'Frozen Hours: A Novel of Korean War' by Jeff Shaara wins 2018 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/08/2018


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association



CHICAGO  — "Frozen Hours: A Novel of Korean War" by Jeff Shaara and published by Ballantine Books is the winner of the 2018 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award “for Excellence in Military Fiction.”

The W. Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war.  The $5,000 award and citation, donated by author W.Y. Boyd II, recognizes the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.

Jeff Shaara takes us back in history to the Korean War and especially the winter of 1950 when the American, UN and Republic of Korea Forces (ROK) were in full retreat from the Chinese Army which crossed the Yalu River to support the collapsing North Korean Army. The Yalu was the dividing line between North Korea and China.

Civil War General, William T. Sherman proclaimed “War is Hell”. Nowhere was this statement more factual as the First Marine Division desperately fought a rearguard action at the Chosen Reservoir. The Marines were retreating in the face of the overwhelming enemy forces while trying to cope with extreme winter elements.  This is their story and the story numerous individuals but especially of two Marine individuals, Marine General Oliver P. Smith, Commander of the First Marine Division and Marine Private Peter Riley a World War II veteran in the fight of his life and that of his platoon.  The author provides an added insight into this conflict by providing the point of view of the Chinese Army Commander, Sung Shi-Shun.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The heroism and the courage of the Marines who fought in the Chosen Reservoir were exceptional.  Their sacrifices were great as over 4,000 were killed in action and over 7,000 succumbed to the cold.   The weather was a major factor as temperatures often reached lows of 34 degrees below zero.  Their struggles were not in vain as their heroic actions allowed the majority of the First Marine Division to escape the Chosen Reservoir battlefield and to be evacuated safely. In the end over 100,000 US, UN and ROK military personnel were evacuated from the Port of Hungnam by December 24, 1950.  In addition over 91,000 refugees were also evacuated and tons of equipment and supplies.

The author has written a major historical work of fiction that helps us remember the Korean War a.k.a., The Forgotten War.  In remembrance of all who fought in this war, this work helps us pay tribute to their valor and sacrifices.

The members of the W. Y. Boyd Jury overwhelmingly selected Frozen Hours for this year’s award. The annual award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in late June.

Members of the 2018 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award are Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island (retired), Christine Bradley, Norwalk Public Library, Connecticut, Maxine Reneker, Monterey, California, Ronald Steensland, Panama City, Florida, Roberto C. Delgadillo, University of California, Davis, Elizabeth Nelson, McHenry County College.  

For more information on the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award and other ALA awards, please visit the ALA Web site, http://www.ala.org.