The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate ... v. 1 (Studies of the East Asian Institute) Paperback – Special Edition, 21 Oct 1981
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
All in all, like most of Cumings books: an ok book, but nothing special. This one gets 2.5 stars. He can write a lot and quote tons of material, but he manages to miss obvious source material and too easily gets emotionally involved.
Cumings illustrates the existence of true patriots - nationalists who had never collaborated with the occupying Japanese colonizers - who organized a People's Republic which, despite its leftist leanings, did not have in its agenda the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship. These individuals wanted to establish an independent Korea for Koreans and sadly they were obstructed by corrupt, moneyed rightists whose ancestors came from the entrenched landlord/yangban class which had always occupied the highest strata of traditional Korean society - but who had also maintained their privileges by collaborating with the hated Japanese invaders.
And unbeknownst to so many in America, Cumings explains the history of the Soviet-American division of the peninsula - trusteeship, the attitudes by Soviet and American military authorities towards the established People's Republic, the Moscow accords.
It is not without truth that to this day, North Korea calls the Seoul regime "US imperialists' puppets." Kim Il Sung rose to power thanks to Soviet backing and by eliminating rivals, many of who had also spent their lives fighting Japan, and the cult of personality that North Korea is today is not what the leaders of the Korean People's Republic wanted for their people.
This book is a MUST for anyone who wants more than a cursory and cosmetic grasp of the events that unfolded in Korea in 1950. I will soon order volume 2!
But this is a good-formated book and is pull with believable reference. His main references are records made by U.S. military in Korea,1945~1948
With his book, I could recognize that Korean communist movement was internal powerful movement its' influence was originated from left wing's Anti-Japanese struggle,and by removing that movement in South Korea by force with feudal land owners and pro-Japanese bureaucrats, U.S.A spreaded seed of Civil war.
Still, these opinions are threatened by powerful right wing Journalism Like Chosun ilbo (which admires Korean dictator presidents)
But I am confident that future historians of Korea will write our history correctly and Cumings' book will always be a necessary reference for them
that Mr Cummings have done an outstanding
research job regarding what really
happened before the Korean War. This
monumental work sheds light into a covered
part of history that many people are
unaware of. Having read this book,
I'm really doubtfull about all the conservative
claims that N. Korea was the sole
culprit of the War.
No Korean history is complete without this book.
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