Sunday, March 02, 2008

book notes

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

While Kim Il Sung vastly exaggerated his biography, he was in fact a major guerrilla fighter against the 33-year Japanese occupation of Korea.

Stalin greatly preferred highly uncharismatic leaders in the satellite countries. Very smart, since the two charismatic leaders -- Tito and Mao -- were disasters for the Soviet Union.

Truman's secretary of defense was a Washington lawyer who was rewarded for raising money for the '48 campaign when no one else would -- because everyone expected Dewey to win.

Truman's upset victory in '48 set the stage for the communist witch hunts because the GOP had been shut out of the White House for 5 consecutive elections.

Matt Connelly on Truman traveling to Wake Island to meet MacArthur: "While General MacArthur had many of the attributes of a foreign sovereign. I said, and was quite as difficult as any, it did not seem wise to recognize him as one." (MacArthur didn't salute Truman when they met)

Mao on MacArthur: "An arrogant enemy is easy to defeat."