top of page

Acerca de

NK flag.jpg

Where the American Century Began

The story of how the Korean War was the true beginning of the American Century

Short-listed for the NSW Premier’s History Awards and the Queensland Literary Awards.

The failed invasion of North Korea by US-led forces in late 1950 and the unrelenting three-year long bombing campaign of North Korean cities, towns and villages – ‘every thing that moved [and] every brick standing on top of another’ – help explain why the Pyongyang regime is, and always has been, determined to develop a credible nuclear deterrent. As Alistair Horne once said so wisely ‘How different world history would have been if MacArthur had had the good sense to stop on the 38th parallel.


The first Korean War became the first of America’s failed modern wars; and its first modern war with China. It established the pattern for the next sixty years and marked the true beginning of the American century – opening the door to ever-increasing military expenditure; launching the long era of expanding American global force projection; and creating the dangerous and festering geopolitical sore that exists in Northeast Asia today. Washington has not learned the lessons of history and we are reaping the consequences.


‘Perceptive and compelling – often heart-rending, sometimes downright terrifying – this is a richly informed study…The lessons are all too pertinent in today’s toxic political climate, with Korea once again a centerpiece and victim.’

Noam Chomsky

‘Korea: Where the American Century Began’ is short-listed for the NSW Premier’s History Awards


The judges made the following comment about the book:


'Gripping in style and shocking in content, Korea offers an unflinching appraisal of America’s role in the war. Pembroke tells the story of China’s devastating rout of the US-led force, the Americans’ massive napalm-fuelled retaliation by air, and their later breach of the Armistice by bringing nuclear weapons to the peninsula in 1958. The result is a fast-paced, frightening history that also serves as a primer on the complexities of US-Chinese-Korean relations today.'

Read the judges comments


‘Korea: Where the American Century Began’ is short-listed for The Queensland Literary Awards

The judges made the following comment about the book:

'This is a devastating book which sheds light on a country shrouded in darkness and trouble, and its modern history in which the United States has played a pivotal role since the end of World War Two. This is a vitally important book because so much of Pembroke’s carefully researched facts are little known.'


Read the judges comments

bottom of page