adam Makos. I read this 420 book in two days, day one was while I was receiving my infusion of Rituximab. “Devotion” inspired me. It melted my heart. It gave me an adventure to be a part of. I deeply enjoyed reading about the friendship of Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown during the Korean War as pilots. I enjoyed reading the other stories of friendship between the soldiers of the war. What captivating me the most is the friendship between Brown and Hudner. One was a share croppers son and African American and the other was a rich kid from New England. How did these two become such great friends? Friendship and devotion like this was uncommon back in the 50’s, but it happened. This book is just as wonderful as “Unbroken” and just as powerful. So worth the time to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liberty

    I shed tears through the entire book. Such nobility and bravery makes one proud to be a part of the greatest country in the world. Adam Makos is one of my favorite modern authors. He takes history and it's characters and creates a beautiful story of what it means to be American. I shed tears through the entire book. Such nobility and bravery makes one proud to be a part of the greatest country in the world. Adam Makos is one of my favorite modern authors. He takes history and it's characters and creates a beautiful story of what it means to be American.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ben

    Look out and there's an even better military aviation/history book in town! This book follows the world's "forgotten war" in Korea and balances fascinating history, firsthand accounts, real life characters and action perfectly. Meet Jesse Brown, history's first black aircraft carrier pilot and supreme badass: This book largely focuses on his experience growing up poor in the racist deep south to becoming one of the first black officers and pilots during the Korean War, but also interweaves the st Look out and there's an even better military aviation/history book in town! This book follows the world's "forgotten war" in Korea and balances fascinating history, firsthand accounts, real life characters and action perfectly. Meet Jesse Brown, history's first black aircraft carrier pilot and supreme badass: This book largely focuses on his experience growing up poor in the racist deep south to becoming one of the first black officers and pilots during the Korean War, but also interweaves the stories of a Medal of Honour recipient, a medic/heavy weapons dude, and a guy who turned aside an offer from the Red Sox to join the Marines. The book does an excellent job focusing mostly on these characters, so it's not bogged down with too much backstory or efforts to include everyone like: *cough *cough. Overall, Devotion took me on an emotional dogfight. It takes you through heart thumping moments to face leaking ones, all while offering fascinating insights into the Korean War and an intense true story involving a kinship that surpassed racial barriers. It's amazing non-fiction like this that make me wonder why I read so much fantasy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    What an excellent book, 4 Stars for this riveting flying story. You can put yourself into the cockpit with Tom Hudner or Jesse Brown, caught between the sheer thrill of flying a fighter and the tension of flying into battle over North Korea. Not just flying and fighting but also you join the Marines at Chosin and the pitched battles after the Chinese join the fight. The two fights are brought together on the fateful day that Jesse is shot down and Tom crash lands next to him to try and save him. What an excellent book, 4 Stars for this riveting flying story. You can put yourself into the cockpit with Tom Hudner or Jesse Brown, caught between the sheer thrill of flying a fighter and the tension of flying into battle over North Korea. Not just flying and fighting but also you join the Marines at Chosin and the pitched battles after the Chinese join the fight. The two fights are brought together on the fateful day that Jesse is shot down and Tom crash lands next to him to try and save him. Tom's story is good but Jesse's is all the more impressive. Where he came from and his family, wife, siblings are the heart of the book for me. Having flown in Korea, above and below the clouds, in the mountains, in bad weather, working as an airborne FAC to bring airpower to support the guys on the ground (in peacetime admittedly), this story was vivid.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    I was engaged in finishing a fine book of historical fiction set during the closing months of the American Civil War when "Devotion" appeared in my mail box. It sat on my book shelf unopened for at least another 10 days before I finished the other book and finally had a chance to crack the cover of this one. If I had known what I was in for by reading this book I would have dropped the other one mid-way through and devoured this one! The other book was very good and commendable, but this one wil I was engaged in finishing a fine book of historical fiction set during the closing months of the American Civil War when "Devotion" appeared in my mail box. It sat on my book shelf unopened for at least another 10 days before I finished the other book and finally had a chance to crack the cover of this one. If I had known what I was in for by reading this book I would have dropped the other one mid-way through and devoured this one! The other book was very good and commendable, but this one will, I hope be on everyone's fall reading list. "Devotion" is non-fiction, based on events that occurred mainly during the early days of the Korean War, a conflict largely overlooked by most Americans, most of whom know it solely through their experiences with the TV comedy M*A*S*H* It is obvious that Makos and his team did a splendid job of researching the story lines included in this book. The central story though involves the first African American naval aviator, Jesse Brown. Military history buffs know about the WWII all-African American fighter pilots known as the Red Tails, but Ensign Jesse Brown, a graduate of Ohio State University and devoted husband and father was the first African American to qualify as a carrier pilot. This was in 1950 - an America of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Amidst this background Jesse Brown, a man born in extremely humble circumstances in Mississippi, crossed paths with Thomas Hudner, Jr., a white pilot born into the world of wealth and privilege, and graduate of the US Naval Academy. This is their story, but it is much more than that. Makos weaves their experiences into experiences of several other US Military personnel fighting in Korea, mainly marines who were the target of the Chinese army that crossed into N Korea in an effort to eradicate US Military forces. I won't tell you any more than this, but this is IMO a literary, historical,. and personal work that should be read by everyone. I will recommend it to all my friends. I seldom do this, but this book is worth it. It is on par with other recent excellent books such as "Unbroken" and "Boys in the Boat." It goes far beyond names, dates and places. and gives us precious glimpses into a particularly tense time and the people who lived them. 5+ Stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pramodya

