The course of the Korean War swung like a pendulum powered by two outside interventions: that of the United States, made largely due to the symbolic value of Korea; and that of China, an action taken mainly for security reasons. Chay identifies key actions, including the division of Korea along the 38th Parallel, the 1949 troop withdrawal, and the failure to build an adequate military and economic deterrent in the South, as events that, had they not occurred, might have influenced the final outcome of the conflict. Restraint on the part of the United States and China and the role of the Korean peninsula as a geographic buffer zone ultimately prevented either side from gaining control of the entire peninsula, resulting in a stalemate. While issues of relative strength and weakness hindered U.S.-Korean cooperation after the end of the Second World War, once war came to the region the two powers built a successful partnership that addressed the national interests of both parties.
The photographs, which illuminate and complement writings and oral histories found elsewhere, provide insight into Hawaii's Korean immigrant community, politics, and everyday life. They reveal the struggles and successes of the first and subsequent generations, allowing viewers to connect with the past. Together with chapter introductions, the wide range of photographs (many only recently discovered in archives and family albums) represents an engaging record that uncovers the deep roots of Korean Americans in Hawaii.
This new biography of Min contributes substantially to our understanding of this period by looking beyond the established view of Korea as being polarized between reformists and reactionaries in the late Choson era. In doing so, it provides us with deeper insight into the full range of responses of the late Choson leadership to the dual challenges of internal stagnation and external intervention at the juncture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the recent history of Korea, late nineteenth century imperialism, and Russian, Japanese, American, and British foreign policy in northeast Asia."