Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review - The Korean War

I picked this book up at a book fair for $3 late last year. The original price of this book, printed in 1972, was $2.95 so I think I must have a collectors edition as it has actually appreciated in value. In the rush at the book fair I didn't read the blurb and thought that it would outline the conflict itself. How wrong I was.

Mind you, the material was quite interesting. The book, in fact, is a collection of articles published in the New York Times Magazine published between 1950 and 1953 and includes pieces by a former secretary of state and the like. Only some 20% of the book would be devoted to the conflict but most of the stories centre on communism, China, Russia and the US and the reasoning behind the war and effects resultant from it. There's quite a bit of material relating to the US's participation in the Korean war and what it meant in terms of stemming the flow of communism, the world economy and China.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect, for me, was the overriding feeling that the US had no affection for the yellow man of Korea (the words they used) and the main reason for going to war was to prevent the spread of communism. In a nutshell the Yanks just wanted the Bolshevik mentality to be limited from overtaking much of Asia.

A few writers intimated that Europe needed to be defended from communism at all costs as the US economy couldn't afford to lose that business but that Asia wouldn't be an insurmountable loss. A rather simplified view of it all, don't you think?

Chinese communism didn't appear to be as great a threat as that directly from Russia and the Americans considered that they couldn't afford to go to war with China and were prepared to wait and see. In any case, the money and arms provided to Chiang Kai-shek who was claiming to be the leader of China within he exile in Formosa (Taiwan) was being wasted and not worth the effort.

Quite an entertaining book because it covered so many viewpoints from different authors and painted a decent picture of how the conflict was viewed from a governmental position and not from the battlefield. Only took a couple of weeks for me to finish too.

The Korean War edited by Lloyd C. Gardner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A must read thanks.