Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History

Korea s Place in the Sun A Modern History Korea has endured a fractured shattered twentieth century and this updated edition brings Bruce Cumings s leading history of the modern era into the present The small country overshadowed in the im

  • Title: Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History
  • Author: Bruce Cumings
  • ISBN: 9780393327021
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Paperback
  • Korea has endured a fractured, shattered twentieth century, and this updated edition brings Bruce Cumings s leading history of the modern era into the present The small country, overshadowed in the imperial era, crammed against great powers during the Cold War, and divided and decimated by the Korean War, has recently seen the first real hints of reunification But posiKorea has endured a fractured, shattered twentieth century, and this updated edition brings Bruce Cumings s leading history of the modern era into the present The small country, overshadowed in the imperial era, crammed against great powers during the Cold War, and divided and decimated by the Korean War, has recently seen the first real hints of reunification But positive movements forward are tempered by frustrating steps backward In the late 1990s South Korea survived its most severe economic crisis since the Korean War, forcing a successful restructuring of its political economy Suffering through floods, droughts, and a famine that cost the lives of millions of people, North Korea has been labeled part of an axis of evil by the George W Bush administration and has renewed its nuclear threats On both sides Korea seems poised to continue its fractured existence on into the new century, with potential ramifications for the rest of the world.

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    One thought on “Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History”

    1. Whenever people would ask me about my grandfather I would say he was a military man who founded the Korean Air Force, who became a diplomat and a politician in the 1960s-80s. I would say this in a very definitive voice and hope that people wouldn't ask anything specific because I had absolutely no idea - not one inkling - about Korean history! A few weeks reading this book alongside my grandfather's memoirs changed that. It also raised a whole load of questions about what's true, in politics and [...]

    2. I'm one of those weirdo types that loves reading history books, especially if they're Asian history books (I'm a dedicated Asian studies major after all). With reading an array of historical textual stuff, especially for my higher education pursuits, I can generally get a good feel for the book. In my many years of passionate sponging of information in this field, I have never encountered something that had made me physically angry at the author. Let me explain the reasoning for this rage and di [...]

    3. For several years I've been working on a project to read a history of every country in the world (and then some), and it's often surprising how little of worth there seems to be on certain places. The Koreas is definitely one that had a stunning lack of lay scholarship available, considering the shrillness with which the peninsula is constantly evoked as, like transgender restroom freedoms, one of things that will destroy American life as we know it.It's sad, since it's a fascinating place. A we [...]

    4. Succinct summary of Korean history. Most helpful to me in gaining a better understanding of North Korea's current stand. They are not an "irrational" "Psychotic" state with "bizarre" behavior. Like any country, they are shaped by their history and geography. Korea has always been a minnow surrounded by whales: China, Japan, Russia. They have a long history of being invaded and a long mythology of fighting off the invasions from superior powers and demanding to "just be left alone". That is North [...]

    5. I have extremely mixed views about this book and it took me a long time to collect my thoughts to express my feelings. There's no doubt that Bruce Cumings is a knowledgeable professor on the subject of modern Korean history and has much to share. I definitely learn some new things even though I've been in Korea for over six years and have read twenty some-odd books about Korea at the time of the posting. I could easily see why he is sometimes called a revisionist or an apologist from his writing [...]

    6. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although I haven’t read many histories of Korea, I was pleased that this book departed from many of the stereotypes. A professor of mine at the Army War College continually warned us students that it takes decades of moss to grown under our feet before we should expect to see useful historical research. I think Prof Cumings’ book benefits from this distance. The reader should not be surprised that Cumings has received considerable critique from many corners. B [...]

    7. In Korea’s Place in the Sun, Bruce Cumings sought to explain Korean history through a revisionist’s point of view. In many ways this books elucidates some of the problems in the traditional Korean narrative, such as the often contemptuous role of Western powers (particularly the United States) in forging a modern Korea that is divorced from the country’s traditions. Cumings expertly chronicles the peninsula’s de facto, and eventually de jure, division following World War Two, paying spec [...]

