Thursday, November 27, 2014

430 (2014 #58). The Secrets of Inchon

by Eugene Franklin Clark,
introduction and epilogue by Thomas Fleming

My father, a Korean War veteran, loaned me this book some time ago, and I decided to read it when I started working on publishing photos from my dad's military scrapbook on my family history blog.

The Secrets of Inchon is a fascinating first-person account of the undercover espionage occurring before the important Battle of Inchon in the Korean War.  Naval Commander Eugene F. Clark (then a lieutenant), was sent to a nearby island along with two South Korean officers to obtain and transmit information needed for the United Nations assault to retake this South Korean city from the North Koreans.

Clark passed away in 1998, but wrote this account in 1951.  His daughter says her "mom, brother and I were breathlessly awaiting each page of this book as it came off the typewriter in the den of our rented house in Arlington, Virginia in the fall of 1951. We had returned from Japan that summer. We had, of course, not been aware of my Dad's spy missions while we were in Japan."  Although he had a Department of Defense clearance to publish it, Clark never did.  Thomas Fleming wrote an article about Clark in a military history journal in 2000, and Clark's family remembered the manuscript in a safety deposit box and sent it to Fleming, who saw about having it published in 2002.

Clark writes quite well, and gives credit where due to his Korean comrades (given pseudonyms to protect their identity in 1951), including the island villagers and resistance fighters in other locations who aided him.  His narrative is quite readable and exciting.  There is a map (albeit not the best) at the beginning of the book to help with locating the many islands referred to in the story, although a larger map with more detail of the island Clark was operating from (Yonghung-do) would have been helpful.  There are also some black-and-white photos of Clark, his Korean teammates, and the Inchon battle.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

[This book was loaned to me by my dad and has been returned to him.]

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