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Korea on the Brink: From the "12/12" Incident to the Kwangju Uprising, 1979-1980 Hardcover – Aug 1999

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Professional's Perspective 25 Mar. 2000
By Gordon Cucullu - Published on
Format: Hardcover
General John Wickham commanded US Forces in Korea during times of extreme crisis and turmoil. He replaced an extrememly popular predecessor - Jack Vessey - and represented a rather unpopular administration - Jimmy Carter's, thereby placing himself willingly in a tough spot from the start. While this alone would have sufficed to lend stress to his command, a bizarre series of events beginning with the assassination of President Park and culminating with the "rolling coup" of General Chun Do Hwan, made his tour one that will forever be examined and second guessed. The willingness of power-seeking Koreans to use Wickham as a kind of buffer or apologist - completely against his desires - have created a controversy that this work is designed partially to allay. For the first time the reader is exposed to the innermost thoughts and writings of a military commander forced by events to observe, report and reluctantly participate in activities of a political nature in a host country wracked by internal conflict and threatened by imminent invasion. Sit beside General Wickham as confused reports cross his desk and forces beyond his span of control place his command, his reputation and his career in danger. Relive this fast paced account of a period of East Asian history that is little known to the world but during which the danger of superpower conflict flared high. By collecting, declassifying and assembling this very readable memoir along with accompanying documents and memoranda of meetings and conversations, General Wickham has provided us not only with an exciting insiders view of history but has rendered an invaluable service to those who will strive to chronicle these halcyon days of a Korea in crisis. He has gone a long way to set the record straight. This is a must read for those whose interests cross the lines of East Asia, modern Korea, Cold War conflict or who simply possess a curiosity about how policy makers wrestle with troubling situations.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Military Diplomacy 12 Mar. 2000
By Robert G. Rich, Jr. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This remarkable memoir by the then Commander of U.S. Forces, Korea, the U.S.-Korean Combined Forces Command, and the UN Command is a significant contribution to the history of U.S.-Korean relations and to the major political as well as military role that a senior commander is called upon to play in a major international crisis. It is an excellent companion piece to the diplomatic history of much the same period by former Ambassador William H. Gleysteen ("Massive Entanglement, Marginal Influence: Carter and Korea in Crisis") and covers the dramatic period following the assassination of Korean President Park Chung-hee, the subsequent internal Korean military coup, the tragedy of Kwangju, and Chun's assumption of the presidency. While written within a narrower frame than the Gleysteen chronicle, General Wickham digs deeper into the internal Korean military intrigue and personalities, and recounts much of the dialogue between himself and Korean senior military officers.
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