Reluctant Crusade: American Foreign Policy in Korea, 1941-1950
By James Irving Matray
University of Hawaii Press, 1985, 351 pp.
This is an outstanding piece of scholarship by a promising young historian. Based on declassified U.S. government documents, Matray shows how American policy in Korea evolved from indifference to qualified commitment to military intervention. It is far superior to earlier works on the subject such as Bruce Cumings' The Origins of the Korean War. Matray convincingly demonstrates that Cumings exaggerated the aggressiveness of Roosevelt's postwar intentions in Asia, wrongly attributed to Roosevelt a desire to dominate Korea, and greatly overstated the negative aspects of U.S. occupation policy in South Korea.