Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Korean War

The Korean War

Andrew Santella, Peter G. Knight, Rosemary G. Palmer
For ages 9 to 12
Compass Point Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0756520274

Before the end of World War II Korea was a unified country but after the surrender of Japan in 1945 Korea, like Germany, was divided. The Soviet Union had influence over the northern sector of the country above the 38th parallel, and the United States had influence over the southern sector below this line. A victim of the Cold War, Korea was not allowed to be reunified and its leaders grew apart. In North Korea Kim Il Sung was made the premier and a communist government came into power. A large army was created to support this government. In South Korea democratic elections were held in 1948 and the country's first president was elected into office. The United States supported this new Republic of Korea but it did not give South Korea the kind of military aid that the Soviets were giving the North Koreans.

Then on June 25th, 1950, North Korean forces began to invade South Korea on several fronts and in large numbers. President Truman did not want to get involved and yet at the same time he worried that if he didn't do something in this case, America's allies would lose confidence in America's determination to defend democracy around the world. Just five days after the invasion began Truman began to send in ground troops. The American troops were soon joined by those of other nations which were sent in at the request of the United Nations. Thus began a conflict which would last three long years and which would cost the allies many lives.

This is a very well written book which explains how the Korean War came about, what took place during the war, and how it ended. The author gives his readers a very clear picture of how costly the conflict was and since the two Koreas are still divided, how pointless it was as well for nothing much was gained by it. This is a fitting tribute to those who fought in this "Forgotten War" and one can hope that young readers will get a sense of how this war was brought about by that bizarre conflict which we now call The Cold War.

This is one of the titles in the "We the People" series.