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Reviewer Comments for
 The Battle of Turkey Thicket

I wish everyone would read this book. The Korean War is largely forgotten in the United States, although Korea is so much in the news these days. The soldiers who fell in that war are a minor footnote to history for many people. But their lives matter and we should understand their sacrifice. 

A.G. Moore

Midwest Book Review, August 2017

Behind an obscure memorial plaque in a beach-side Catholic church is the dramatic life-story of a teenager from Washington, D.C. Drawing from interviews, vital statistics, and published histories, The Battle of Turkey Thicket follows Philip Thomas Hughes from an orphanage to the battlefields of a Cold War suddenly turned hot. Christopher Russell's easy writing style creates a vivid collage of mid-20th century culture in America, Japan, and Korea.

Susanne Hagan Coffey

University of North Texas



This is a bittersweet story of an American life lost in a war forgotten by most yet still to be resolved. It is a primer for what it was like to become a post WWII soldier, go to war in Korea, and hold the Pusan Perimeter until the rest of us got there. The journey from Brookland to Arlington is Private Hughes’s story. His life is worth remembering and through him honoring all who died in Korea. Mr. Russell's book does that admirably.

1st Lt. Robert W. Ricker

U.S. Army, Korean War veteran

2nd Ordnance Medium Maintenance Co., 8th Army



Christopher Russell’s story about the life and times of Philip Thomas Hughes – an adopted child and eventual runaway – offers a vivid portrait of life in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of World War II. His description of the first months of the Korean War is fast-paced, detailed, and deeply disconcerting. The Battle of Turkey Thicket is the poignant story of an almost Unknown Soldier.

Michael Collier

Director, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Poet Laureate of Maryland, 2001-2004



The Battle of Turkey Thicket is an extraordinarily well researched account of the life of a young orphan whose difficult childhood eventually drove him to a forsaken part of South Korea in 1950 where he was killed by communist forces from the north during their aggressive invasion. The author’s description of the battles in which Private Hughes was engaged drives home the futility of the delaying action attempted by the U.S. Army in the early days of the Korean War.

Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis
U.S. Army (Retired)


The Battle of Turkey Thicket is the true story of two adopted boys seeking their identity and place in life.  Without this perceptive and captivating work, Philip Hughes would just be another forgotten casualty of the forgotten war.

Captain Vincent B. Bennett Jr.

United States Air Force (Retired)

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