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Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea by [Miyoshi Jager, Sheila]
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Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 608 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description


Insightful, in-depth, and much needed, this book is required reading for anyone who hopes to understand the situation in Korea (Publishers Weekly)

Timely...an important contribution to Cold War scholarship (Paul French Literary Review)

An ambitious, engrossing, and often disturbing history of the conflict ... a superbly researched work that should be an essential tool in understanding the current crisis on the peninsula (Booklist)

Professor Jager has written a fresh, insightful study of the Korean War that begins in 1945 and follows the war's impact into the twenty-first century. This book is the best one-volume study of the war in all its cultural, political, and military aspects. (Allan R. Millett, author of They Came From the North: The Korean War, 1950-1951)

This is a magnificent book-deeply researched and written with real feeling and insight into the complex internal and external conditions that produced a brutal war and perpetuated Korea's division to the present day. (William Stueck, author of The Korean War: An International History)

Jager . . . skillfully covers international affairs, politics, and society in a first-rate comprehensive presentation of all the big issues facing North and South Korea. (Ezra F Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus, Harvard University co-editor, Deng and the Transformation of China.)

The author's judicious use of new material in several languages as well as her balanced way of presentation make this book an authoritative and accessible history of the Korean peninsula since the Second World (Akira Iriye, Harvard University)

Sheila Miyoshi Jager's Brothers at War is a timely reminder of the significance of arguably the most important unfinished business of the Cold War. (Major General Julian Thompson, KCL)

A stark reminder that... the Korean War is far from over... This gripping book at last gives the big picture and the full story of a tragic and terrible conflict. (Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University, UK)

Written in lucid narrative prose with an eye for the telling detail and compelling human story (Carter J. Eckhart, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations Harvard University)

Sheila Miyoshi Jager has managed an astounding feat-an extremely readable yet rigorously objective and brilliantly researched history of the Korean War from all sides. (Rana Mitter, professor of the history and politics of modern china, Oxford University, and author of Forgotten Ally: China's World War Two)

Heavyweight history of the best kind: an impressive and comprehensive account not only of the Korean War but also its many and far-reaching consequences. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand our troubled relationship with North Korea today. (Keith Lowe, author of Savage Continent: Europe in the aftermath of World War Two)

A wonderful piece of work. A new history of the Korean War, informed by the latest archival materials, and written in an accessible and compelling way. (Victor Cha)

Best book on Korean war and aftermath I've ever read. (Senator John McCain)

Book Description

A major new history told from all sides, to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the armistice in the Korean War.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 15497 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (20 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DDD7S4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #530,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well-researched, nicely illustrated and highly readable book about the Korean peninsular's troubled history. Its narration of the Korean War itself is gripping, combining a strong analysis of the political backdrop, a detailed description of the military campaigns and key battles, and personal anecdotes from some of the participants in the war. The author then sets out how the war itself triggered, to a great extent, the ensuing Cold War, and influenced regional geopolitics for many years to come, including the Vietnam War, Sino-Soviet-US relations, and China's recent emergence as a major global economic power. The book closes with a brief analysis of North Korea's increasing but ambivalent dependence on China, and the prospects for reunification of the peninsular. Writing this review on the day that Kaesong Industrial Complex has closed, in response to recent North Korean nuclear tests and missile launches, reunification seems as remote a prospect as it has been for much of the last 60 years. I think there could have been a little more analysis of the changing nature of South Korean society in the book - the author alludes to the increasing indifference, particularly amongst younger South Koreans, to reunification, but maybe there is enough material in that subject area for an entirely new book altogether!
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Format: Hardcover
Korea, like Vietnam, was a single, united country until 1945. In 1945 Soviet forces entered Manchuria and the north of Korea to create a defensive barrier against any renewed Japanese aggression. The USA, Britain and the Soviet Union recognised Korea’s unity and independence at the Cairo and Moscow conferences. The three allies agreed that the country would be divided only for a short time and pledged that no foreign troops would stay in Korea. The Soviet Union honoured its agreement and withdrew its forces in December 1945.

The US government proposed a temporary division of Korea at the 38th parallel, which Stalin accepted. Jager writes, “Why did he agree when Soviet forces could have easily occupied the entire peninsula? Rather than territorial gain, Stalin’s main concern was to eliminate Japanese political economic influence in the region. ‘Japan must be forever excluded from Korea’, stated a June 1945 Soviet report on Korea, ‘since a Korea under Japanese rule would be a constant threat to the Far East of the USSR.’ Stalin accepted a divided occupation in Korea because the Americans could help in neutralizing Japan.”

But the USA proceeded to install a fascist government in South Korea. The US and British governments have always claimed that the Korean War started in June 1950, but there was war well before then. Jager notes that on the island of Cheju-do, “whole villages became targets, innocent suspects were beaten and hanged, and women and children massacred. A reign of terror largely perpetrated by government forces, the police, and the Republic of Korea Army … gripped the island. … By the end of June 1949, an estimated thirty thousand had been killed in Cheju-do, many of them innocent civilians massacred by government forces.
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Format: Hardcover
Because this book had good reviews I read it. I was disappointed. I spent 26 months in the front lines in Korea starting with the Inchon invasion and a second tour during the last year of the war. So I have read about every book on the Korean War as well as many of the unit histories. Almost all books about the War are disappointing. There is a tendency to emphacize the first year of the War and say little about the rest of the War. This book says even less.

It is not that the book is not interesting. It is just incomplete. It covers Korea from the end of WWII until the rise of Kim Chong-Un, the current leader of North Korea. But there are large gaps in the coverage. One problem is that the book too often digresses from coverage of major events to chapters on events that were really side issues and had little to do with the flow of history, such as what happened in the prison camps and the atrocities committed during the war. While of interest, they were included at the expense of major events which were either omitted or were glossed over. It may be that part of the author's problem is that she doesn't have any military background that would help her better understand what happened during the War and why. But that often is the problem with academics who try to write about the Korean War or write reviews of books written about the War.

The worst example is that she omits almost everything about the fighting that took place between the 1951 truce and the armistice in July 1953, yet some of the heaviest fighting occured during that time. But it gets little coverage because there were no significant advances by either side.
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Format: Paperback
Sheila Miyoshi Jager recounts the history of the Korean peninsula from the end of the Japanese War and the partition of the country into two to the emergence of Kim Jung-un as new North Korean leader.

The author starts off with explaining how the partition of the peninsula came about. As I read both country's history in the run-up to the 1950-53 War I wondered who the good guys and the bad guys are supposed to be. Jaeger recounts in quite some detail the tens of thousands of people who were killed in South Korea by the Government of the day. The War itself as you would expect is covered by more than half the book. I thought that the author does an excellent job in covering the first year of the war. I found the various maps to be an excellent companion to the narrative. I would have loved it if the final two years of the war had been recounted in as much detail as the first year.

Ever since the end of the war South Korea appears to be haunted by the impression that the US might abandon it or leave it at the mercy of North Korea (if you like). That may well be the reason why South Korea so enthusiastically participated in the Vietnam War. Part II tells part of this story and it also delves into US politics with regards to Asia quite a bit. Part III deals with the history of the two countries between Vietnam and the student uprising in South Korea in 1989. There is also a lot of detail on North Korea's terrorist war against the South. I am amazed that South Korea never retaliated in kind.

The last Part deals with the period since 1989. South Korea has quite well managed the transition from dictatorship to democracy and the economic policies of the last 50 years have turned a basket case into an affluent country.
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