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The Bridges at Toko-ri

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,879 ratings  ·  76 reviews
In one of his beloved early bestsellers, Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener crafts a tale of the American men who fought the Korean War, detailing their exploits in the air as well as their lives on the ground. Young and innocent, they arrive in a place they have barely ever heard of, on a ship massive enough to carry planes and helicopters. Trained as profess ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 12th 1991 by Ballantine Books (first published 1953)
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Community Reviews

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Mmars
While reading this I wondered what other fictional accounts were out there about the Korean War. I searched Listopia and found one list about the Korean war. In contains 92 books and all are nonfiction. Only 22 people have added books to it. There’s a Korean War group; it has two members.

It’s sad to think how little Americans know about it. This book by Michener was published in 1953. And so little since? Even during the war, fought shortly after World War II, Americans went on with their lives
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Tyler Lees
"Where did we get such men?"

This is a brief but epic look at those sent to fight our wars: their motivations, their fears, and their sacrifices. The novel is set among Navy pilots during the Korean War, but the characters would easily fit into the present.

For someone like me, used to Michener's massive epics, it is a blazingly fast read, with characters you lose far too soon.

I highly recommend it.
John Yelverton
I really wanted to like this book, I really did, but it was just so plain boring!
Sue
Set during the Korean War, the story recounts the activities of a group known as Task Force 77 and the pilots who fly. The first portion focuses on events on the aircraft carrier, the second portion on events ashore during liberty and the final portion on events in the sky as they fly the mission to destroy the supply bridges at Toko-ri.
I seem to remember this was assigned reading at some point in high school. I think there is something to be said for reading a book later, just for enjoyment r
...more
Armin Hennig
Ziemlich schlicht gestricktes Heldenlied, das als zusätzlicher Handlungsstrang von Sayonara vielleicht eine gute Figur gemacht hätte, aber auf sich gestellt doch etwas eindimensional daher kommt.
Von daher ein Stern, auch wenn sämtliche, nicht allzu hoch gesetzten, Ziele, sicherlich erreicht wurden.
Patrick
I really enjoyed this book. I am not a very big reader however Michener managed to keep my interest throughout this entire book. Michener does a very good job describing major events and what the characters are experiencing. If you are looking for an enjoyable book that is not to long I strongly suggest this book. You will not want to put this book down. The concept of this book is pretty simple. The soldiers are focused on The Bridges at Toko-Ri. If you want to find out why they are focused on ...more
Steve
About a year ago I taped Bridges of Toko-Ri onto DVR. Been sitting there ever since. I really don't like watching movies before reading the books. And as this is one of the last Micheners on my to-read/to-own list, I was positively giddy when I saw this as part of a compilation set for a buck at a garage sale (other stories: The Swimming Pool; Kiss Me Again, Stranger; Adventures in Two Worlds; The Silent World; Story of Aviation; Rivets;seven stories of du Massaupant). Got it home and read the f ...more
Walter
James Michener returns to the setting of war in the Pacific with his novel, "The Bridges at Toko Ri". In this novel Michener, himself a US Navy veteran of the Pacific theater in World War II, tells the story of a naval aviation mission to knock out the bridges at Toko-Ri in North Korea, a vital pass where the supplies of North Korea and China are funneled, and which was consequently well guarded by communist forces.

Michener is a master storyteller, and in this short novel, he carries on the trad
...more
Raymond
I must be frank that I first read this book when I was aboard a troop ship returning from Korea. It was my introduction to James Michener. Obviously I am not capable of a judgment apart but I do believe this is a fine story marvelously well-told. "The Bridges at Toko-Ri," is authentic of a part of the Korea experience for young Americans.
Jim
I read this book in 10th grade and admittedly the depth of the book's theme went over my head. In my HS days, I assumed the book was an adventure story based around the time of WWII. After re-reading the story, I realize now how far off I was at that time. It's really about the ignorance of the American public of the Korean War. The service men and women who fought and gave their lives, did so with all the patriotism and sacrifice of any other war. Yet, back on the home front, no one seemed to n ...more
Juergen John Roscher
Aug 03, 2015 Juergen John Roscher rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Michener Fans, Military (Naval) Historical Fiction Fans
Shelves: read_2015
The author, James A. Michener, sparked my love of reading years ago when I was in college with his book, ‘Sports in America’. I have read most all of Michener’s books but this one ‘The Bridges of Toko-Ri’ was a difficult one to find.

