For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Unfinished War: Korea
  • Bong Lee
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The Unfinished War: Korea.
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Are we heading for a new Korean War? Lee presents the history, the current situation, and US involvement, drawing on 25 years in the US and Asia with the Ford Foundation, the UN and the Asian Development Bank, using recently de-classified documents and personal accounts from North and South Koreans.

About the Author

Dr. Bong Lee holds degrees from Seoul National University, Columbia University, and the University of Sheffield (England).

 

In the past 25 years he has worked as a consultant and expert for the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and the Asian Development Bank, studying and reporting on Asian countries and economies, and evaluating economic development projects.

 

He has worked in the Peoples' Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and the United States, including a teaching position at Howard University.

About the Book

An up-to-date look at US-Korean relations, the Korean War, and current North-South issues including North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

...

An up-to-date look at US-Korean relations, the Korean War, and current North-South issues including North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Dr. Lee draws on recently declassified documents, interviews, and other references to provide an account of the war and US-Korean relations that is unparalleled for its breadth and depth. His cross-cultural presentation includes personal perspectives from Koreans to the north as well as to the south of the 38th Parallel.

He lays out the history of American involvement in Korea before, during, and after the war and discusses new developments including South Korea's so-called "economic miracle," President Bush's inclusion of North Korea in the "axis of evil," and emerging prospects for war or peace.

His analysis of today's challenges is situated on a backdrop of human stories from the people whose lives were torn apart by the war 50 years ago and whose fate is still in the balance.

The book is thoroughly documented, with maps, index and footnotes covering English and Korean-language sources.


Introduction

I was a teenager in 1950 when one of the most atrocious wars in history started in Korea. Some memories are better forgotten. But in 1997, I had the urge to revisit that bewildering war.

I was a teenager in 1950 when one of the most atrocious wars in history started in Korea. Some memories are better forgotten. But in 1997, I had the urge to revisit that bewildering war.

I was impressed to see how many new facts have come into the public domain after the declassification of some Korean War-related documents in the U.S., and some formerly classified documents that trickled out of Russia; and there were several new books published in South Korea exposing the dark side of war. When I left South Korea in 1961 to study in New York, censorship was still in force; all the new materials and fresh perspectives piqued my interest.

However, most books in English do not provide Korean perspectives. The background to the War usually seems cryptic, and the narrative ends abruptly with the signing of ceasefire documents in 1953. I decided to write a book that fills these gaps and provides a cross-cultural perspective, reflecting the latest available documentary evidence and, at the same time, incorporating the experiences of my own family and other Koreans who lived through the war.

Prior to starting my research for the book, I had spent over twenty years in different Asian countries working for the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations, and the Ford Foundation. Most of this time was spent studying countries, and appraising and post evaluating the success and failure of economic development projects — their causes, costs, benefits, and lessons for the future. It did not take me long to realize that even evaluating the successes and failures of the Korean War would not be simple because the allies (South Korea, the U.S., and European allies) had different objectives, and these objectives shifted in the middle of the war from stopping the Communist invasion of South Korea to a total victory by invading North Korea. Furthermore, the Korean War was part of a larger war, the Cold War, in which the objective of the U.S. was to stop the spread of Communism.

However, this book is not an academic research work designed to show who won the war or who started it. I have simply tried to present the time, the war, and the people by sharing the concrete, personal realities as I and others in the book experienced them and as I found them in the historical record. I have tried to show human sides of the war as well as the military, diplomatic, and political sides. The book provides extensive accounts of the events leading up to the war and examines the new kind of war that started immediately after the ceasefire agreement was signed. It puts into perspective recent developments such as President Bush’s remark on the “axis of evil,” North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program, and the rise of anti-American sentiments in South Korea. The book might offend some American readers — on the left as well as the right, but it presents the truth as I see it.



Pages 296
Year: 2003
LC Classification: DS918.L392
Dewey code: 951.904'2—dc21
BISAC: HIS027020
BISAC: HIS023000
Paper
ISBN: 978-0-87586-217-0
Price: USD 24.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-218-7
Price: USD 30.95
Ebook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-232-3
Price: USD 30.95
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