The Korean War by Bruce Cumings
A History (Modern Library Chronicles)

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Synopsis

A BRACING ACCOUNT OF A WAR THAT IS EITHER MISUNDERSTOOD, FORGOTTEN, OR WILLFULLY IGNORED.
 
For Americans, it was a discrete conflict lasting from 1950 to 1953. But for the Asian world the Korean War was a generations-long struggle that still haunts contemporary events. With access to new evidence and secret materials from both here and abroad, including an archive of captured North Korean documents, Bruce Cumings reveals the war as it was actually fought. He describes its origin 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, reveals untold stories of bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and tells of the United States officially entering the action on the side of the South, exposing as never before the appalling massacres and atrocities committed on all sides.

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

About Bruce Cumings

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Bruce Cumings is chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago and the author of Korea's Place in the Sun. He divides his time between Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chicago.
 
Published July 21, 2010 by Modern Library. 320 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Korean War

Kirkus Reviews

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American conservatives regularly denounce Cumings for favoring North Korea, but he is widely honored in South Korea, whose researchers have turned up many of the long-suppressed atrocities he reveals.

Jul 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

The New York Times

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Americans need to get past the idea, Mr. Cumings says, that the Korean War was a “discrete, encapsulated” story that began in 1950, when the United States intervened to help push the Communist north out of the south of Korea, and ended in 1953, after the war bogged down in a stalemate.

Jul 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

The New York Times

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According to Cumings, the North Koreans “essentially saw the war in 1950 as a way to settle the hash of the top command of the South Korean Army, nearly all of whom had served the Japanese.” Cumings suggests that “a civil conflict purely among Koreans might have resolved the extraordinary tension...

Sep 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

The Wall Street Journal

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The U.S. and South Korea are holding military exercises after the North was blamed for sinking a South Korean ship.

Jul 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

Jacksonville.com

Critics have labeled Cumings a sympathizer for his attempts to un-demonize the North Korean leaders by explaining the war from their standpoint: a civil war, one that "with blooded soldiers" they were destined to win.

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

London Review of Books

People queue to have their photographs taken against a backdrop of North Korean water and North Korean cliffs, as close as they can ever get to being in this part of their own country.

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London Review of Books

This clearly confused the North: ‘When we stated we don’t have a nuclear weapon, the USA [said] we do have it,’ one DPRK general told a Russian visitor, ‘and now when we are [saying] we created nuclear weapons, the USA [says] we’re just bluffing.’ What happened in October 2002 is that both Govern...

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Bookmarks Magazine

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 ...

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

The New York Review of Books

In the Korean War, Richard Bernstein writes, “the United States decided to fight for a draw rather than insist on victory, and, as MacArthur liked to put it, there’s no substitute for victory” [NYR, October 25].

Nov 22 2007 | Read Full Review of The Korean War: A History (Mo...

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