    Please excuse me on my not so very organised review as I've been crying my eyes out for the last 10 minutes... I have come to a conclusion. I will read ANYTHING written by this man. Adam Makos is an ingenious writer, journalist and researcher. He and his teams unbelievable and relentless dedication to their work speaks throughout this book and their other books. First of all even though I'm a history buff, I knew next to nothing about the korean war, which I suppose gives truth to its other names Please excuse me on my not so very organised review as I've been crying my eyes out for the last 10 minutes... I have come to a conclusion. I will read ANYTHING written by this man. Adam Makos is an ingenious writer, journalist and researcher. He and his teams unbelievable and relentless dedication to their work speaks throughout this book and their other books. First of all even though I'm a history buff, I knew next to nothing about the korean war, which I suppose gives truth to its other names- 'The forgotten war/The forgotten victory' Therefore I went into this knowing little and excited to learn more about this lesser known but important event in world history... I came out of it not only gaining knowledge about it, but also learning about a heartfelt and inspiring story of 'Devotion' It is a story about war. But it is also a story of love, loyalty and family. The story centers around two navy pilots, Tom Hudner- a white american boy with an all american upbringing and Jesse Brown- the first black american navy pilot of the U.S. It is a story about a black pilot defending his country, which did not return the favour back at that period of time. It is a story about his comradeship with his fellow brothers in arm which will etch itself into history. It's full of action, heroism and the horrors of war. The author leaves the emotional elements especially concentrated in the last few chapters and let me tell you, I could not hold back my tears, for the injustices of this world, the justice deserved by those who have fallen and given their lives for the greater causes. I knew even before I started this book it was going to be good, but it was even better. This is to hoping for a better world, a better future and justice to those who were expendable and for those burdened under the oppressions of the injustice regimes and leaders. We need more Jesse Browns and Tom Hudners in this world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The story of fighter pilots flying ground support missions in Korea during “the forgotten war,” the story is really about two unlikely friends and a great sacrifice. A New Englander whose father was a well-respected merchant and his friend, a son of a Mississippi sharecropper who became one of the first five African-American officers in the Marine Corps, developed a relationship while being stationed stateside in 1949, and that friendship continued on their tour of duty on the USS Leyte, a “smal The story of fighter pilots flying ground support missions in Korea during “the forgotten war,” the story is really about two unlikely friends and a great sacrifice. A New Englander whose father was a well-respected merchant and his friend, a son of a Mississippi sharecropper who became one of the first five African-American officers in the Marine Corps, developed a relationship while being stationed stateside in 1949, and that friendship continued on their tour of duty on the USS Leyte, a “small” carrier in post-war European service. Along the way, they encounter Elizabeth Taylor and have their share of experiences with pilot misadventures and tragedies. Jesse – the Mississippian – experiences racism along the way. We are also introduced along the way to a squad of Marines that join the Leyte for war games in Crete, and we later revisit their struggles as the Cold War threatens to become the Third World War. As the conflict in Korea flared up, the pilots were tasked to fly ground support missions at low altitudes in the area around the contested Chosin Reservoir where thousands of Chinese soldiers assaulted the US Army – and the Marines that once sailed with the pilots – during one of the coldest winters on record. When Jesse Brown (the aforementioned Mississippian) is shot down, Tom Rudner – the New Englander – knows that he will either die from exposure or torture at the hands of the Chinese (who would not take kindly to the pilots who had been dropping napalm on them), so Rudner takes his plane down also, 17 miles behind enemy lines. This is a great story, but it takes up a small percentage of the book, which is a kind of “puff piece” for the remainder of it, telling us the background of the two main pilots but also introducing us to the other members of the squadron and helping us to understand the why component of the story. I enjoyed it a lot, and although it almost could have been told in half the pages, it was worth reading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    JD

