Inaugural Military History Award Goes to Book on ‘Forgotten War’

I’m a few days late on passing this on, but congratulations to Andrew Salmon for the success of his “To the Last Round”: Aldershot Military Museum, 10th November. On the eve of Remembrance Day 2010, a book on Britain’s bloodiest – but almost completely unknown – post-1945 battle won the inaugural Hampshire Libraries (Special Collections) […]

To the Last Round – a second look

A year ago Jennifer Barclay reviewed Andrew Salmon’s then recently published To the Last Round (TTLR), an account of the epic British stand at the Imjin River in Korea, 1951. She confessed to not being a fan of military history, and though her review was polite you can tell she really didn’t enjoy it. Spurred […]

Book review: Life on the Edge of the DMZ

Lee See-woo: Life on the Edge of the DMZ Global Oriental, 2008 Translated by Kim Myung-hee I’ve been dipping in and out of this fascinating though often overly complex book by peace activist Lee Si-Woo. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether the English translation – for the most part unfussy ­– is sometimes too literal, […]

Michael Breen: The Koreans

Michael Breen: The Koreans – Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies Thomas Dunne Books, 1998 & 2004 With a commendable dose of filial piety appropriate to the subject of his book, Michael Breen dedicates his work to “Mum and Dad”. Having lived in Korea on and off since 1982, maybe some […]

The Korean War: the Korean version

General Paik Sun Yup: From Pusan to Panmunjom Potomac Memories of War, 2007 (original English version pub 1992) Your typical book on the Korean War centres on Generals MacArthur and Ridgeway, on the landing at Incheon and maybe (if it’s a British account) the battle at the Imjin. It’s a war fought by Americans, with […]

The epic stand on the Imjin

Jennifer Barclay, author of Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi, looks at Andrew Salmon’s exciting new book on the battle of Imjin River: To The Last Round (Aurum Press, June 2009) To the Last Round by Andrew Salmon gives the most exhaustive account to date of what […]

Max Hastings: The Korean War

Pan Macmillan, 1987 There are so many books on the Korean War, which commenced 59 years ago today, that it’s difficult to know where to start. One history which has stood the test of time is by Max Hastings. Clocking in at 35% fewer pages than David Halberstam’s recent well-received account, Max Hastings’s The Korean […]

David Halberstam’s Korean War

David Halberstam The Coldest Winter – America and the Korean War 718pp, Hyperion, 2007 The subtitle of David Halberstam’s magnum opus, The Coldest Winter – America and the Korean War, at first seems a bit unimaginative. But it is to the point. After all, without Truman’s decision to commit US ground forces, the whole Korean […]

Book Review: Reginald Thompson — Cry Korea

As British war veterans gather in Korea to mark the anniversary of the battle of the Imjin River, Jennifer Barclay reviews a recently republished eye-witness account of the early months of the war. CRY KOREA: The Korean War: A Reporter’s Notebook by Reginald Thompson Reportage Press, 2009, 352pp Cry Korea is the most unusual book […]

Korea Yearbook 2008

Korea Yearbook 2008 Eds Rüdiger Frank, James E Hoare, Patrick Köllner, Susan Pares Brill, 2009 The 2008 Korea Yearbook – Politics, Economy and Society does many of the things that a reader might expect: it contains a collection of papers which review the key developments in its chosen subject areas for the past year. At […]

Donald Kirk on the late 90s financial crisis

Donald Kirk: Korean Crisis: Unraveling of the Miracle in the IMF Era Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (1999) The strength of this book is that is brings together in one place the reportage of one of the key foreign journalists based in Seoul during the 1990s. With access to politicians, press releases and Korean and foreign businessmen, […]

Book review: The Dawn of Modern Korea

Andrei Lankov – The Dawn of Modern Korea EunHaeng NaMu publishing, 2008 This entertaining book has, paradoxically, taken me a devil of a long time to finish. That’s not because it’s difficult. It’s because it’s the opposite. The book is co-branded with a series of articles that Andrei Lankov has been writing for the Korea […]

Book review: A (minjung) History of Korea

Korea Historical Research Association (tr Joshua van Lieu) A History of Korea Saffron Books, 2005 It’s the 1980s. In Britain, leftist ideologues such as Red Robbo, Arthur Scargill and Derek Hatton had for years been railing against the government and the establishment using turgid language pilloried in satirical magazines, TV programmes and film1. Anyone who […]

Carter Ekert and others: Korea Old and New

Carter J Eckert / Ki-baik Lee / Young Ick Lew / Michael Robinson / Edward W Wagner (Ilchokak Publishers, for Korea Institute, Harvard University, 1990) An ambitious book which aims in the space of 400 pages to encapsulate Korea’s history from Palaeolithic times up until 1990. In a book of this nature it is inevitable […]

Sea-Jin Chang: Financial Crisis and Transformation of Korean Business Groups

The Rise and Fall of Chaebols (Cambridge, 2003) A welcome and very detailed examination of the history and structure of the Korean business conglomerates. The strengths of this book are manifold. First and foremost is the wealth of evidence sourced from the Korea Information Service which provides some raw data for some hard conclusions. And […]