Cold War Friendships: Korea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature

Cold War Friendships: Korea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature

by Josephine Nock-Hee Park


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Cold War Friendships: Korea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature by Josephine Nock-Hee Park

Cold War Friendships explores the plight of the Asian ally of the American wars in Korea and Vietnam. Enlisted into proxy warfare, this figure is not a friend but a "friendly," a wartime convenience enlisted to serve a superpower. It is through this deeply unequal relation, however, that the Cold War friendly secures her own integrity and insists upon her place in the neocolonial imperium. This study reads a set of highly enterprising wartime subjects who make their way to the US via difficult attachments.

American forces ventured into newly postcolonial Korea and Vietnam, both plunged into civil wars, to draw the dividing line of the Cold War. The strange success of containment and militarization in Korea unraveled in Vietnam, but the friendly marks the significant continuity between these hot wars. In both cases, the friendly justified the fight: she was also a political necessity who redeployed cold war alliances, and, remarkably, made her way to America.

As subjects in process—and indeed, proto-Americans—these figures are prime literary subjects, whose processes of becoming are on full display in Asian American novels and testimonies of these wars. Literary writings on both of these conflicts are presently burgeoning, and Cold War Friendships performs close analyses of key texts whose stylistic constraints and contradictions—shot through with political and historical nuance—present complex gestures of alliance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190257675
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Josephine Nock-Hee Park is Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book Apparitions of Asia: Modernist Form and Asian American Poetics was awarded the Literary Book Award by the Association for Asian American Studies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction: Making Friendlies
Part I: Securing the Korean War
1. Lesser Friends
2. Faithless Warrior: Richard E. Kim's The Martyred
3. Loving Freedom in Susan Choi's The Foreign Student
4. Inhuman Alliances: Chang-rae Lee's The Surrendered
Part II: Reviving the War in Vietnam
5. Losing Friends
6. Goddess of Reconciliation: Le Ly Hayslip's Memoirs
7. Fabricating Friends in Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge
8. Shame and Love: Andrew X. Pham's Catfish and Mandala
Works Cited

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