    WOW WOW WOW!! What another great book by Adam Makos, so glad I chose to bump this book up my to read list. At first I was unsure about this book because I thought the story will be underpinned by the racial issues of that time, but I decided to buy it because of Makos' great first book that is one of the best books I have read. But the racial issues played a very small part in the book and is only mentioned sometimes. This story is such a beautiful, inspiring yet tragic story and is about friend WOW WOW WOW!! What another great book by Adam Makos, so glad I chose to bump this book up my to read list. At first I was unsure about this book because I thought the story will be underpinned by the racial issues of that time, but I decided to buy it because of Makos' great first book that is one of the best books I have read. But the racial issues played a very small part in the book and is only mentioned sometimes. This story is such a beautiful, inspiring yet tragic story and is about friendships that goes beyond all boundaries and courage of not just a single man, but of a whole generation that fought the Korean War. This is yet another great book by Adam Makos and I cannot wait to see what he brings out next, he is really one of the great writers and story tellers of this era and the way he tells his stories are awesome.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~

    I started this one with the audiobook which I borrowed from my library. For those of you who complain about audios that are performed, this is the audiobook for you. Hoffman's narration was technical and dry with zero emoting at all. It was incredibly difficult for me to listen to. I found my mind often wondering and having to rewind several times, and even then I couldn't keep my attention on the story for very long. I got to about 75% and gave up, switching over to the paperback. I spent most o I started this one with the audiobook which I borrowed from my library. For those of you who complain about audios that are performed, this is the audiobook for you. Hoffman's narration was technical and dry with zero emoting at all. It was incredibly difficult for me to listen to. I found my mind often wondering and having to rewind several times, and even then I couldn't keep my attention on the story for very long. I got to about 75% and gave up, switching over to the paperback. I spent most of yesterday skim-reading the first 340 pages to pick up all the stuff I missed while listening, and finished up the last few chapters last night and this morning and looked at the various photos and maps that the audio obviously doesn't have. The writing flowed much better once I was reading it. The Korean War is known as the Forgotten War, or as the veterans of that war call it, the Forgotten Victory. Many of them were already veterans from WWII, and many others had been too young to fight in WWII but were now fighting in this war. I didn't know much about the Korean War before going into this, so it was interesting to learn more about it, what forces were involved, what the stakes were and all that. This war also started just a few years after Pres. Truman desegregated the military, but there was still Jim Crow in the south, and segregation laws throughout much of the US, including D.C. and California. The book gives some accounts of the early lives of Tom Hudner, a white man from a wealthy New England family, and Jesse Brown, the navy's first black officer, from a poor sharecropper family in Mississippi. They would become friends once they both got assigned to the U.S.S. Leyte. It also focuses on a number of the other pilots in their squadron, and how they all bonded in their first year together. Once the book gets to North Korea and the battles that took place there in the first year of the war, up to the battle of Chosin, it includes accounts of the Marines that the pilots of Squadron 32 helped to defend. There's also an account about a third of the way into the book of their stay in Cannes where many of them met a young Elizabeth Taylor, and I felt that part was rather meandering and didn't really amount to much. Makos doesn't stray into dramatics. He reports the facts and relays them in an approachable manner. He interviewed many of the men he portrays here, as well as their friends and family, and even went to North Korea to interview veterans there when Hudner returned there years later, which is true dedication. The writing is simple but not unmoving when it needs to be.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jonny

