The Korean War

The Korean War

A History

Book - 2010
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Random House, Inc.
A bracing account of a war that lingers in our collective memory as both ambiguous and unjustly ignored
For Americans, it was a discrete conflict lasting from 1950 to 1953 that has long been overshadowed by World War II, Vietnam, and the War on Terror. But as Bruce Cumings eloquently explains, for the Asian world the Korean War was a generations-long fight that still haunts contemporary events. And in a very real way, although its true roots and repercussions continue to be either misunderstood, forgotten, or willfully ignored, it is the war that helped form modern America’s relationship to the world.

With access to new evidence and secret materials from both here and abroad, including an archive of captured North Korean documents, Cumings reveals the war as it was actually fought. He describes its start as a civil war, preordained long before the first shots were fired in June 1950 by lingering fury over Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Cumings then shares the neglected history of America’s post–World War II occupation of Korea, the untold stories of bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and the powerful militaries organized and equipped by America and the Soviet Union in that divided land. He tells of the United States officially entering the action on the side of the South, and exposes as never before the appalling massacres and atrocities committed on all sides and the “oceans of napalm” dropped on the North by U.S. forces in a remarkably violent war that killed as many as four million Koreans, two thirds of whom were civilians.

In sobering detail, The Korean War chronicles a U.S. home front agitated by Joseph McCarthy, where absolutist conformity discouraged open inquiry and citizen dissent. Cumings incisively ties our current foreign policy back to Korea: an America with hundreds of permanent military bases abroad, a large standing army, and a permanent national security state at home, the ultimate result of a judicious and limited policy of containment evolving into an ongoing and seemingly endless global crusade.

Elegantly written and blisteringly honest, The Korean War is, like the war it illuminates, brief, devastating, and essential.

Baker & Taylor
A revisionist account of the controversial war examines perspectives on both sides of the conflict while assessing its cultural contradictions and lasting influence, placing particular focus on the roles of McCarthyism and the media.

& Taylor

A succinct account of the controversial war examines perspectives on both sides of the conflict while assessing its cultural contradictions and lasting influence, placing particular focus on the roles of McCarthyism and the media.

Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679643579
Branch Call Number: 951.9042 C912k
Characteristics: xix, 288 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm


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Aug 07, 2018

"The Korean War, more than any other war in modern times, is surrounded by residues and slippages of memory."
Given our contentious, high profile relationship with North Korea, there may be renewed interest in the short-lived (At least from our perspective.) Korean War (1950-1953), a war that has never officially ended. Sometimes called "the forgotten war" (At least from our perspective.), it exists dimly in our memory, perhaps best-known in pop culture from "MASH" and the clash between Truman and MacArthur. History Bruce Cumings has written extensively about the war, but this short, yet incredibly illuminating and accessible history is maybe the single best introduction to the subject. Cumings treats it as a civil war that we happened to be involved in for a few years, as well as a clash between communism and democracy, although our vision of democracy in Asia had serious imperialist leanings. What is perhaps most striking about the book is that an American historian makes an effort to understand the perspective of the adversary. There's real nuance and sympathy, which is striking. A book that all Americans should read.

May 07, 2013

This is unique presentation of events on the Korean peninsula before during and after the Korean War--a war more deliberately unknown than forgotten, Cumings argues. Chronology is taken care of in the early chapter, and then Cumings provides gripping analysis of the roles played by all involved, especially in formal suppression of info about the war's great devastation.

KEVIN DOWD Oct 25, 2012

clear and in-depth picture of causes and effects of the war...

The USA supported the elilte landowners tht collaborated with the Japanesse during their occupation of Korea.

We came in and killed the peasants who thought they we going to finally gain control of the land they needed to feed their family... ha ha!!

also, when we started losing.. we bombed the crap out of the entire north and destroyed every house, factory, bridge, road, plant, and even bombed the dams that provided irrigation for 80% of the food produced before the war! lol take that!

Jul 08, 2012

Summary of the politics of the Korean War. The similarities among the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War are implicit.

Jan 15, 2011

If you are are a bit skeptical about the Axis of Evil label and don't understand (make that believe) stated US foreign policy you might find this history enlightening. Once again we eventually find things are not as BLACK and WHITE as we have been lead to believe.


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