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South Koreans tailor American ideas about economic development and democracy. This ambitious and innovative study examines American nation building in South Korea during the Cold War. Marshaling a vast array of new American and Korean sources, Gregg Brazinsky explains why South Korea was one of the few postcolonial nations that achieved rapid economic development and democratization by the end of the twentieth century. He contends that a distinctive combination of American initiatives and Korean agency enabled South Korea's stunning transformation. Expanding the framework of traditional diplomatic history, Brazinsky examines not only state-to-state relations, but also the social and cultural interactions between Americans and South Koreans. He shows how Koreans adapted, resisted, and transformed American influence and promoted socioeconomic change that suited their own aspirations.
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About the Author

Gregg Brazinsky is assistant professor of history at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.

Reviews

"Brazinsky's fluency in the Korean language and tremendous research efforts allow him to present the voices of the people of the South and the formative role they played in their own evolution in more depth and sophistication that those who have written b "[One of] the most interesting books about South Korea. . . . For those who wonder how Korea came to be so heavily influenced by the U.S., historian Gregg Brazinsky has some answers. The author presents South Korea as a successful example of American nati "A major contribution to the study of a crucial period of South Korean development. . . . A particularly important and timely book, as it not only details the close US-South Korean co-operation and the extent of US assistance in this period, but it also u Brazinsky's fluency in the Korean language and tremendous research efforts allow him to present the voices of the people of the South and the formative role they played in their own evolution in more depth and sophistication that those who have written before him. . . . International history at its very best.--Journal of American History A refreshing, insightful look at nation building via South Korea. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice Brazinsky is at his best, providing engrossing details that add up to a visceral recreation of the South Korean experience. . . . A valuable contribution." --East Asian Science, Technology, and Society A major contribution to the study of a crucial period of South Korean development. . . . A particularly important and timely book, as it not only details the close US-South Korean co-operation and the extent of US assistance in this period, but it also underscores the difficulties that external assistance faces in the process of nation-building.--International History Review Offers a complex and compelling narrative of the multilateral social, cultural and political connections between Americans and South Koreans during South Korea's formative years.--Pacific Affairs A fine example of the new international history. . . . An excellent analysis of a bilateral relationship.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Even as successive U.S. political administrations prioritized security in [their] high-level dealings with South Korea, other U.S. agencies and organizations helped to build a more diverse and protodemocratic society from below. . . . Illuminates this complex dynamic in U.S.-South Korean relations.--Korean Quarterly [One of] the most interesting books about South Korea. . . . For those who wonder how Korea came to be so heavily influenced by the U.S., historian Gregg Brazinsky has some answers. The author presents South Korea as a successful example of American nation building during the Cold War.--Wall Street Journal Brazinsky, more than anyone else, has provided systematic, in-depth empirical evidence drawn from both the U.S. and South Korea to illustrate the subtle and changing dynamics of the U.S.-South Korean patron-client relationship. . . . Brazinsky's work will surely be read profitably by all those interested in modern economic development, democratization, and nation-building. Students of U.S. foreign relations will also profit from this in-depth case study of U.S. foreign policy, whereby U.S. intervention has actually led to what is, overall, a successful nation-building exercise.--American Historical Review "Even as successive U.S. political administrations prioritized security in [their] high-level dealings with South Korea, other U.S. agencies and organizations helped to build a more diverse and protodemocratic society from below. . . . Illuminates this complex dynamic in U.S.-South Korean relations."--"Korean Quarterly" "Brazinsky, more than anyone else, has provided systematic, in-depth empirical evidence drawn from both the U.S. and South Korea to illustrate the subtle and changing dynamics of the U.S.-South Korean patron-client relationship. . . . Brazinsky's work will surely be read profitably by all those interested in modern economic development, democratization, and nation-building. Students of U.S. foreign relations will also profit from this in-depth case study of U.S. foreign policy, whereby U.S. intervention has actually led to what is, overall, a successful nation-building exercise."--"American Historical Review" "A fine example of the new international history. . . . An excellent analysis of a bilateral relationship."--"Register of the Kentucky Historical Society" "A refreshing, insightful look at nation building via South Korea. . . . Highly recommended."--"Choice" "Offers a complex and compelling narrative of the multilateral social, cultural and political connections between Americans and South Koreans during South Korea's formative years."--"Pacific Affairs" "Brazinsky is at his best, providing engrossing details that add up to a visceral recreation of the South Korean experience. . . . A valuable contribution." --"East Asian Science, Technology, and Society" "Iluminates [a] complex dynamic in U.S.-South Korean relations." -"Korean Quarterly" "Brazinsky has produced a highly original and provocative study."-Chen Jian, Cornell University

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