War Trash

War Trash

A Novel

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Ha Jin's masterful new novel casts a searchlight into a forgotten corner of modern history, the experience of Chinese soldiers held in U.S. POW camps during the Korean War. In 1951 Yu Yuan, a scholarly and self-effacing clerical officer in Mao's "volunteer" army, is taken prisoner south of the 38th Parallel. Because he speaks English, he soon becomes an intermediary between his compatriots and their American captors.With Yuan as guide, we are ushered into the secret world behind the barbed wire, a world where kindness alternates with blinding cruelty and one has infinitely more to fear from one's fellow prisoners than from the guards. Vivid in its historical detail, profound in its imaginative empathy, War Trash is Ha Jin's most ambitious book to date.
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2005
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9781400075799
Branch Call Number: JIN H
813.54 J617wt
PS3560.I6 W37 2005b
Characteristics: viii, 352 p. ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 03, 2015

"In fact he too had been a mere pawn, not much different from any of us. He too was war trash."
Chinese-born Ha Jin's novel was a final for the Pulitzer prize and, along with "Waiting," is his most acclaimed book. Set during the Korean War, it's the story of a Chinese solider held as a POW by the Americans. While Jin ably captures the experience of prisoners, the book never fully engaged me.

Mar 23, 2015

The story of a Chinese soldier in American/Korean POW camp. It was well researched and felt like a real memoir rather than fiction. It seemed like a balanced picture of the situation acknowledging the corruption of the Chinese Nationalists, and the flaws of the Communists. Each side seemed to have their own positives and negatives with the ordinary citizens getting the worst of it no matter who is in charge. A good case for anarchism (no leaders).

Apr 18, 2014

a very good novel set in a prison camp during the Korean War, I feel it gives a good insight into what went on in the minds of those who fought against the west went on, and its' aftermath

Oct 30, 2010

It is a vividly story on what went on in the POW camp in Korean. The author articulated and interwoven the struggles in the camp and in the main character.

2/3 of the Chinese POWs elected to go to Taiwan at the end of the war.

Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 2005 Pulitzer prize for fiction.


Add a Quote

Sep 24, 2010

We thought we had come all the way to help the Koreans, but some of us had willy-nilly ended up their despoilers.

Sep 24, 2010

This will be the most crucial point in your lives, so please Keep your minds clear and don’t agree to return to the mainland. To tell the truth, if you yield to the Reds, they will practice the Policy of Three Heads on you. What’s that? you may wonder. Let me explain. First, they will nod their heads smiling at you. Second, the moment you leave the Neutral Zone and enter their territory, they will make you hang your heads to confess your ‘crimes.’ Third, when you have crossed the Yalu, they will chop off your heads. That’s their Three Heads Policy, which is already being implemented. Brothers and friends, don’t be taken in by them. Come join us. We’ll always treat you benevolently like blood siblings. With our joint effort we shall prevail and retake China.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at NSLibrary

To Top