    Back in the 80's, there was a gameshow on British TV called Bullseye. It revolved around a general knowledge quiz mixed with a game of darts, and it was made on a budget only slightly higher than the one I've awarded myself for this review. None of which had anything directly to do with the book, but the compare, Jim Bowen, had a catchphrase he used just before he showed the unsuccessful contestants the weeks star prize (usually something like a shed or, bizarrely, a speedboat). Jim would put on Back in the 80's, there was a gameshow on British TV called Bullseye. It revolved around a general knowledge quiz mixed with a game of darts, and it was made on a budget only slightly higher than the one I've awarded myself for this review. None of which had anything directly to do with the book, but the compare, Jim Bowen, had a catchphrase he used just before he showed the unsuccessful contestants the weeks star prize (usually something like a shed or, bizarrely, a speedboat). Jim would put on a look of false contrition and intone the magic phrase "Let's see what you would of won." This book disappointed me that much. The book tells the story of an act of courage and unbreakable friendship which took place during the seige of the embattled UN X Corps around the Chosin Reservoir in the winter if 1950, and tells the story of the two main protagonists, their squadron mates and a group of US Marines in the period before their deployment and during the seige. Sadly, I found the central story to be weak, and as told was little more than a highly padded magazine story. Worse of all, it seemed to miss the actual important stories it purported to tell, and failed totally to place any context on the events of that first terrible winter if the Korean War. I'm aware that US forces at the time still suffered from racism, and the story of how Jesse Brown came to be the first black pilot in the US Navy, in spite of the prevailing attitudes of the time, would have been fascinating and added a lot more to the storyline. As it would if Mr Makos could have actually made me think that Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner were actually firm friends. As written, I got the impression that they hadn't actually moved far beyond being messmates. My overall impression of the book was that it was little more than an extended movie pitch. It's sad that I obtained a better overall picture of the heroic stand off the Marines at Chosin, and the outstanding support work of the US Navy and Air Force pilots, from a book about British Commonwealth forces in Korea in 1950. At least it's an easy read, but it's sub-par historical part fiction.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    A well-researched and engrossing volume, telling the story of the first black carrier pilot and his white friend. Makos’ style is immersive and aimed at a broad audience. The tale of Hudner and Brown is told in the form of flashbacks, meaning Makos goes into detail regarding their personal lives and the origins of their color-blind friendship. At the same time, Makos tells the tale of the 1st Marine Division during the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, although this doesn’t get as much space (the A well-researched and engrossing volume, telling the story of the first black carrier pilot and his white friend. Makos’ style is immersive and aimed at a broad audience. The tale of Hudner and Brown is told in the form of flashbacks, meaning Makos goes into detail regarding their personal lives and the origins of their color-blind friendship. At the same time, Makos tells the tale of the 1st Marine Division during the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, although this doesn’t get as much space (the stories do, fortunately, intersect). Given the nature of the story, the more romantically-minded will be tempted to cast the story of Hudner and Brown in a cinematic, inspiring light and write with a sentimental style, invoking themes of patriotism, brotherhood and sacrifice in the most heavy-handed way. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Makos does, and the tale often seems hagiographic. Makos’s style is rather conversational and folksy, and it does seem too simple at times, but he does succeed in bringing out the humanity of the story, as well as the chaos of the war. The prose is choppy and rapid-fire, and seems a bit too “stream-of-consciousness” at times. In the introduction Makos writes that he loves dialogue. This is only too true, and the writing almost always feels too “novelized”---short sentences, short chapters, and a style that reminds you of a junior-high reading level. It does make the story accessible, if not always enjoyable. There also some odd statements here and there (“enlisting as an officer,” for example). Much of the dialogue seems invented, and some of it barely seems credible, almost like Makos was trying to pitch a movie script. While inspiring, this tale did not have to be written in the breathless style of a docudrama.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    A wonderfully researched historical read about friendships that cross barriers during a time in America's history when there were racial barriers. First book I've ever read about the Korean War. I learned so much and appreciated all the footnotes. An early reader copy was received from Goodreads. My husband also read this and really enjoyed it. A wonderfully researched historical read about friendships that cross barriers during a time in America's history when there were racial barriers. First book I've ever read about the Korean War. I learned so much and appreciated all the footnotes. An early reader copy was received from Goodreads. My husband also read this and really enjoyed it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Paisley

