Readers’ Favorite Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite

I don’t know who Ted Halstead is, but I know one thing about him for sure. While writing The Second Korean War, he did his homework. I spent four years in the demilitarized zone in the 1980s. I’ve walked in a couple of tunnels big enough to roll an army through, a platoon at a time. Ted got it right. The only things he failed to mention are a couple of things that I’m pretty sure are classified top secret. It wouldn’t be cool to talk about that stuff. I go out of my way to find books on Korea and the Korean War. I am usually disappointed by authors who don’t know anything about the real situation, or they just don’t know how to write about it in a style that appeals to me. In Ted Halstead, I have found someone who knows a lot and knows how to write about it in a very appealing style.

As I think about why I liked The Second Korean War so much, a few things come to mind. The setting is important, and I appreciated an author who took the time to get it right. Then there is the writing itself. As I read the passages which featured submarine warfare or the political ramifications of war on the Korean peninsula, I felt it was very realistic. As realistic as the discussions and observations with other American soldiers and South Korean nationals I had when I was in that arena. Then there are the characters. Their actions and emotions rang true to me, which is why I consider The Second Korean War to be one of the best books I have ever read on the subject.

Rating: 5 stars


The Saudi-Iranian War Published

The Saudi-Iranian War is now available in Kindle format, paperback and audiobook.

This book features the same two Russian lead characters as The Second Korean War, FSB officer Alexei Vasilyev and Vladivostok lead homicide detective Anatoly Grishkov.

Kindle version:





Now On Audiobook Through Audible!

The Second Korean War is now available on audiobook!  To be upfront, I get a larger share of the profit if you click on one of the links below, though your price stays the same.  It can be free, if you are starting an Audible membership!

If you are buying in the U.S., please click here:

If you are buying in the United Kingdom, please click here:

If you are buying in Germany, please click here:

If you are buying in France, please click here:

If you live in a country other than the ones listed above, I suggest you try the first link for the U.S.  If that doesn’t work, then I would recommend the link to the book on the Amazon site for your country.

Thanks for your support!

Summit Results Update

Six weeks after the summit between President Trump and President Kim, several recent events are worth noting.  To sum up, here are the primary results of the summit:

The US gave North Korea:

— A meeting with the US President, a diplomatic triumph long sought by North Korea.

— The cancellation of military exercises between US and South Korea, long sought by North Korea as well as its neighbors China and Russia.

North Korea has so far:

— Released three US citizens being held in North Korean prisons just prior to the summit.

— Demolished a nuclear testing site just prior to the summit.

— Delivered 55 cases of remains believed to be those of US servicemen killed during the Korean War.

— Kept its promise not to carry out additional nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

— Sent a personal note from President Kim to President Trump.

On the negative side, a planned post-summit meeting between Secretary of State Pompeo and President Kim ended with Kim failing to appear, and one source saying it went “as badly as it could have gone.”  An official North Korean statement after the meeting saying Pompeo had made a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” appeared to confirm that the US and North Korean positions on ending the threat of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula are still far apart.

Even some of the positive results are open to question.  Some reports suggest the nuclear test site demolished at Punggye-ri was too dangerous to use anyway, after some of its tunnels collapsed in October 2017.  North Korea may have completed its nuclear and ballistic missile tests for now.

On the negative side, improvements have been made since the summit at the Yongbyon nuclear plant, particularly its cooling systems.  Since Yongbyon is believed to be the source of the plutonium North Korea has used to build its nuclear weapons, it is hard to see this as anything but confirmation that they plan to continue building more weapons.

Even more ominous is new work detected at the facility North Korea uses to build ICBMs.

Tough UN-backed sanctions against North Korea remain in place.  However, numerous reports suggest China and Russia have eased enforcement post-summit, and it appears unlikely a return to “maximum pressure” will be possible.

So, the summit was successful in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, three US citizens have been released from North Korean prisons, and some remains of US servicemen have been returned to the US.  Those are significant accomplishments.  On the other hand, the indefinite cancellation of military exercises will reduce US and South Korean readiness if North Korea attacks, and it appears that North Korea is still determined to keep and perhaps expand its nuclear arsenal.  The relaxation of sanctions enforcement will encourage North Korea to stay on its present belligerent course.

Reasonable people could either consider the summit worthwhile, or not.  I think it is still too early to tell.  At least, the latest note from North Korea’s leader to President Trump suggests that for now they are still interested in talking, rather than testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

Summit Review

Now that the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is complete, how to assess its results?  First, it’s worth noting that the level of tension on the Korean peninsula is far lower than it was a year ago, and it’s clear that this is due at least in part to the summit.

It’s also important – maybe even more important – that Kim Jong Un had a much more extensive dialogue with South Korean President Moon Jae In leading up to his summit with President Trump.  South Koreans stopped what they were doing to watch those summits, and broadcast them on TVs outside buildings around Seoul.   Not so for the summit in Singapore, which should tell us something.

Also worth noting is that China paid for the private plane that brought Kim Jong Un and his delegation from Pyongyang.  The Chinese are 100% behind anything that will help Kim’s regime survive, and it’s clear they concluded that the summit would.

One of the few concrete steps promised from the summit was to suspend military exercises planned for August in South Korea.  It’s not clear what, if anything, the North Koreans will do in return.  However, if they do nothing the exercises can be rescheduled.

The bottom line – negotiations are certainly preferable to war.  There is still time to see whether the North Koreans are serious about trading their nuclear weapons for an improved economy, or if they are just buying time to prepare a more effective attack.