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After the Korean War: An Intimate History

Publisher: , 2020.
Link to online store *

Following his prizewinning studies of the Vietnam War, renowned anthropologist Heonik Kwon presents this ground-breaking study of the Korean War’s enduring legacies seen through the realm of intimate human experience. Kwon boldly reclaims kinship as a vital category in historical and political enquiry and probes the grey zone between the modern and the traditional (and between the civil and the social) in the lived reality of Korea’s civil war and the Cold War more broadly. With captivating historical detail and innovative conceptual frames, Kwon’s moving, creative analysis provides fresh insights into the Korean conflict, civil war and reconciliation, history and memory and critical political theory.

LKL says:

Examines the upheaval caused by the division of Korea from the perspective of the painful divisions that were thereby created in families, villages and communities, looking at individual case studies and at more recent attempts at healing historical wounds in Jeju and elsewhere. There's an interesting section that briefly looks at three films that present a nuanced view of the war: Im Kwon-taek's Taebaek Mountains, Jeong Ji-yeong's Nambugun and Kang Je-gyu's Taegukgi. By and large it's accessible to the non-academic, though there's a certain amount of material (often quite heavily academic) that is not Korea-specific which may lead you to skim-read if Korean history and society is your primary interest.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-1score-0

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* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.