    The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War,” and I have to confess that virtually everything I knew about it I learned from watching M*A*S*H while growing up. However, after reading Devotion, I will certainly never forget that war. Jesse Brown is the son of black sharecroppers in Mississippi; Tom Hudner is the wealthy heir to a grocery store chain in New England. Their divergent lives crossed when they were both pilots in the same Navy squadron in the Korean War. Jesse was the first black The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War,” and I have to confess that virtually everything I knew about it I learned from watching M*A*S*H while growing up. However, after reading Devotion, I will certainly never forget that war. Jesse Brown is the son of black sharecroppers in Mississippi; Tom Hudner is the wealthy heir to a grocery store chain in New England. Their divergent lives crossed when they were both pilots in the same Navy squadron in the Korean War. Jesse was the first black pilot in the Navy. Tom was another in a long line of New England patrician officers attending the US Naval Academy on his way to becoming a Navy pilot. While they could hardly be more different, war has a way of serving as the great equalizer. Tom finds himself in a position junior to Jesse, which he accepts matter-of-factly. One of the great things about the military is that the extreme situations soldiers find themselves in quickly strips away prejudice and allows men to focus on men. This story--as intriguing as a novel--follows them through their time in the Navy together in the Korean War. But the story is really about a lot more than just these two men and their lives and their families--it’s about the thousands of men who fought and died in Korea. Devotion is easy to read and well-written. Several scenes conveyed such a high level of tension, I realized that I was literally on the edge of my seat as I was reading them. These are interspersed with a careful and colorful reflection of life in the early 1950s. It is well-researched and thoroughly engaging, nicely illustrated with photos and appropriate maps. I appreciate that beyond the main characters, Devotion pays quiet tribute to the thousands of men who served in this war and the 37,000 that gave the ‘last full measure of devotion.’ As someone with very limited knowledge of this war, I was fascinated by the story of the heroics at the Chosin Reservoir--the US Marines’ finest hour. Devotion is a story about men in war, it’s about average men who do extraordinary things when in the heat of battle. Men who do incredibly selfless things for the sake of others. Don’t we need more stories like this? Highly recommended. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book with the expectation I would provide an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Milmine

    I was a lucky winner in Goodreads to receive this brilliantly written book. This book was an amazing read taking us on a journey through the lives of these brave men. Taking us on the real journey of the Korean War and what they went through. Thank you so much for this book and the true history lesson. I certainly will not forget these brave men and am looking forward to the pictures and video of your visit to North Korea with Lieutenant Thomas Hudner Jr. I give this book a 10 star!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luann

    This is more of a 4.5 for me. I can be really stingy with my 5 stars, but what an amazing story this is! My 14-year-old son read it at the same time I was reading it, and he loved it, too. I highly recommend this book for both adults and mid-late teens, especially boys. In addition to increasing understanding of the Korean War (it seems nearly impossible to find books on that topic) and racial prejudice during the time period, it inspires valor and nobility.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Revelation of American heroes in a forgotten war I was in high school when WWII ended and married about two years to a WWII vet when our troops were fighting in Korea. There wasn’t much in the newsreels about it except vets coming home complained about the extreme cold and I remember news accounts of some of the battles. The author of this story, who spent five years researching it and interviewing many men who were involved in this war or the training of aviators who were learning to fly on and o Revelation of American heroes in a forgotten war I was in high school when WWII ended and married about two years to a WWII vet when our troops were fighting in Korea. There wasn’t much in the newsreels about it except vets coming home complained about the extreme cold and I remember news accounts of some of the battles. The author of this story, who spent five years researching it and interviewing many men who were involved in this war or the training of aviators who were learning to fly on and off a carrier, took what he learned and wrote a non-fiction story about the manner in which these naval aviators were trained to handle the carrier landing weaknesses and strengths and also how difficult it was for them when they were given the heavier Corsairs to fly. Many of these carrier airmen are identified in this story, including their method of flying together and how they protected each other. Also many factors relative to the war itself is included that I either didn’t know or didn’t understand their importance. This tale answered a lot of questions for me. What these reviews seem to leave out is that Jesse Brown was a black sharecropper’s son who worked hard as a teenager and young adult to get an advanced education. He wanted to become a pilot, which Blacks usually couldn’t get except for the Black Tuskegee airmen who fought in Europe in WWII. Because of his good grades and intensity, he was allowed to become the only Black Naval Ensign aviator for aircraft carriers. There were only eight Naval Black aviators otherwise. Tm Hudner, from a wealthy family on the East coast, refused Harvard and joined the Navy to become an aviator. When flying the Corsairs, which were most difficult to land and take-off the carriers, Tom Hudner was Jesse’s wingman and consequently, they had an emotional and practical attachment. Jesse was easy to get along with and did not allow himself to become upset when refused acknowledgement of being because of his skin color. He had married a young Black woman, Daisy, whom he loved with all his heart. When they were sent to Korea, all of the Corsair pilots flew until they were exhausted, attempting to help our Marines who were fighting in Korea under most adverse conditions, much worse than they usually met in Europe because of the weather and mountainous countryside. This story covers Jesse being shot down in Korea and Tom crash landing his plane to try to help him rather than let the Chinese get him. Because of the dialogue and the actions of other men in this story, it reads more like a fiction story and by their conversations, they reveal their emotions. This is a tremendous story, especially for those of us who are history buffs and I heartily recommend it. I was given complimentary copy by Vine for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Paxton

