KOREA: The Silver Ax

When Lyuh Woon Heung was seven, he watched his father, a yang ban (big landowner), beat a servant to death—a privilege that was legal in Korea until 1908. Said Lyuh later: "I determined then that when I became a man, I would destroy the yang ban class."

Lyuh never saw his boast realized. But he fought to make good on it. He was perhaps the only man in Korean politics who was disliked and feared by Communists and yang ban alike. Lyuh had neither a price nor a boss.

After Japan surrendered, Lyuh organized the left-of-center People's Party. Last year fellow...

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