    8. This is essentially a book about Korea from 1860 to 1996. It is the best interpretive history of "modern" and contemporary Korea that I have read and as such it filled a distinct gap. Despite the focus on the last two centuries, the book does address the complexity and seeming contradictions of Korean 'culture.' The author's brief discussion of the influence of Confucianism, particularly it's emphasis on the necessity of 'remonstrance' juxtaposed with the worker howling at the moon after imbibin [...]

    9. This is a frank, revealing, and easily-read book that takes on a lot of political hot potatoes. Korea's history in the Twentieth Century is absolutely shocking. It's also the subject of a ton of misconceptions. This book is important.

    10. I thought this was a great book and an excellent introduction to Korea history, albeit with a few problems. The first is that Mr. Cumings' real interest appears to be the 19th and 20th centuries, not ancient history. As a general rundown of Korean history, it serves its purpose, but the coverage of the Three Kingdoms, Silla and Koryo periods feels dispassionate and obligatory - and generally boring. Those with a particular interest in these periods (like myself) will probably find themselves sea [...]

    11. This is, arguably, the best history of Korea currently in print. It's thorough, it's smart, it's readable, and it's provocative. Cumings is controversial for his way left of center perspective; he is often far more sympathetic to North Korea than seems warranted. But Cumings, unlike Michael Breen, for instance, really knows what he's talking about. Even when his views seem wrong, one is better off for having negotiated with them.Keep in mind, though, that there's more to the Korean peninsula tha [...]

    12. I haven't read a history book since I was last required to 20 years ago in college. But a recent visit to South Korea had me interested in learning more about the country. This was a fascinating book that was way more than a recitation of historical facts. I learned many things that changed the way I look at politics, culture, religion, as well as America's place in Korea. Highly recommended.

    13. A straight-forward history of Korea for non-academics. Not sure I buy Cumings's revisionist take on who caused the outbreak of the Korean War--especially considering the revelations about the start of that conflict that emerged when Soviet archives were opened in the 1990s.

    14. I had to read this book for a college course, but I am so grateful that I was introduced to it. It is very readable - not dry at all, in my view. I regret that I loaned it to someone and never saw it again. I guess he liked it too.

    15. Very good read for those want an in depth cause/effect of the current state of the politics on the Korean peninsula. It shows the cultural, philosophical and political history of Korea over the last 150 years.

    16. A modern history indeed, perhaps too much so. The focus of this book is on the years 1945-98, anything before (and, in the 2005 updated edition, after) is glossed over. For instance. Among the things I was hoping to clarify for myself by reading this book was the 1895 murder of Queen Min by Japanese troops. The book disappointed me in this regard. It basically merely mentioned it. It provided some hows, although it didn't mention (say) the Black Ocean Society, but almost no whys and thenwhats. A [...]

    17. The author is a bit harsh against ROK and United States, while tend to be sympathetic toward DPRK. Probably it is caused by his past experiences under Park Chung-hee's dictatorship.

    18. This book was a bit of a dense tome, but a very valuable read for better understanding modern Korea and its history.

    19. Despite the relative ignorance of Korea’s history and the widespread issues of a divided Korean peninsula, there are actually quite a lot of books written on the subject. Often, these books are either remarkably narrow in scope and/or rely on only one side of the story. Bruce Cumings takes on the daunting task of a readable, comprehensive history of Korea in Korea’s Place in the Sun.Korea’s Place in the Sun begins its study of Korean history with the near mythological stories of its settle [...]

    20. Bruce Cumings' Korea's Place in the Sun is a good secondary source on Korea. It's described as a modern history on its cover but the earliest chapters deal with Korea's ancient history. In the later chapter, Cumings divides chapters to talk of both modern South Korea and North Korea, as well as what life has been like for Koreans living in the United States.If you're looking for other great books on Korea, I'd also recommend A History of Korea: An Episodic Narrative, Asia's Unknown Uprisings: Vo [...]

