Last night’s Out of the Book event, in honor of Veteran’s Day, was a great success. With an audience of more than 60 people, a fascinating look at David Halberstam and his book The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, and a rousing panel discussion that lasted for an hour, it was a fun and informative night. It made me wish that this kind of program was in place when I was in college — I might have enjoyed my American History classes more!
Our panelists were, from left to right, Wallace Gatrell (Korean War veteran), Alan Coombs (University of Utah History professor), and Tom Goldsmith (Minister of First Unitarian Church). They each presented a different perspective on the Korean War and how it shaped our country, and had a great dialogue with the audience.
There were Korean, Vietnam, and WWII veterans in attendance, along with family and friends. It was great to hear the veterans swap stories, to hear people talk about how the way we remember (or forget!) the Korean War impacts our current situation in Iraq, and to listen to memories of all of the wars that we have been through.
The film itself, which mixed commentary on The Coldest Winter, reminiscences about the late David Halberstam, and footage from the Korean War, was an interesting look at the life of a book — how it gets written, what the interview process is, and then once it’s published how it is received by critics, peers, and the public. It’s a long book, but by all accounts worth the read. If you haven’t already picked up a copy, stop by! And if you’re interested in seeing the film, you can purchase it from Powell’s Books for $8.99.