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The Bridges at Toko-ri

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  3,781 Ratings  ·  107 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
Nov 22, 2014 Mmars rated it it was amazing
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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Stacy
Feb 21, 2009 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love James Michener-- one of my favorite authors! A short book about the Korean War, and the pain and loss that are due to war. Sad.
Daavid
A very small book, but written in that typical Michener's way, with lesser depth than how he writes in his epics. Good book though. Writes about the Americans fighting the Korean War in the early 1950s.

The content is divided into three sections - SEA: in which we are introduced to the characters on an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean peninsula; LAND: in which the men of war take a shore leave in Yokosuka, Japan, before their final assault; AIR: in which we are led throug
...more
Tyler Lees
Jun 14, 2012 Tyler Lees rated it really liked it
"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
Jul 31, 2011 John Yelverton rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book, I really did, but it was just so plain boring!
Walter
Feb 22, 2014 Walter rated it really liked it
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
Sue
Oct 19, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2015 Armin Hennig rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Raymond
Aug 02, 2009 Raymond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sashankh Kale
Nov 30, 2016 Sashankh Kale rated it it was amazing
A terrific book that keeps you engrossed with its sharp writing. Hope to read more of the author in the near future.
Susan Bennett
May 08, 2016 Susan Bennett rated it really liked it
At only 124 pages long, I think this book qualifies as a Michener short story.
Sonia Hernandez
Jun 02, 2017 Sonia Hernandez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War. Does it matter when war takes place or where? Is the Korean War from 1950 any different from a current war? Does a soldier find himself like Brubaker or his wife in today's time?
These were the questions I asked myself while I read this story. No matter when it takes palace. For each generation, we have a war that defines us and maybe we forget about the wars that were fought long ago.
This story had me thinking/pondering the risk/lost/despair soldiers and families go through no matter if it
...more
Steve
Jun 04, 2017 Steve rated it it was amazing
I'd read this book years ago after seeing the movie. Great little book and it means more to me since I'm a little (about 35 years) older. This had to be Michener's shortest novel and the only one I've ever read. I guess I need to check out some of the others. He was a wonderful writer...at least in this book!
David Miller
Feb 13, 2017 David Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michener, famous for long sagas, could write a punchy novella too. "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" comes in under 100 pages. Still, it packs a punch: exciting military action; two rescue attempts, one at sea and one on land; a meditation on changing American attitudes to war.
Richard
A short and moving Korean War story.
Gilly
May 07, 2017 Gilly rated it it was amazing
😭😭😭
Midge
Mar 17, 2017 Midge rated it liked it
I found this book in my parents' bookcase. It's a well-written WWII story about the experiences of the flyers and men on the air-craft carrier "Hornet."
Keith Budzynski
Mar 15, 2017 Keith Budzynski rated it really liked it
Quick read. Some interesting undertones for the time and today.
Richard
Mar 20, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 23, 2013 Gale rated it liked it
Shelves: world-history
"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
Juergen John Roscher
Dec 24, 2014 Juergen John Roscher rated it really liked it  ·  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
Steve
Jun 17, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christopher Sutch
Sep 24, 2016 Christopher Sutch rated it liked it
This is a very brief propaganda novel that Michener intended to serve as an apologist's statement on the Korean War. Of course, by the time it was published the reason for its publication was nearly over. It doesn't serve Michener's purpose well even aside from that fact because it is obvious that Michener himself felt conflicted about the purpose of the war and the way it was being conducted. As the characters struggle with why this war is being staffed with draftees and why no one back in the ...more
Kristi Richardson
“All through history free men have had to fight the wrong war in the wrong place. But that’s the one they’re stuck with. That’s why, one of these days, we’ll knock out the bridges at Toko-ri.”

This was a great short listen at around 4 hours. The story is an early one by James Michener and tells the tale of the men aboard USS Savos, an airplane cruiser off the coast of Korea during the Korean War.

Harry Brubaker is a fighter pilot who is getting burned out and questioning why he is fighting this w
...more
Patrick
May 15, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
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
Jim
Mar 23, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-fiction
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
Mercedes
Jun 12, 2011 Mercedes rated it it was ok
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
...more
Christian McKay
Jun 29, 2009 Christian McKay rated it really liked it
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
Barbara
This book hurts to read but it is also a book which is as important now as it was when it was when it was when written over 50 years ago. Why do we fight? Why does it always seem that only some people seem called to take risks. Why do so many other people seem unaware of what is happening. Michener doesn't presume to have all the answers but he raises quire a few important questions.

If patriotism is unpleasant for you, pick soothing else.

For those who fear the length of his books, this is a shor
...more
Landon Wilkey
Nov 17, 2016 Landon Wilkey rated it it was amazing
A quick, but impactful read. Having read little on the Korean War compared to others, this was insightful. War will always have awful, common aspects. However, it will also always have the commonality of bravery, exhibited by both service man and civilian, and by those this side or that side. Michener gives a blatant and enlightening look into the minds of the various individuals involved directly or indirectly with the carrier operations of the Korean War.

By the end of the book you will ask the
...more
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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
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