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The Korean War Hardcover – July 3, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Studies in International History and Politics
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; First edition (July 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691037671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691037677
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,019,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Any serious student of the Korean War will want to read this book for its measured perspectives and concern to contextualize its subject. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From The New Yorker

Stueck has written an impressive, largescale synthesis of the entire conflict.... [He] excels at describing the intricate diplomatic maneuverings that took place throughout the war, and that were aimed at avoiding a major clash between the great powers. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gary J. Jakacky on November 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Good book! The introduction sets the tone and the theme for the book: thus, it hangs together despite being one of those books which covers the battles of the war in numbing detail. His theses are several:
(1)The Korean War substituted for WW III between the two superpowers.
(2)The U.N. was not exclusively a U.S. tool.
(3)Stalin's motive was to hurt US/China relations, the US, to stop communism; neither cared about Korea.
(4)The war had a global impact on defense expenditures, treaties and economic alliances between the various blocs.
There is much speculation about times when the war could have come ended sooner. What would the political impact have been? Stueck suggests that great men--Stalin, Mao, Truman/Acheson--not just great ideology, played a role in this critical history.
Occupation of Korea by Russian and US forces at the end of WWII was without any specifics..that hurt as relations between the two nations hardened. Both occupying forces were heavyhanded. Russians used reform to calm things down, but the south was in chaos among its political factions. The US, wishing to wash its hands of Korea, turned to the UN as a way to have peninsular elections; the north refused to take part. Some improvement took place in the south in 1950, helped by ruthless suppression of insurrections by Syghman Rhee in the central mountains of Korea.

To Stalin, an asian war would detract from the European theatre, and hurt China. Still the USA, China and Russia had profound reasons NOT to clash head on those summer days of 1950. Early diplomatic moves made it clear that the 3 superpowers would confine the battlefield to Korea.
Discussion about Allied forces going over the 38th parallel were underway in the US as early as the 10th of August.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ferro on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
An excellent reference work for scholars of East Asian history. This book documents the behind-the-scenes twists and turns of the war, its prelude, and influence upon the politics of the world powers. It utilizes new sources and argues that Korea functioned as a proxy cold-war alternative to WWIII.
The only noticeable flaw is that you never really know what year you are in (or it takes a lot of backpedalling or cross-referencing to find out). The author mentions days and months frequently but almost never the year. Ultimately however, its thoroughness and objectivity left a lasting impression.
It is basically a textbook, and a weighty volume at that. Reading it for pleasure rather than study, I was hoping it would draw in more diverse cultural insights, anecdotes or elements of human interest, but it remained rather bland from that standpoint.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allyn9 on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a book my son needed for school. Not only was the delivery quick but the book was in very good shape and very reasonably priced.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charles B. McClelland on June 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not sure the author has thought enough about it. The story gets way out of hand very quickly. It reads more as a propaganda track for a particular political point of view.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christine Saalbach on February 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Start reading this book at the end if you don't have the time to read through every minute negotiation and battle during this three-year war. Chapter Ten is an excellent overview of how twenty nations on six continents became deeply and fatally involved with what Stueck calls a "substitute for World War III."
I was grateful for the maps that Stueck provides along with his text. Because Stueck rarely provides a year along with a date, I could not tell if he was going forward or backward to explain a point. His skipping around in time was confusing. My knowledge of the Korean War before I read this book was fairly limited, gleaned from years of watching MASH on TV. Because of Stueck's thorough coverage, I now know many of the international nuances behind the historical relationship between the US and Korea.
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