The Intimacies of Conflict: Cultural Memory and the Korean War

New York Univ. Nov. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781479805365. pap. $29. SOC SCI
The Korean War is often dubbed the Forgotten War, as it took place between the two larger conflicts of World War II and the Vietnam War. Kim (English & American studies, Brown Univ.; Writing Manhood in Black and Yellow) provides an interpretation of how this “forgotten war” was remembered through a variety of mediums, including motion pictures and novels. The book is divided into two parts and mostly focuses on American perspectives of the war, though Korean and Korean American viewpoints are featured in the final chapter and conclusion. The first part analyzes films such as 1950s The Steel Helmet) and their interpretations of the war itself, as well as race relations, the Cold War, and events during and immediately following the war. The second part considers novels such as Jayne Anne Phillips’s Lark and Termite, published about 50 years or more after the war ended and providing a look at how the conflict is remembered in popular culture decades after it ended.
VERDICT Highly recommended for scholars interested in the Korean War from a cultural memory perspective. Readers seeking a more descriptive account of the conflict itself should consider Sheila Miyoshi Jager’s Brothers at War.
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