Every so often I return to the two immense volumes of Bruce Cumings’ Origins of the Korean War, marvelling at their girth and intricacy. In my view, these works are worthy of the most basic form of praise — repeated and redeemed readings over a decade or two — not simply because the author launches multiple successful assaults from his battery of archival resources, but because the author is a master of style. He understands so well the role of little jeweled anecdotes and linked minor character sketches, and sends them forth as gems skittering everywhere throughout Volume II in particular.
Rather than a sequence of quotes from Origins, this entry seeks to divide and conquer by offering up two works of shorter, yet no less sustained or whole, fare by the University of Chicago historian:
Bruce Cumings, “Korea: Forgotten Nuclear Threats,” Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2004, < http://mondediplo.com/2004/12/08korea >, accessed 7 October 2011.
Bruce Cumings, “Fear and Loathing on the Pyongyang Trail: North Korea and the United States.” Japan Focus December 12, 2005 < http://japanfocus.org/-Bruce-Cumings/2146> accessed 7 October 2011.