Korea – Where the American Century Began

This lucid book should be compulsory reading for anyone who wonders how the situation on the Korean peninsula has deteriorated to the point it is today. It demonstrates the truth of the axiom that unless you know the history, you cannot see the future.
The failed invasion of North Korea by US-led forces in late 1950 and the unrelenting three-year long bombing campaign of North Korean cities, towns and villages – ‘every thing that moved [and] every brick standing on top of another’ – help explain why the Pyongyang regime is, and always has been, determined to develop a credible nuclear deterrent. As Alistair Horne once said so wisely ‘How different world history would have been if MacArthur had had the good sense to stop on the 38th parallel.

The first Korean War became the first of America’s failed modern wars; and its first modern war with China. It established the pattern for the next sixty years and marked the true beginning of the American century – opening the door to ever-increasing military expenditure; launching the long era of expanding American global force projection; and creating the dangerous and festering geopolitical sore that exists in Northeast Asia today. Washington has not learned the lessons of history and we are reaping the consequences.

‘Perceptive and compelling – often heart-rending, sometimes downright terrifying – this is a richly informed study…The lessons are all too pertinent in today’s toxic political climate, with Korea once again a centerpiece and victim.’
Noam Chomsky

This book will be released in Australia in February 2018.

‘Korea: Where the American Century Began’ is short-listed for The Queensland Literary Awards

Results will be announced on 23 October 2018.

QLD Literary Awards
The judges made the following comment about the book:
“This is a devastating book which sheds light on a country shrouded in darkness and trouble, and its modern history in which the United States has played a pivotal role since the end of World War Two. This is a vitally important book because so much of Pembroke’s carefully researched facts are little known.”

‘Korea: Where the American Century Began’ is long-listed for the 2018 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award

A shortlist will be announced on 17 September 2018, ahead of the winner’s announcement on 22 November 2018 at an event hosted by author Richard Glover.

NIB award

‘Korea: Where the American Century Began’ was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

NSW Premier's History Award
The judges made the following comment about the book:
“Michael Pembroke’s Korea is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the bedevilling politics of the Korean peninsula. The book tells the story of the war that began when North Korea invaded the South in June 1950, and was promptly repelled by an American-led United Nations force. The Americans then turned aggressors, pushing north without UN approval. Offering fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the key players, Korea narrates what came next.Gripping in style and shocking in content, Korea offers an unflinching appraisal of America’s role in the war. Pembroke tells the story of China’s devastating rout of the US-led force, the Americans’ massive napalm-fuelled retaliation by air, and their later breach of the Armistice by bringing nuclear weapons to the peninsula in 1958. The result is a fast-paced, frightening history that also serves as a primer on the complexities of US-Chinese-Korean relations today.”
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This lucid book should be compulsory reading for anyone who wonders how the situation on the Korean peninsula has deteriorated to the point it is today. It demonstrates the truth of the axiom that unless you know the history, you cannot see the future.

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