    This is Makos' second book, following on from A Higher Call. That one I described in a Goodreads review as a great book riddled with errors and typos. This one has fewer errors and no typos that I noticed, but it does have its own irritations. Devotion is the story of one of the great acts of courage of the Korean War: Tom Hudner's attempt to rescue his friend Jesse Brown from the cockpit of his crashed F4U Corsair, a moment of supreme courage for which Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor. The This is Makos' second book, following on from A Higher Call. That one I described in a Goodreads review as a great book riddled with errors and typos. This one has fewer errors and no typos that I noticed, but it does have its own irritations. Devotion is the story of one of the great acts of courage of the Korean War: Tom Hudner's attempt to rescue his friend Jesse Brown from the cockpit of his crashed F4U Corsair, a moment of supreme courage for which Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor. The second half of the book, in which Makos very skillfully weaves together the story of VF-32's deployment to Korea leading up to the fateful mission with the gripping saga of the embattled Marines on the ground around the Chosin Reservoir who Brown, Hudner, and the rest of VF-32 were supporting, is uniformly excellent. The first half, in which Makos tells the backstory, is less compelling and at times gives the reader a feeling of drowning in treacle. Jesse Brown was the first African American Naval aviator, Tom Hudner was a bit of a preppy from New England, and their wildly disparate lives are told in a fairly stereotypical fashion. You have to get past this to get to the meat of the book; it's necessary, but it could have been written with more feeling and less fluff. Makos' decision to "protect" his readers from military terminology also grates. Better to explain to readers that the box sticking up from the carrier's deck is an "island" instead of calling it the "tower," and the use of "dining room" for wardroom is pretty horrible. In some ways Makos is a clunky writer, but I suspect what he really needs is a better editor because there are passages in the book that are just wonderful and overall it is clear and readable. I might add that, in contrast to many recent books, Devotion is well illustrated with an array of contemporary photos, well chosen, and reproduced both in the body of the text and in plates. Makos has done a great job with his first two books in selecting compelling and dramatic true stories. I'm going to be looking forward to his next, because while I've pointed out some flaws, he tells stories that need to be remembered.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Zimmerman

