The Hidden History of the Korean War
By I.F. Stone
$28.00 paper / 408pp / 978-1-68590-008-3
Reviewed by Ian Dailey for Foreword Reviews
Reissued in light of the contemporary relevance of its topics, Journalist I. F. Stone’s political exposé of the Korean War calls years’ worth of dubious claims, made by the highest authorities, into question.
Often called the forgotten war, the Korean War is one of the least talked about conflicts in American history. A surprise attack launched by the North kicked off three years of bloodshed that would’ve resulted in South Korean defeat and communist expansion had it not been for the US’s intervention. Here, Stone probes these decisions, asking whether the US military and other foreign powers knew that an attack was imminent and even desired those hostilities. He takes a close look at the news flowing from official channels and suggests that deceptive political machinations were at play, casting the conflict in a new light.
Stone gathered records from a variety of official sources and compared them to expose how deliberate misinformation was fed to the public for years. His accounts are clear and concise, broken into comprehensible chapters that keep the information-heavy narrative from becoming overwhelming. And his presentation is novelistic: there is a rising action as tensions build before the war begins. Once the conflict starts, there’s gripping escalation, then brief falling action as the war concludes.
Questions posed throughout keep engagement high while also allowing time for contemplating new pieces of information. The result is illuminating, promoting careful consideration of news and wartime reports. An updated introduction is included, serving as a brief primer to the history of the book itself and the necessity of its continued study.
The Hidden History of the Korean War is a skillful, researched warning against the blind acceptance of wartime propaganda.
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