Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (Paperback)

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"The most balanced and comprehensive account of the Korean War." —The Economist


Sixty years after North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea, the Korean War has not yet ended. Sheila Miyoshi Jager presents the first comprehensive history of this misunderstood war, one that risks involving the world’s superpowers—again. Her sweeping narrative ranges from the middle of the Second World War—when Korean independence was fiercely debated between Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill—to the present day, as North Korea, with China’s aid, stockpiles nuclear weapons while starving its people. At the center of this conflict is an ongoing struggle between North and South Korea for the mantle of Korean legitimacy, a "brother’s war," which continues to fuel tensions on the Korean peninsula and the region.


Drawing from newly available diplomatic archives in China, South Korea, and the former Soviet Union, Jager analyzes top-level military strategy. She brings to life the bitter struggles of the postwar period and shows how the conflict between the two Koreas has continued to evolve to the present, with important and tragic consequences for the region and the world. Her portraits of the many fascinating characters that populate this history—Truman, MacArthur, Kim Il Sung, Mao, Stalin, and Park Chung Hee—reveal the complexities of the Korean War and the repercussions this conflict has had on lives of many individuals, statesmen, soldiers, and ordinary people, including the millions of hungry North Koreans for whom daily existence continues to be a nightmarish struggle.


The most accessible, up-to date, and balanced account yet written, illustrated with dozens of astonishing photographs and maps, Brothers at War will become the definitive chronicle of the struggle’s origins and aftermath and its global impact for years to come.



About the Author


Sheila Miyoshi Jager earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary Korean politics and history and is the author and coeditor of two previous books on Korea and East Asia. She is an associate professor and director of the East Asian program at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she lives with her husband and children.

Praise For…


Ms Jager has written the most balanced and comprehensive account of the Korean war. Perhaps by chronicling the brutal deeds of this “forgotten war”, this book will help lay them to rest.
— The Economist

Brothers at War does an exceptionally good job of bringing the conflict to life, and in ways not always comfortable for today’s reader.

— Eliot A. Cohen - The Wall Street Journal

[A] magisterial history of the Korean War.
— Andrew Nathan - Foreign Affairs

Superb… Elegant and balanced.
— Mark Atwood Lawrence - New York Times Book Review

This gripping narrative is a superb study of how the battle fought between two nations, and the world’s three major superpowers, over the 38th parallel—on the Korean Peninsula—molded the zeitgeist for global politics in the latter half of the 20th century.
— J.P. O’Malley - Toronto Star

Compelling [and] wonderfully researched.
— New Internationalist

An important contribution to Cold War scholarship.
— Paul French - Literary Review

A stark reminder that… the Korean War is far from over… This gripping book at last gives the big picture and the full story of a tragic and terrible conflict.
— Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University, UK

Essential reading for all students of recent North and South Korean history. Though scholarly and meticulously researched, the book is written in prose that is accessible to experts and novices alike.
— Library Journal

An important contribution to the literature on this conflict… highly recommended.
— William Donnelly - Military History Quarterly

Jager has produced an excellent, lucid and original contribution to the literature on the Korean peninsula based on extensive research in international archives and reference to a vast body of secondary literature. It is a must read for all who are interested in the topic.
— Zhihua Shen, East China Normal University - China Quarterly

This is a magnificent book—deeply researched and written with real feeling and insight into the complex internal and external conditions that produced a brutal war and perpetuated Korea’s division to the present day.
— William W. Stueck, professor emeritus, University of Georgia

The best single volume on the Korean War…If one has any curiosity about the Korean War as a formidable event in modern Asian history… Brothers at War is the book to read.

— Allan R. Millet, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings

Sheila Miyoshi Jager has managed an astounding feat—an extremely readable yet rigorously objective and brilliantly researched history of the Korean War from all sides.
— Rana Mitter, professor of the history and politics of modern China, Oxford University

Jager . . . skillfully covers international affairs, politics, and society in a first-rate comprehensive presentation of all the big issues facing North and South Korea.
— Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus, Harvard University

This book is the best one-volume study of the war in all its cultural, political, and military aspects.
— Allan R. Millett, University Research Professor and Ambrose Professor of History, University of New Orleans, and Raymond E. Mason Jr. Professor Emeritus of History, The Ohio State University

Written in lucid narrative prose with an eye for the telling detail and compelling human story.
— Carter J. Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History, Harvard University


Product Details
ISBN: 9780393348859
ISBN-10: 0393348857
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2014
Pages: 608
Language: English

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