*The Korean War*

That's the new book by Bruce Cumings and it is as good as the reviews indicate (criticisms here).  Here are a few choice excerpts:

For decades the South Korean intelligence agencies put out the line that Kim Il Sung was an impostor, a Soviet stooge who stole the name of a famous Korean patriot.  The real reason for this smoke screen was the pathetic truth that so many of its own leaders served the Japanese…


…Two Koreas began to emerge in the early 1930s, one born of an unremittingly violent struggle in which neither side gave quarter; truths experienced in Manchukuo burned the souls of the North Korean leadership.  The other truth is the palpable beginning of an urban middle class, as peole marched not to the bugle of anti-Japanese resistance but into the friendly confines of the Hwashin department store, movie theaters, and ubiquitous bars and tearooms.


…Most Americans seem unaware that the United States occupied Korea just after the war with Japan ended, and set up a full military government that lasted for three years and deeply shaped postwar Korean history.


What hardly any Americans know or remember, however, is that we carpet-bombed the North for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties…The air assaults ranged from the widespread and continual use of firebombing (mainly with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, finally to the destruction of huge North Korean dams in the last stages of the war.

And, from the entire war:

Perhaps as many as 3 million Koreans died, at least half of them civilians (Japan lost 2.3 million people in the Pacific War).

You can buy the book here.


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