Bruce Cumings is the author of Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations, Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, War and Television, and the two-volume study, The Origins of the Korean War.
Died-in-the-wool American patriots and the Republican Party's faithful will receive little comfort in reading Cumings' critical study of U.S. policy toward North Korea. First, Cumings (history, Univ. of Chicago; The Origins of the Korean War) reviews some of the dirty aspects of an essentially unknown American war in Korea. He next proceeds to suggest the commission of American atrocities and follows with a plausible set of reasons for North Korea's rejection of 50 years of Japanese colonial rule, another 50 years of American hegemony, and the existence of a powerful South Korea. The current administration receives a devastating critique for the American retreat from the 1994 Framework Agreement with North Korea, their suggestion of a preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear facilities, and their desire for the overthrow of the North Korean government. Cumings concludes that the North Korean leadership of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, is not lunatic in nature but predictable and deeply rooted in historic Korean culture. North Korea will be uncomfortable reading for some, but it is a necessary corrective to prior American media conditioning. Recommended for all libraries.-John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"In the battle to open closed Western minds, this tart and witty broadside makes an excellent start. And in chronicling the dire results of an earlier imperial interference, it's full of omens for the current one in Iraq." - The Financial Times"