These acknowledgements were written for the 165,000 word original draft of this manuscript. Some scholars recognized below have been squeezed out of this draft due to space constraints. However, I include them here because they each played an important role in influencing my analysis.


In my efforts to understand the central problems surrounding the extended Korean civil war and the related geopolitics of East Asia, I have benefited from a formidable list of luminaries and scholarly influences. Several thinkers who have identified the value of unconventional wisdom were helpful in formulating my initial thesis, as I too was uncomfortable about the current state of conventional wisdom in academic, policy, and political circles. Indeed, the cautious mentoring of skeptical iconoclastic thinkers promotes analytical integrity over capricious capitulation to established norms of dubious distinction. Continue reading “Acknowledgements”

Preface to my new volume

Shepherd Iverson

Scholars write prefaces to make personal statements and to explain why they worked for years writing a particular book. My interest in the Korean civil war and partition has evolved as my family and I have “gone native” in Korea, living in this wonderful country now for almost a decade. However, my epistemological approach to scholarship was formed many years earlier.

Attending the private Breck School in Minneapolis from the eighth grade and Brown University as an undergraduate, I was exceptionally fortunate to be taught at an early age not what to think but how to think, to reassess how I know what I think I know, to think outside the box, to accept that learning often includes the process of unlearning, and that there are times when one must quietly sit still and think hard about a problem in order to grasp its complexity. I try to draw an algorithm in my mind—then on a piece of paper—and follow interacting contours of causation and probability whichever way they turn. Continue reading “Preface to my new volume”