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Narratives of the Vietnam War by Korean and American Writers

Jinim Park

This book explores diverse cultural issues of the Vietnam War, including body, race, gender, and nation, based on the experiences of Koreans and Americans. In contrast with American writers such as Tim O’Brien, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford, Joan Didion, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Bobbie Ann Mason, who focus primarily on how Americans perceived the war and its affect on American society, three Korean writers, Hwang Suk-young, Park Young-han, and Ahn Junghyo, testify that the war also played a crucial role in changing Korean society and the culture of the era. They maintain that Koreans were more concerned with national and racial issues than with troubled individuals, and that Korean soldiers were sensitive to material aspects of the war, regarding themselves as American mercenaries. The book also considers the contrasting perspectives in the narratives of O’Brien and Hwang, who both examine the My-Lai massacre. Narratives of the Vietnam War by Korean and American Writers is a useful resource for courses in comparative literature, English literature, cultural studies, gender studies, and Asian studies.