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Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950-1953 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199738991
ISBN-10: 0199738998
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Editorial Reviews


"Steven Casey has drawn a masterly analysis of what is certain to become the standard work on its subject.... The whole study is, moreover, conveyed with real verve and at a cracking pace.... An exceptionally good book which does full justice to the complexity of the comestic politics of the Korean War and the rold of the media, official institutions, and politicians in shaping public opinion."--Matthew Jones, Journal of American Studies

"Casey provides the best account to date of the relationship between domestic politics and the war in Korea.... His book is a significant contribution to the literature on the Korean conflict and the relationship between politics and diplomacy during the early years of the Cold War. Most impressive is the author's ability to place the war in a broader context."--Thomas W. Devine, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"As a study on the complex relationship among the executive branch, congress, the media, and the public within a constitutional democracy, Dr. Casey's Selling the Korean War is unparalleled in both detail and insight. It is a major addition to the literature--in any language--on the Korean War, and merits a careful read by all who share an interest in the subject."--Sung-Yoon Lee, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"This careful study not only fills a notable gap in the literature on the Korean War, it also makes a valuable addition to the short list of books dealing with the conflict's impact on domestic affairs inside the United States. Although Casey's main purpose is to explain ' the government's efforts to sell the war at home,' he achieves much more in persuasively challenging the conventional wisdom about well-known key events and advancing perceptive new interpretations of old issues."--James I. Matray, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"This well-written and thoughtfully argued study...warrants reading not only by specialists on the Korean War but also by those interested in the crucial foreign policy debates which occurred during the final third of Truman's presidency."--Wilson D. Miscamble, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"This is, quite simply, a fantastically good book. Steven Casey's exhaustively researched account of the hesitant, ambivalent effort to sell America's first limited war to a reluctant public is a brilliant evocation and analysis of the domestic shape of the Korean War. Comparisons between the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan and Vietnam are commonplace; readers may be surprised to discover how much of the present dilemmas of U.S. foreign policy were pre-figured over half a century ago."--Marilyn B. Young, co-editor of Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam: Or How Not to Learn from the Past

"An exhaustively researched, highly readable, and path-breaking study of the American political process experiencing the stresses of the nation's first large-scale limited war. It is required reading not only for students of the Korean era, but also for anyone wishing to understand the divisiveness and rancor that recurred in Vietnam and, most recently, in Iraq."--Ralph B. Levering, author of The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History

"As a long-time claimant of expertise on the Korean War, I am humbled by how much I learned from this well-written book, both in information combed from the archives and in penetrating insight."--William Stueck, author of Rethinking the Korean War

"A masterly analysis certain to become the standard work on it subject.... The whole study is conveyed with real verve and at a cracking pace."--Matthew Jones, Journal of American Studies

"An exhaustively researched and insightful volume...[that] breaks new ground in the analysis of the postwar era's first limited war. Steven Casey has convincingly shown that, because of its unique place in Cold War history, the Korean War produced unprecedented ambivalence in the American national consciousness." -- American Communist History

"Exquisitely documented and exceptionally detailed."-Tae Yang Kwak, Journal of World History

About the Author

Steven Casey is Senior Lecturer in International History at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War against Nazi Germany, 1941-1945 (OUP).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199738998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199738991
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By MarkK VINE VOICE on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
The invasion of South Korea by North Korean forces in June 1950 posed a multitude of challenges to the United States. Among these, one of the most difficult and persistent faced by the Truman administration was that of how to present the war to the American people. What might seem to be a fairly straightforward matter was in fact a far more complex problem, riven as it was by issues of domestic politics and overshadowed by the broader context of the Cold War. Steven Casey's book provides a detailed look at the problems the Truman administration faced, how they changed over the course of the war, and how they endeavored to navigate around or surmount the difficulties before them.

These problems emerged practically from the moment the president and the American people first learned of the invasion. From the start Truman sought a restrained rhetorical response to the conflict, out of a concern that intemperate language might exacerbate the Cold War. This decision, however, gave an opening to Truman's Republican opponents in Congress. Still smarting from Truman's victory in the 1948 presidential election, they took advantage of his failure to define the conflict early on by using it to lambaste his administration's handling of foreign policy.

Their criticisms were sharpened in the short term by the course of events, as the poor showing of the first American troops thrown into combat served to underline Republican arguments about Truman's failings as president. Here Casey turns his attention to the other part of the story, the type and nature of the information flooding out from the Korean peninsula.
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Format: Paperback
While this book addresses the political machinations to maintain public support and the rationale to downplay this most bloody foreign war in US history, this book does a poor job of covering how the government got away with keeping the most violent battle of the Korean War since 1951 -- the Battle of Kumsong, out of public awareness. As a result of this subterfuge by the government, there is virtually nothing written today of this sacrifice on the part of US and coalition forces in July 1953 in which thousands were wounded, killed, or lost in action. If Casey had included in this book, it would not only have added considerably to his argument, but it would have provided the first valuable discussion on this most forgotten battle of the forgotten war.
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