North Korea: Another Country Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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America's leading historian and political analyst of contemporary Korea.
"Cumings counters the hype with an instructive history." --"The New York Times"
"Few books of political commentary are as insightful, outspoken, and even personable, as this one." --"Booklist"
"America's leading historian and political analyst of contemporary Korea." --Chalmers Johnson, Author of "Blowback"
About the Author
Bruce Cumings is the author of "North Korea," "Korea's Place in the Sun," and "Parallax Visions." He teaches at the University of Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
He cites a CIA study that “acknowledged various achievements of this regime: compassionate care for children in general and war orphans in particular, ‘radical change’ in the position of women; genuinely free housing, free health care and preventive medicine; and infant mortality and life expectancy rates comparable to the most advanced countries until the recent famine.” The government also gave land to the peasants, and provided free education.
Cumings shows that the war in Korea was part of a long civil war and that the invasion in June 1950 did not start the conflict, so it did not define the conflict. The UN fell for the US and British governments’ lie that it was an invasion. But how could Koreans ‘invade’ their own country?
It was also a war against the foreign occupier. In December 1945, the commander of the US occupation forces, General Hodge, ‘declared war’ on the communist party in the South.
As Richard Stokes, Britain’s Minister of Works, wrote in 1950, “In the American Civil War the Americans would never have tolerated for a single moment the setting up of an imaginary line between the forces of North and South, and there can be no doubt as to what would have been their reaction if the British had intervened in force on behalf of the South. This parallel is a close one because in America the conflict was not merely between two groups of Americans, but was between two conflicting economic systems as is the case in Korea.Read more ›
1) Start by dismissing anything that could contradict your point of view. Cummings states that we can only rely on official DPRK media for our "facts" - of course you need to "parse" it. The fact there are now thousands of DPRK refugees, a large number not living in South Korea let alone "run" by the ROK security services apparently doesn't matter. Now we can dismiss all those bothersome reports. For instance, we can claim Kim Il Sung was a general - he was!, in charge of 300 partisans - and that he was independent leader - this despite copious documentation to the contrary coming out of the USSR archives post fall. We also have the DPRK line on nuclear development - all totally peaceful, no proof of a weapons programme( the book came out a few months before the first DPRK nuclear test ).
2) Go back to a bygone age. We have a lot of talking about DPRK in the 70s and 80s. I suspect part of this is because that's when Cummings was last in the DPRK and also in the ROK. It is also when the DPRK and ROK could last be compared economically and when there was a comfortable grey in that both were military dictatorships. However this book is meant to be about now and there is a clear blue sea between the two countries.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for those interested in North Korea - Cumings is very detailed and still interestingPublished 23 months ago by Shaka
it is such a good and nice condition of item and I highly recomended to my friends and work colleg to read itPublished on 18 Jan. 2014 by kurc
This is a more than welcome book in times when we are bombarded sensationalist "news" day and night by the Western media. Read morePublished on 24 Aug. 2010 by Legbamusic