The Introduction opens with a reading of the novel, film, and television versions of MASH to look across American renderings of the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Tracing the figure of the Korean houseboy through these different media, the Introduction isolates the “friendly” as a key, understudied Cold War figure. As critical frames for comprehending this new ally, the Introduction considers the axes of superpower contest and decolonization that collided in Asia, as well as the resurgence of Oriental demonization. The Introduction then turns to an Asian American genealogy of war that cuts against a Cold War narrative of immigrant incorporation. It concludes by explaining the particular significance of literature for working through the compromised, but also promising, figure of the Asian ally.
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