“A Korean Epoch
This reviewer was a young married woman to a WWII veteran when the U.S. went to war against Korea, and since all WWII veterans were in the reserves for ten years following WWII, we all held our breath as to whether our men would go into battle again. At least in our part of the country, no veterans were recalled and since having read and heard the news from the U.S. point of view and how American soldiers suffered from the cold, and the cruelty if captured by North Koreans, it was enlightening to read this story, which sets forth the suffering of this people, who to this day still suffer.
Chapter 9 of this historical novel sets forth the history of Korea up to the time this novel takes place. “…the Koreans, steeped in relatively disaster-free surroundings and centuries-old state imposed Confucianism (whose aim was to keep peace under the country’s ruler by making the people docile and obedient) became languid and submissive…In the 7th century, Korea, through its three consecutive dynasties paid tribute to China until 1895 when Japan divested China’s dignity…Weak with various factions fighting to influence inept and often spoiled kings, Korea had become a hermit kingdom to protect itself from Western powers and fell behind other countries in technology and industry…After Japan was forced to open its ports by American warships, within two decades Japan transformed from a primitive agricultural country to a modern industrial nation…In 1895 the Japanese won the war over control of Korea from China…In 1904 Japan won its war against Russia and made Korea its protectorate and assumed all diplomatic rights for Korea. In 1905 with President Roosevelt’s approval, an agreement was formalized to give Japan de facto control of Korea.” The Japanese took the best Korea had to offer and left Korea rather destitute. Eventually the Korean landowners were so poor that most of them favored communism. “The U.S, after an agreement with Russia sliced Korea in half at the 38th parallel. After the defeat of Japan, the U.S. military considered the Koreans to be of the same breed of cats as the Japanese and by August 1945, from its already inflated wartime prices, nearly everyone was starving. The U.S. military followed through with the same rules that the Japanese had caused the Koreans to suffer under.” This reviewer suggests that you read the balance of this chapter so that you can understand how the U.S. got bogged down there and still is.
This is the basis of this historical novel, utilizing the actual facts and making it more real by inserting these several characters, Bark Jimin, a sixteen year old boy, his seven year old sister, Misern, an attractive girlfriend Sora, Barn Sinman, and several other family members or friends, who are starving, homeless, beset and pummeled by soldiers or hoods from the North and driven South. The author includes the terrible damage done upon the Korean people by the U.S. military, not deliberately but as occurs in wartime. This is not a happy story, but it is an informative one and the author describes his characters realistically and holds nothing back when describing the horrific suffering and hopelessness of the masses, who are not political as they are shoved back and forth between the North and the South. I could not lay this book down as it filled in many of the empty spaces for me during those times and our veterans of that war did not come home jubilant, but rather bitter and damaged goods in many instances.
The author gave me a free e-book to read for an honest review.