Kapaun’s Battle Review

Small Press Bookwatch: October 2021
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575


Reviewer’s Choice

Kapaun’s Battle
Jeff Gress
3rd Coast Books
9781946743480, $17.95, PB, 239pp

Synopsis: The story of a true American hero, “Kapaun’s Battle” by Jeff Gress is a powerful testament to the heroism of US Army Chaplain Emil Kapaun who was awarded the Medal of Honor. The story follows him, from the start of the Korean War until his death as a Prisoner of War in a Communist Chinese Prison Camp in 1951, following the destruction of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment of the US 1st Cavalry Division in November 1950.

This is the life story of a young man, from a humble Kansas farming family, whose Catholic faith led him to the priesthood. Kapaun became an Army Chaplain in Southeast Asia during World War II and then a parish priest. He volunteered to return to the Army as tensions rose on the Korean Peninsula. It is the story of Father Emil Kapaun’s selfless bravery and dedication to the men he ministered to during the Forgotten War.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared Father Kapaun a Servant of God, the first stage on the path to canonization. In 2013, Kapaun posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President Obama for his actions in Korea. He was the ninth American military chaplain Medal of Honor recipient.

Although “Kapaun’s Battle” is relevant to every freedom-loving American and indeed people worldwide, it is especially intended for the enlightenment of students in schools and universities, along with members of religious congregations and military personnel, to the incredible impacts that one humble, pious American can have on the lives of so many by sacrificing his for them.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, “Kapaun’s Battle” is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Korean War histories and biographies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Kapaun’s Battle” is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).