Synopses & Reviews
Sixty years after North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea, the Korean War has not yet ended. Sheila Miyoshi Jager presents the first comprehensive history of this long-misunderstood war, one that risks involving the world’s superpowers—again. Her sweeping narrative ranges from the middle of World War II, when Korean independence was fiercely debated between Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill, to the present day, as North Korea, with China’s aid, stockpiles nuclear weapons while starving its people. Drawing on newly accessible diplomatic archives and reports from South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Jager not only analyzes top-level military strategy but also depicts the on-the-ground atrocities committed by both sides that have never before been revealed.
The most accessible, up-to-date, and balanced account yet written, rich with maps and illustrations, Brothers at War will become the definitive chronicle of the struggle’s origins, aftermath, and global impact for years to come.
"This timely primer on the past, present, and possible future of the Korean Peninsula, by Jager, an associate professor of East Asian studies at Oberlin College, opens at the close of World War II. At the time, the United States was scrambling to draft a proposal that would secure itself a share in the beleaguered and communism-susceptible region, rather than allowing Stalin and the Soviets sole occupation. Hence, the 38th parallel, whose path was traced late at night on a National Geographic map to divide North and South Korea into separate occupied zones. When the North Koreans, under Soviet supervision, crossed the parallel in 1950, war erupted; less than six days later, the U.S. had committed troops. Initially dismissed as a mere 'police action,' the war has now spanned six decades and is buffered only by a fragile armistice (which North Korea voided in early March 2013). Jager carefully examines how the war has evolved over time, and how this struggle for 'Korean legitimacy' has influenced the global power order, from the U.S.'s turbulent diplomatic efforts (Bill Clinton once called the DMZ 'the scariest place on earth') to the rise of China. Insightful, in-depth, and much needed, this book is required reading for anyone who hopes to understand the situation in Korea. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A major historical account of the Korean War, its origins, and its evolving impact on the world.
About the Author
Sheila Miyoshi Jager earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary Korean politics and history and is the author and coeditor of two previous books on Korea and East Asia. She is an associate professor and director of the East Asian program at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she lives with her husband and children.