Other books byBruce Cumings
Depicted as an insular and forbidding police state with an insane” dictator at its helm, North Korea—charter member of Bush’s Axis of Evil”—is a country the U.S. loves to hate. Now the CIA says it possesses nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as long-range missiles capable of delivering them to America’s West Coast. But, as Bruce Cumings demonstrates in this provocative, lively read, the story of the U.S.-Korea conflict is more complex than our leaders or our news media would have us believe. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Korea, and on declassified government reports, Cumings traces that story, from the brutal Korean War to the present crisis. Harboring no illusions regarding the totalitarian Kim Jong Il regime, Cumings nonetheless insists on a more nuanced approach. The result is both a counter-narrative to the official U.S. and North Korean versions and a fascinating portrayal of North Korea, a country that suffers through foreign invasions, natural disasters, and its own internal contradictions, yet somehow continues to survive.
Dominion from Sea to Sea
Pacific Ascendancy and American Power
America is the first world power to inhabit an immense land mass open at both ends to the world’s two largest oceans—the Atlantic and the Pacific. This gives America a great competitive advantage often overlooked by Atlanticists, whose focus remains overwhelmingly fixed on America’s relationship with Europe. Bruce Cumings challenges the Atlanticist perspective in this innovative new history, arguing that relations with Asia influenced our history greatly. Cumings chronicles how the movement westward, from the Middle West to the Pacific, has shaped America’s industrial, technological, military, and global rise to power. He unites domestic and international history, international relations, and political economy to demonstrate how technological change and sharp economic growth have created a truly bicoastal national economy that has led the world for more than a century. Cumings emphasizes the importance of American encounters with Mexico, the Philippines, and the nations of East Asia. The result is a wonderfully integrative history that advances a strong argument for a dual approach to American history incorporating both Atlanticist and Pacificist perspectives.
Korea's Place in the Sun
A Modern History
Korea has endured a "fractured, shattered twentieth century," and this updated edition brings Bruce Cumings's leading history of the modern era into the present. The small country, overshadowed in the imperial era, crammed against great powers during the Cold War, and divided and decimated by the Korean War, has recently seen the first real hints of reunification. But positive movements forward are tempered by frustrating steps backward. In the late 1990s South Korea survived its most severe economic crisis since the Korean War, forcing a successful restructuring of its political economy. Suffering through floods, droughts, and a famine that cost the lives of millions of people, North Korea has been labeled part of an "axis of evil" by the George W. Bush administration and has renewed its nuclear threats. On both sides Korea seems poised to continue its fractured existence on into the new century, with potential ramifications for the rest of the world.
Inventing the Axis of Evil
The Truth About North Korea, Iran, And Syria
An "authoritative and informative" ("The Nation") primer on the countries caught in the crosshairs of the Bush administration, by three renowned experts. Ever since the "axis of evil" label was first applied by President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address, the hawks in his administration have left little doubt as to where they intend to turn their attention after Iraq: North Korea, Iran, and Syria. Yet most Americans know very little about these three countries beyond what the Pentagon has told them. For those wanting to know more about "who's next," this "timely exposition on global (in)stability" ("Korean Quarterly") by three leading experts on each country sets the record straight, confronting relentless fear-mongering with hard facts. The authors explore each country's history and internal politics alongside the spotty record of past U.S. interventions, including the Korean War and the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Iran's elected prime minister in 1953. As one reviewer pointed out: "The most important thing we know about Syria is that we really don't know what's going on in Syria" ("Slate"). While entertaining no illusions about these despotic regimes, "Inventing the Axis of Evil" demonstrates that the truth is far more complicated than some would have us believe.