I've been reading White Badge by Ahn Junghyo (reviewed here), which is a novel about Korean soldiers fighting (alongside the United States) in the Vietnam War. 312,853 Korean soldiers fought in Vietnam, an astounding number and the second largest number of troops after the US.

I thought it would be especially interesting to read this book before discussing the Americans in Vietnam in my course. I gather there has been a movie made about it as well, but I haven't seen it sold on the street (my sole source of films) so am still looking for it.

The novel is quite bleak and has a dry, detached tone that I like, and I tend to devour books on that conflict, so I have been enjoying reading it.

It was written in Korean but Ahn translated it himself. He is a graduate of Sogang University, incidentally, and now teaches at Ewha.

Clearly someone studying English read the book I checked out from the library since they heavily annotated the text and underlined words that I am guessing they didn't know. Since they are underlined, the words jump off the page and the feeling of seeing these pulled into prominence struck me.

Perhaps the person stopped reading after 40 pages or so, since the underlining stops. (Before they have even gotten to Vietnam!)

Here are a few of those words just from the start of the book:

shingled, archery, cordoned, wonderous, pure, innocent, fonts, summoned, elaborate, jiggled, inquisitive, hectically, quotient, vicious, enamored, corporal, fart, anonymous, sedective, trudged sperm, tuberculosis, perplexing.


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