For the United States, the Korean War is the forgotten war, and North Korea itself remains the unknown country, with American foreign policy towards it plagued by ignorance and long-standing racism. In what is essentially a plea to normalize relations with the so-called "Axis of Evil" country, Cumings (history, U. of Chicago) details the background of the long-simmering political crisis between the United States and North Korea. He describes how the Communists came to power in the context of centuries of authoritarian feudalism; examines how massive destruction unleashed by the U.S. in the war, including the bombing of dams, has conditioned North Korean perceptions of U.S. intentions; and offers a picture of North Korean society and its leaders that counters much of the mythology that currently passes for analysis. While we may find the North Korean leaders abhorrent, Cumings says, they aren't going away, so it behooves us to try to understand them. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
|Publisher:||New Press, The|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x (d)|
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.
Table of Contents
|1||War Is a Stern Teacher||1|
|2||The Nuclear Crisis: First Act and Sequel||43|
|3||The Legend of Kim Il Sung||103|
|4||Daily Life in North Korea||128|
|5||The World's First Postmodern Dictator||155|
|6||Beyond Good and Evil||177|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
North Korea: Another Country based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Im korean... north korea is very cruel and isbat war with south.
Bruce Cumings' writings are often depicted by right-wing Republicans as apologist literature for North Korea. I think some of this is true, but as Cumings demonstrates the situation in Korea is much more complex than just good (America and South Korea) and villains (North Korea's Kim Jong Il). Cumings is not naive about the totalitarian North Korean garrison state of Jong Il and his successor to the throne, Jong Nam. Cumings shows that the leadership in North Korea are not a bunch of quacks or 'nuts,' they are quite rational, making them maybe more dangerous. Before Bush let open his mouth about the 'Axis of Evil,' North Korea was prepared for much more peaceful relations with the West. An interesting dichotomy in this book appears as Cumings argues that North Korea believes in traditional Korean values or 'Juche' as it is called by them. It is a return to neo-Confucianism. Very well written with a little bit too much solipism and apologism with some of North Korea's less-than-savory activities.
North Korea is perhaps one of the most misunderstood countries/regimes in the world today. Not that it's not a militaristic garrison state...it is, but THERE IS AN ENTIRE HISTORY AS TO WHY IT IS THAT WAY and this book is a great tool for understanding why and how. Bruce Cummings does an excellent job of gathering information much of it 'from the horse's mouth' of US leaders and generals. From the occupation of the Korean Peninsula by Imperial Japan in World War 2, the guerilla war waged by the communists to fight and defeat the Japanese, the US role in dividing the nation and installing into power in the South of those who had openly and aggressively collaborated with the fascist occupation, through the Korean War with the US, the aid of the Chinese people to the Korean people, the threats of nuclear holocaust by the US, the complete destruction of the North by US bombs and napalm that resulted in the deaths of between 2-3 million people. The author also goes through the history of the founder of the North--Kim Il Sung, and his son--Kim Jong Il. Cummings brings the reader up to date and also puts the entire history into perspective and place in today's whole Orwellian Bush-dubbed 'Axis of Evil' and the war on the world spiralling crusade. Highly reccommended for students, professors and anyone wanting to know the world based on materialist and physical reality.