Asia’s Unknown Uprisings Vol. 1 in Choice

Asia’s Unknown Uprisings Volume 1: South Korean Social Movements in the 20th Century

by H. T. Wong
October 2012

Katsiaficas’s latest book is consistent with his radical Marxist politics. The Eros effect will pave the way for a worldwide revolution from below and create a world based on human love. He demonizes the US and Japan: “Korea was so ravaged that a literal sea of blood was spilled in the twentieth century at the hands of both Japan and the United States … South Korea’s economy remains ruled by the dictatorship of the neoliberal market.” He also chastises the European and US dismissal of Asian influence on recent popular global uprisings. Anyone who identifies with Katsiaficas will love this book; however, Katsiaficas (Wentworth Institute of Technology) remains an ideologue well short on objectivity.

His 160-plus interviews include only citizen activists. Korea’s deep authoritarian political and social roots were not created by the US. The US military has shielded South Korea from hostile totalitarian North Korea. Thirteen chapters explore major Korean uprisings from the 1894 Rice War to the 2008 Candlelight Protest, Jeju and Yeosun Insurrections, and the overthrow, assassination, and incarceration of Korean presidents. There are thirty-four tables and eleven charts, graphs, and maps.

Summing Up: Recommended. For general readers and undergraduates, because it fills a void in English-language studies on Korea.

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