The book explores the implications of the democratic movement
that took place in Gwangju, a southwestern city of Korea,
in May 1980 when military paratroopers brutally crushed a
group of protesters who demonstrated against General Chun
Doo-hwan, who was about to become the country’s president.
Because of the event now known as the Gwangju Uprising, 191
people perished and 852 were wounded.
In The Gwangju Uprising, Choi Jungwoon analyzes various discourses
and motives of the uprising and vividly paints the demonstrators’
street battles against paratroopers. He gives an in-depth
scrutiny of the participants’ mentalities and incentives,
and the type of brutality involved. He also examines the stages
the participants went through during the uprising, from the
peace and togetherness they had at first, to the internal
conflict that soon followed, to the lessons they learned in
the uprising’s aftermath. Choi argues that the united
front experienced by the participants during the uprising
was a driving force that changed modern Korean history.