Marilyn and Me review: An unlikely friendship

Ji-min Lee’s beautifully written novel is a timely act of reclamation for the so-called Forgotten War

In 1954 Marilyn Monroe visited  American troops stationed  in Korea.

In 1954 Marilyn Monroe visited American troops stationed in Korea.

The Korean war (1950-1953) is commonly referred to in the anglophone world as the Forgotten War – but by whom?

The Korean conflict has been consigned to a footnote in American history. This is to underestimate grossly its importance: not only as the first major conflagration and carve-up along Cold War lines, which still resonates today in the Trump administration’s agitation over North Korea’s nuclear capability; but also because of the sheer devastation it caused the country. Between three and four million people lost their lives; as many as 70 per cent were civilians. Destruction was particularly acute in the north, which was subjected to more than two years of sustained American bombing, including the first use of napalm. Roughly 25 per cent of Korea’s prewar population was killed. Damage was also widespread in the south, where Seoul changed hands four times.

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