On the cover of the book it says this story is a stirring tribute to the carriers, the planes, and the men of the US Navy. The fictional story depicts several Navy men’s endeavors during the Korean conflict to destroy the Bridges at Toko-Ri used to supply the commun
...more
Richard
I always thought of this as one of the best war novels of the mid-Twentieth Century. A lot of great novels came out in the immediate decades following the Second World War, usually written by ex-GI's who could instill a sense of authenticity to their books. James Michener, a historian with the U.S. Navy in World War II, traveled extensively around the South Pacific and Asia and, later, in 1951, was a magazine correspondent reporting on the Korean War aboard an aircraft carrier which launched air ...more
Gale
"Defending a Defenseless War"

Korea in the 1950’s, when a small country was ripped apart by civil, Communist-inspired war. Also a time when many Americans carried on their normal lives--heedless of the torture and sacrifice going on half a world away. Task Force 77, under the direction of veteran Admiral Tarrant, has been assigned the critical mission of taking out the four bridges at Toko-Ri, deep in the mountains beyond Fujikama. His brave men must make several passes from one end of the vall
...more
Adrion Saenz
I'm not much for war stories, but this one was short and packed with fascinating characters and taut action. It held me all the way through. Having been raised in a military family, the lessons about war were not lost on me in the least. They hit very close to home, in fact. I think this may have been the perfect introduction to Michener for me. I look forward to exploring his other works.
Robert Lanni
May 15, 2015 Robert Lanni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Robert by: My Father
Shelves: adventure
My Father recommended this book to me when I was a school-aged kid. He had recognized my love of flight and thought it would be a good read. I was deeply moved by the struggles and courage of Brubaker, the novel's protagonist. I would re-read this book two more times in my adult life. The 1st edition hardcover sits in a place of honor in my library.
Cormacjosh
I think the shortest book Michener ever wrote is also one of the most powerful and engaging books I have read in a long time. As always Michener develops his characters very well, which helps reflect the sad and horrific realities of war. Very well done & highly recommended.
David L.
I was expecting a typical Michener magnum opus and got a long short story. Heavy on anti-Communist polemics symptomatic of the times (Korean War).

The Korean War technology was an interesting throwback.

I've seen the movie and I believe it was better.
Gracie
"Sometimes you look honor right in the face. In the face of another man. It is terrifying. ....so I have no choice. I have to go out tomorrow."
And the brave terrified man went up in his jet the next day to take out that bridge.
Short, thought provoking terrific read.
Mercedes
A perfect example of how pointless war is.
In this book: a lot of people don't know what they are fighting for..
E.g. when Brubaker asks Mike Forney why he hates the communist so much, he responds with this answer: "Simple. One Sunday morning in the cathedral I heard the cardinal explain it all." --> he doesn't has his as own opinion.

Another quote from the book that illustrates this:
" Harry Brubaker, a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer from Denver, Colorado, was alone in a spot he had never intent
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Christian McKay
I'm a fantasy man myself. In an effort to break habit I picked up a few books that stray from my beaten path. Not sure why I grabbed this one in particular, maybe the length.

The book starts out with thirty pages of planes trying to land on a pitching carrier ship near Korea. Usually I phase out during war jargon, but this book kept me in rapt attention from beginning to end.

There's nothing spectacular about the characters, except maybe how human they are. I believed in them and I was worried e
...more
Dianna
I read this book in one day and it was very easy reading. I suppose it was an ok read.
Mike
I cannot say how many times I have actually read this one -- at least once for school, and, at least, once for me -- but, it also made a pretty important anti-war movie, starring William Holden, Mickey Rooney, Grace Kelly, Frederick March, and several others.

It finally was ripped off recently in the movie with Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep -- Lions for Lambs. I knew The Bridges at Toko Ri too well to really enjoy this newer version, but I imagine young viewers might have liked it.
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Fred
Sounds a little too much like a lifer's story, but he was a good writer for the time.
Keith
I enjoyed this fine Korean war novel in the late 1960's.
David
A little preachy, but fast and compelling.
Rosanne Bartlett
His newer works are much better
Ken Hawkley
It was an unsurprising story.
Don Gubler
Pretty good Korean War story.
Mona Randall
Read twice!
John
The constant lingering thunderstorm of "why are we in Korea" and the horror that nobody in America cared are really effective - it's a snapshot at a transitionary era in American warfare, from the unity of WW2 to the hopelessness of Vietnam. Michener gets a little heavy-handed in that very '50s way at times, though the prose is always nice. The politics and gender roles are dated, which strips it of some of its power, but enhances its worth as a time capsule of a very specific time and place.
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7995
James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for t
...more
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