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Remembering the Forgotten War: The Korean War Through Literature and Art

From the publisher’s website:

In contrast to the many books that use military, diplomatic, and historic language in analyzing the Korean War, this book takes a cultural approach that emphasizes the human dimension of the war, an approach that especially features Korean voices. There are chapters on Korean art on the war, translations into English of Korean poetry by Korean soldiers, and American soldier poetry on the war. There is a photographic essay on the war by combat journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Max Desfor. Another chapter includes and analyzes songs on the Korean War – Korean, American, and Chinese – that illuminate the many complex memories of the war. There is a discussion of Korean films on the war and a chapter on Korean War POWs and their contested memories. More than any other nonfiction book on the war, this one shows us the human face of tragedy for Americans, Chinese, and most especially Koreans. June 2000 was the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War; this moving volume is intended as a commemoration of it.


  • Foreword, Donald Gregg
  • Preface, Philip West and Suh Ji-moon
  • “Some Personal Reflections on the Korean War,” Steven I. Levine
  • “Whether Enemy or Brother: Patriotism in Conflict with Brotherhood in the Poetry of the Korean War by Korean Poets,” Suh Ji-moon
  • “Above All, the Waste: American Soldier-Poets and the Korean War,” William Ehrhart
  • “Korean Artists and the Art of the Korean War,” Roe Jae-ryung, with reproductions
  • “The Korean War through the Camera of a War Correspondent,” Max Desfor, with photos
  • “The Korean War in the Lives and Thoughts of Several Major Korean Writers,” compiled by Suh Ji-moon, based on videotaped interviews with Pak Wan-suh, Yun Heung-gil, Yi Mun-yol, Kim Won-il, Hong Sung-won, and Richard Kim
  • “Reluctant Crusaders: Korean War Films and the Lost Audience,” Lary May
  • “The Korean War in Korean Films,” Suh Ji-moon
  • “An Interior History of the Chinese POWs in the Korean War,” Philip West with Li Zhihua
  • “In Search of Essences: Labelling the Korean War,” William Stueck
  • “Imagining a Different Korea: What if…,” editor, Philip West, panel responses to five questions: Donald Oberdorfer, Chae-jin Lee, William Stueck, and Byong-chu Koh

LKL says:

An interesting and approachable collection of papers addressing how the Korean war is represented in the arts of the different countries involved. Chapters address Korean film, visual arts, and poetry, and also how the war impacted the lives and work of six Korean novelists.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0. Read our review of this book here.

Entry on here.

* 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.