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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Korea Today by George McCune

Professor George McCune (1908-1948) was the son of the missionary George Shannon McCune, and was born in Pyongyang. He cofounded the McCune-Reischauer system of romanization of Korean, which was accepted as the academic standard until the South Korean government offered their new, more web-friendly method of standardization in 2000. A Korea scholar, this book was born out of U.S. involvement in Korea at the end of the Pacific War, and as the tensions with Russia grew along the 38th Parallel. It is an extremely valuable resource that helps document the five years of liberation, 1945-1950, including economic, agricultural, geographic, American involvement and other political details. The appendices are rich with documentation from the period. Published by the Institute of Pacific Relations, Harvard University Press. Completed with the collaboration of Evelyn McCune, his wife, and Arthur L. Grey, Jr., the scholar who worked with him on this text until his death.

1 comment:

Anne Sibley O'Brien said...

Eugenia, how exciting to discover your blog! How did I miss this until now?! (I've spent the last forty minutes totally absorbed when I was supposed to be writing.)

This is a wonderful resource, unlike anything I've found on the web. You've unearthed so many titles that I hadn't previously seen any references to.

But this marvelous list can't be complete without mention of your own beautiful novel, The Calligrapher's Daughter. Here's some of what I wrote to you after first reading it:

"I've just spent much of the weekend and all of today today immersed in The Calligrapher's Daughter, and it completely captivated me! What a lovely, heartfelt, engrossing book. I feel as if Najin is someone I know and love, along with her loved ones - oh, her mother! They will linger in my mind and heart...

What a pleasure to spend hours awash in the sensory details of traditional Korean life. I could see, feel, hear, taste and smell it all - the crisp linen, the paper doors, the ddok , the brush and ink, the ondol floors, the kimchis and soups, the tile roofs and madangs, the sewers and markets ...

I love the way you illuminate the formality of Korean manners and customs, revealing the deep feeling contained in the restraint."

No one interested in Korean American readings should miss this book!

With appreciation,
Anne Sibley O'Brien