Jun 22 2014

The Korean War by Max Hastings

This is the best book on the subject I have read so far. The author is British and therefore has no patriotic ax to grind about either the motives or the performance of the United States in this war. He acknowledges that Syngman Rhee was a brutal and corrupt dictator who committed numberless atrocities against his own people, but he makes a compelling argument that the regime under Kim Il Sung was far worse, and given the status of North Korea today the argument is hard to refute. The Americans were guilty of ignorance and lack of tactical vision, but Hastings affirms that their motives for fighting the war were sound. Here is his concluding statement: “If the Korean War was a frustrating, profoundly unsatisfactory experience, more than thirty-five years later it still seems a struggle that the West was utterly right to fight.”

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