    This may be the best book yet authored by Adam Makos. He tells a good story exceptionally well, and in the telling touches on important themes relevant to our times. One of the central characters, Jesse Brown, was the first African American carrier pilot. His path from a childhood in Mississippi to war hero in Korea was made difficult by racism and prejudice. A lesser man might have quit, and many would have been embittered by the experience. Jesse did neither. He just proved himself to be a bet This may be the best book yet authored by Adam Makos. He tells a good story exceptionally well, and in the telling touches on important themes relevant to our times. One of the central characters, Jesse Brown, was the first African American carrier pilot. His path from a childhood in Mississippi to war hero in Korea was made difficult by racism and prejudice. A lesser man might have quit, and many would have been embittered by the experience. Jesse did neither. He just proved himself to be a better man than others expected him to be. Makos does an exceptional job of dealing with this sensitive subject, reminding us of how far we have come, and have far we have yet to go. I suspect that when it comes to the Korean War, many are as ignorant as I am. Again, Makos excels at telling just enough to educate his readers on this forgotten conflict and the men who fought it in its early stages. I experienced shock and disbelief at the politics involved, and nothing but admiration and grief for the men who put their lives on the line as American soldiers. Although a relative minor theme in the book, the author deals candidly and honestly with the faith of the characters when such faith was important to them. It would have been easy for Makos to omit it. I am glad he did not. Like the themes of family and friendship, it adds a nostalgic element that reminds us of some of what we have lost in our culture today. The story itself is told with pathos. At times I cheered the heroes. I laughed at their antics. I read breathlessly in moments of danger, hanging on to hope, but dreading the worst. More than once, my eyes moistened and I had to brush a tear from my eye. For all the rancor and division in my nation, this story once again made me proud to be identified with the brave men and women who grace the pages of Devotion. The audio version is flawless. The narrator doesn't try to play a part; he simply reads this story the way it should be told. Five enthusiastic stars for Devotion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I was given the opportunity to read "Devotion" through an advanced reader's copy from a Goodreads give-away. I would have finished this book much quicker if I was not in the middle of peeling wallpaper and painting. "Devotion" is a well-written and researched book about the Korean War. Although it centers around the friendship of two Naval aviators, Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner, there are many others stories being told in the book. I was thoroughly impressed in how Adam Makos incorporated their st I was given the opportunity to read "Devotion" through an advanced reader's copy from a Goodreads give-away. I would have finished this book much quicker if I was not in the middle of peeling wallpaper and painting. "Devotion" is a well-written and researched book about the Korean War. Although it centers around the friendship of two Naval aviators, Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner, there are many others stories being told in the book. I was thoroughly impressed in how Adam Makos incorporated their stories with just as much importance as the main characters. So much happened during the Korean War that I did not know and feel like I learned more in this book that would ever be mentioned in a history book. Strongly recommend this book for any history buff and for people like me who want to laugh and cry. The friendship that Jesse and Tom shared, especially during a time of racial tension and social backgrounds, was awesome. Tom flying over the golf course at the end of the book made me laugh and I imagined Jesse laughing also. Daisy did indeed marry a very special man when she married Jesse.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    This is my third book by Makos ... and while I liked "A Higher Call" best of the three, this one is a close second. Makos continues here with his usual routine of drawing the reader in with an engaging war story told with multiple layers ... most of which intersect toward the end of the tale. In "Devotion" he builds his story like plywood - he layers in two Marine carrier pilots during the Korean War (one white and one black) ... and on top of that layers in the two types of battles the Marines This is my third book by Makos ... and while I liked "A Higher Call" best of the three, this one is a close second. Makos continues here with his usual routine of drawing the reader in with an engaging war story told with multiple layers ... most of which intersect toward the end of the tale. In "Devotion" he builds his story like plywood - he layers in two Marine carrier pilots during the Korean War (one white and one black) ... and on top of that layers in the two types of battles the Marines were undertaking (on the ground as well as in the air). Makos knows how to craft a story and his research shows through. The narrative is a page turner, and Makos does not telegraph his punches ... keeping the reader in to the end. While I wish he had more confidence in his readers and didn't substitute goofy sounding lay terms for the military lingo - i.e. dining room for wardroom - this tale involving the Korean War adds to the bookshelves on that rarely told war. This was good reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian Sison

    I received an advance readers copy of this book through a Goodreads give-away. I thought this was going to be a moving story of two Navy Pilots during the Korean War. It was that to be sure, but also so much more. This was an epic tale touching on the stories of multiple Navy Pilots in this platoon as well as a company of Marines deployed in North Korea at the same time. The author details many soldiers' histories and gives each man ample respect and reverence as the momentary star of the story. I I received an advance readers copy of this book through a Goodreads give-away. I thought this was going to be a moving story of two Navy Pilots during the Korean War. It was that to be sure, but also so much more. This was an epic tale touching on the stories of multiple Navy Pilots in this platoon as well as a company of Marines deployed in North Korea at the same time. The author details many soldiers' histories and gives each man ample respect and reverence as the momentary star of the story. I learned so much more about the Korean War from this book than I did in any history class. (Not exactly hard since I never got past WWI in any history class I took, but still.) The author did a tremendous job making this book informative, captivating, and emotional - truly unputdownable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

