Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Vanguard: A Tale of Korea by James Scarth Gale

An American missionary tells about his life in Korea at the end of the 19th century, before the Japanese Occupation and the fall of the Kingdom/Empire. Living with a houseboy, called “the dragon” in a small town north of Pyeongyang, Gale became fully immersed in the culture, and describes his earnest efforts to provide both spiritual relief and assistance toward a small community bound by poverty. He witnessed a Japanese invasion and its bloody aftermath. Along with the archaic language, the narrative reveals an immediacy of time and place, with photographs enhancing the visual picture of this rarely seen Western perspective and view of Korea's recent past. Published in 1904. Also see Lillian Underwood’s memoir, Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots: Life in Korea.

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