    21. Except of a book written by a former french diplomat in Seoul, there is hardly any work about Korea available in french language, furthermone none coming from the academical sector. No need to say that Bruce Cumings work was very informative to me. The first chapters are a brief summary of pre-colonization Korea, the core of the book being mostly modern Korea, from the awakening of a Korean Nationalism in the late Choseon-era until the 2000's. It retraces the japanese colonization and the change [...]

    22. Selectively detailed almost to a fault. Korea's Place in the Sun is an incredibly long read that I was hungry for but unfortunately, it's also overwhelmingly subjective at times. I strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with ancient and modern Korean history prior to reading this book because Cumings doesn't slow down for the casual reader. Recommended for anyone interested in more than a intro course on Korean history. However, be forewarned that this particular author is controversially sub [...]

    23. I am a Korean born to a south-eastern province of South Korea, raised, educated, influenced under much biases. When I was young under anti-communist and anti-North propaganda, when I was a university student under pro-North ones. Later on, confused and impenetrable I didn't care much about it. One day, I picked up this book to revisit long-forgotten history of my own country. Due to incessant geopolitical upheavals across and nearby Korean peninsula in the 19th and 20th century – forced openin [...]

    24. As a one-volume history of Korea, this should be treated as the introduction it is. Cumings clearly intended the book to be read by the "Average American Joe" on the street; if you are not that, you might find yourself disengaging with his narrative a few times in the course of your reading.Cumings is evidently stronger on the topics of the Korean War and the things that happened after it. Considering how much time everything before the Korean War took up and how much that shaped Korea, it deser [...]

    25. Excellent information presenting a multifaceted historical narrative. While the writing is generally good, it's not exactly top-notch and more importantly, it can be rather poorly organized and unclear in its structure when it got down to the facts in the uniquely-titled chapters, which was confusing. All of a sudden, he'd be dropping these terms and names like he'd introduced them before, so much -ing was necessary for me as a novice to Korean history. This author assumes the reader has some so [...]

    26. I read this book as a supplement to a class I audited this spring on Korean History and Culture. While I agree with the previous reviewers that the book glanced over the early Chosun Dynasty and pre-1905 eras, it did provide a lot of details regarding the Japanese Occupation, Korean War, and post-Korea War eras. Sometimes I felt that the author was too biased in his reporting of facts and history, so I would be a bit critical while reading this book. However, I do feel that it is a worthwhile bo [...]

    27. I found this a little dry, though I must admit that I only read the first 85 pages (up to 1860) and I suspect Cumings is more interesting in the 20th Century chapters, which make up the bulk of the book. Although this seems to be one of the best histories available for modern Korea, I was somewhat flabbergasted that he attributes a comment about it being too early to tell about the effects of the French Revolution to Chairman Mao, when it was reportedly Zhou Enlai who made that comment. I should [...]

    28. Disclaimer: Haven't yet finished, but have read many parts out of sequence. Generally agree with other reviewers that it's:A) one of the better books on Korean historyB) somewhat dry and long-winded, and particularly focused on author's pet topics (politicians of modern South Korea, details of Korean War, etc.)C) perhaps not the best source for information on the early history of the peninsula (still haven't found a really good book for that, unfortunately, but I'm looking)Bottom line: if you ca [...]

    29. Provocative, comprehensive history of the Koreas. Cumings obviously delights in being an iconoclast, which I think can be a useful corrective, though I think at times he goes a bit too far. I do think it's unfair for people to describe him as an apologist for the DPRK - he does try to understand how Pyongyang sees the world, but he doesn't deny the terrible abuses inflicted on the North Korean people (probably best to say that he doesn't see those abuses as the only things worth knowing about No [...]

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