    I received an ARC from the publisher for a fair review. Adam Makos, who had a surprise bestseller two years back in the WW II book, "A Higher Call", returns with the story of Lt. Tom Hudner, a well off white New Englander and Ensign Jesse Brown, two Naval Aviators, who forged a bond of friendship in the midst of the Korean War. This is a little known, but well told,story of early days of the integrated U.S. Armed Forces. It is also a compelling story of brotherhood and friendship in a very diffe I received an ARC from the publisher for a fair review. Adam Makos, who had a surprise bestseller two years back in the WW II book, "A Higher Call", returns with the story of Lt. Tom Hudner, a well off white New Englander and Ensign Jesse Brown, two Naval Aviators, who forged a bond of friendship in the midst of the Korean War. This is a little known, but well told,story of early days of the integrated U.S. Armed Forces. It is also a compelling story of brotherhood and friendship in a very different America. Excellent story recommended from junior high on up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    4.5 as the daughter of an Air Force bombardier who fought in the Korean and the second world war, I found this book tragically compelling. It honors those extraordinary man who fought in what is oftentimes called the forgotten war. It is a war I will never forget.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Not as good as Makos's last book because the source material was not as good. Still, Makos is a skilled writer and I look forward to his next book. Not as good as Makos's last book because the source material was not as good. Still, Makos is a skilled writer and I look forward to his next book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    The Korean Conflict comes alive in the pages of this account of the devotion shared by two pilots who flew from the carrier Leyte. On December 4, 1950, one of the two crashed while supporting ground troops fighting the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. The other crash landed his plane to attempt to save his buddy. Makos carefully and in riveting detail gives us the background of these two very different pilots as well as the life histories of many of the men they served with. Midway through the book, The Korean Conflict comes alive in the pages of this account of the devotion shared by two pilots who flew from the carrier Leyte. On December 4, 1950, one of the two crashed while supporting ground troops fighting the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. The other crash landed his plane to attempt to save his buddy. Makos carefully and in riveting detail gives us the background of these two very different pilots as well as the life histories of many of the men they served with. Midway through the book, I began looking at the list of real-life characters and their fates in the afterword, because I could not bear the tension of not knowing what happened to each one. What a perfect recommendation for me to make to you as Veteran's Day approaches and as our president visits South Korea. Reading this book will fill you with pride and admiration.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clyde

    Devotion tells a very compelling true story. In fact, the book actually tells two stories. The first is the story of two unlikely friends -- Naval aviators Lieutenant Tom Hudner, winner of the Medal of Honor, and Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy's first black aircraft carrier pilot. We learn of their origins -- Tom Hudner a son of white privilege from the North East and Jesse Brown a son of the poorest of poor Mississippi share-croppers. Then we learn how they became fighter pilots, how they became Devotion tells a very compelling true story. In fact, the book actually tells two stories. The first is the story of two unlikely friends -- Naval aviators Lieutenant Tom Hudner, winner of the Medal of Honor, and Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy's first black aircraft carrier pilot. We learn of their origins -- Tom Hudner a son of white privilege from the North East and Jesse Brown a son of the poorest of poor Mississippi share-croppers. Then we learn how they became fighter pilots, how they became friends, and how together they learned the harsh realities of war. The second story tells of the hardships and bitter fighting endured by some young marines who were among those cut off and surrounded by the Chinese army during the harsh North Korean winter of 1950. The two stories touch on each other at several points -- the key one being when the aviators provide close air support for the imperiled marines. They are stories of true courage, friendship, heroism, and sacrifice. A well-written book about events that few know about nowadays, and a good read for military history buffs. A solid four stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rhoda

    This is a timely book today. If a squadron of white Navy pilots could integrate with the first Black naval pilot so successfully in the Korean War, what is wrong with our world today? Those pilots judged Jesse Brown based on his abilities and character, not the color of his skin. I am amazed at the training and dedication of the military after reading several books by Navy seals and Unbroken. This followed in that vein. This book focused on the people rather than the war except for one section. Wh This is a timely book today. If a squadron of white Navy pilots could integrate with the first Black naval pilot so successfully in the Korean War, what is wrong with our world today? Those pilots judged Jesse Brown based on his abilities and character, not the color of his skin. I am amazed at the training and dedication of the military after reading several books by Navy seals and Unbroken. This followed in that vein. This book focused on the people rather than the war except for one section. While I didn't necessarily follow the details off the fighting, I keyed in on the difficulties off fighting in winter both on the ground and in the air. Definitely recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    did not finish

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