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BOOK REVIEWS117 elements to party members only, or to the North Korean people as well? If the two speeches cited above were delivered secretly and exclusively to the top members of the WPK Central Committee by Kim and were made public no earlier than March 1958, then Suh is correct. One final question remains. Students ofNorth Korean politics are still unable to confirm exactly how, when, and where Kim Il Sung returned to North Korea in 1945. (My North Korean guide told me during my two-week stay there in the summer of 1981 that Kim returned to North Korea through Wonsan in 1945.) In this volume, no record is given of Kim's works between September 15, 1943, and August 20, 1945. (It is probable that Kim produced nothing during this period.) Kim's nonexistant works aside, we are still unable to authenticate his activities or whereabouts in this period, except for speculation and conjecture based on Japanese intelligence reports. One minor Chronometrie error should be pointed out in this connection. On several occasions Suh uses the phrase "the past thirty years" in reference to his coverage ofNorth Korean official documents. In fact, this volume covers thirty-five years, from 1945 through 1980. In a nutshell, Dae-sook Suh once again has demonstrated his impeccable scholarship as a leading Koreanologist. This volume is a must for all libraries and a useful reference guide for all serious students of Korean politics. Sung Chul Yang University of Kentucky The Origins of the Korean War. Vol. 1 : Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947. By Bruce Cumings. Princeton University Press, 1981. 619 pp. Appendixes, notes, bibliography, subject and name indexes. It should be said at the outset that, even as the first of two volumes, the second of which still awaits completion, Cumings' work already clearly stands as one of the three or four most important books to appear about Korea in any Western language since World War Two; It is a book that, regardless of whether one fully agrees with its theses or opinions, must be read by anyone who is even remotely interested in Korea, as well as by those concerned with the formulation of policy toward developing countries. This work does not pretend to give us the last word on the vast and imposing drama that it recounts. Yet it is certain to remain a landmark on the way to an understanding ofKorea, ofU.S. policy toward Korea, and ofsome ofthe conditions that, when misunderstood, have led to wars ofthe sort that Korea has experienced in this century. It must also be said forthwith that no review ofnormal length can do justice, either pro or con, to a work as long, as densely researched, as lively in its observation , and as provocative in its theme and interpretation as Cumings' Origins. 118BOOK REVIEWS The book's theme cannot be fairly or fullyjudged until the second volume is in hand, but since it has been unveiled and vigorously pursued in volume 1, it deserves comment. Cumings believes that the causes ofthe Korean War have been viewed at much too close range by analysts who have collated the events, news, and statistics inside and outside Korea during the period immediately preceding the war. He holds the causes to be more fundamental and traces their origin to the antithetical handling by the American and Soviet occupation forces of essentially revolutionary conditions bequeathed Korea by the Japanese occupation: rapid social mobilization, and urbanization and migration of the population even as the majority of peasants were entangled in a landlord-dominated tenancy system. To Cumings, the war was the violent climax to an unrelieved state ofcivil revolutionary strife heralded by the liberation of 1945 and precipitated chiefly by the decisive (but not always policy-responsive) measures taken by the U.S. authorities in South Korea between September 7, 1945 and the year's end. This strife arose less from antipathy between the United States and the Soviet Union, as Truman and Aceheson believed, than from deeper-lying forces in Korea that in fact came close to ensnaring both these alien giants, who then tried to use the Korean forces for their own ends...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 117-121
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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