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The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951: A Nonconformist History of Our Times Paperback – October, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

I believe this book serves a threefold purpose. It is a case-study in the cold war. It is also a study in war propaganda, in how to read newspapers and official documents in wartime. Emphasis, omission, and distortion rather than outright lying are the tools of the war propagandists, and this book may help the reader to learn how to examine their output - and sift out the facts - for himself. Finally this book is what it purports to be, not "inside stuff" or keyhole revelations but the hidden history of the Korean War, the facts to be found in the official accounts themselves if texts are carefully examined and reports collated. -- excerpt from author's preface

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Product Details

  • Series: Nonconformist History of Our Times
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P) (October 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316817708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316817707
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,367,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Noble VINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
If we accept the premise that the U.S. government had theoretically declared war against Russia in 1917 when the Russian army decided to walk off the battlefields of Europe and establish a "worker" state. And then add the point of view that it was the Free World Capitalists from the U.S. and elsewhere who financed Adolf Hitler with the intent of using Hitler and his Nazi State to attack and destroy Russia. And then we view the post war Marshall Plan and the establishment of NATO as further steps in isolating Russia as an enemy. And follow all this logic with the "Cold War" strategy to box Russia in militarily and economically, we have the foundations for this journalistic indictment.

This entire attitude stems from the American Capitalist government's strong aversion to the rights or advancement of labor organizations at home and abroad. It has become clear to me from my research of the American and world labor movement that from this country's beginnings it has been at war with "workers" and the working man mentality. When and if one takes all of this into consideration the goals and intent of both MacArthur and Truman as pointed out elaborately and in detail in this book become more than understandable.

I feel that this book is accurate in all of its details with only one small flaw. As Mr. Ambrose also points out, North Korea did not really need to be "tricked" or lured into a belligerent attitude. Current day events point out clearly that North Korea has always had its problems when it comes to aggression.
But that one point made, I don't think that fact diminishes the exceptional fact finding report conducted in this book by Mr. Stone.

General MacArthur comes off very, very bad in my estimation. He was not frightened of nuclear power, since the U.S.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TLR on November 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
Written while the war was still ongoing, Stone examined contemporary news accounts, official statements and other sources to unravel all the propaganda. He makes a strong case that South Korea provoked the war with cross-border attacks, and that Truman was misled by various hawks eager to start a major Asian war (John Foster Dulles, General Douglas MacArthur, and South Korean dictator Syngman Rhee).

Author John Gunther, General Douglas MacArthur's personal biographer, just happened to be in the General's personal railroad car when a high-level occupation official returned from being called to a phone, saying, "A big story has just broken. The South Koreans have attacked North Korea."

Stone: "I believe I have succeeded in throwing new light on its origins, on the operations of MacArthur and Dulles, on the weaknesses of Truman and Acheson, on the way the Chinese were provoked to intervene, and on the way the truce talks have been dragged out and the issues muddied by American military men hostile from the first to negotiations. I have tried to bring as much of the hidden story to light as I could in order to put the people of the United States and the United Nations on guard."
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Sean Mulligan (jmull@mindspring.com) on August 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
I.f Stone presents a very well documented case much of what most people know about the Korean War is false. A must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jrhjrhjrh on April 18, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This controversial book, The Hidden History of the Korean War by I. F. Stone was originally published in 1952 during the Korean War (1950-1953) and republished in 1970 during the Vietnam War (1960-1975). It raises questions about the origin of the Korean War, makes a case that the United States government manipulated the United Nations, and gives evidence that the U.S. military and South Korean oligarchy dragged out the war by sabotaging the peace talks.

Publishing such a book in the U.S. during the time of McCarthyism, while the war was still continuing was an act of journalistic courage. In the 190s, forty years later, declassified U.S., Soviet and People's Republic of China documents both confirmed some and corrected some of Stone's story.

Until his death in 1989, Stone was an experienced and respected, independent, left-wing journalist and iconoclast. This book-length feat of journalism, with over 600 citations for his quotes and materials, is a testament to Stone's search for a way to strengthen his readers to think for themselves, rather than be overwhelmed by official stories and war propaganda.

The standard telling was that the Korean War was an unprovoked aggression by the North Koreans beginning on June 25, 1950, undertaken at the behest of the Soviet Union to extend the Soviet sphere of influence to the whole of Korea, completely surprising the South Koreans, the U.S., and the U.N.

But was it a surprise? Could an attack by 70,000 men using at least 70 tanks launched simultaneously at four different points have been a surprise?

Stone gathers contemporary reports from South Korean, U.S. and U.N. sources documenting what was known before June 25. The head of the U.S. CIA, Rear Admiral Roscoe H.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Llys on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must read. Published during the war, I.F. Stone exposes US military communiques on the criminal bombing of North Korea which killed 2 million civilians, one-quarter of the population, as well as the use of millions of gallons of napalm on the civilian population.
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