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Travel Guide 2   >   South Korea   >   History

   
 

Korean History


Here are some books about the history of the Republic of Korea:


Comments about Korean History


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Books about Korean History


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A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present

By Michael J. Seth

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Paperback (612 pages)

A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present
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  • Rowman Littlefield
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Now in a fully revised and updated edition, this comprehensive book surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. Michael J. Seth explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and still little-known cultural heritage from their inception to the two Korean states of today. Telling the remarkable story of the origins and evolution of a society that borrowed and adopted from abroad, Seth describes how various tribal peoples in the peninsula came together to form one of the world’s most distinctive communities. He shows how this ancient, culturally and ethnically homogeneous society was wrenched into the world of late-nineteenth-century imperialism, fell victim to Japanese expansionism, and then became arbitrarily divided into two opposed halves, North and South, after World War II.

Tracing the seven decades since 1945, the book explains how the two Koreas, with their deeply different political and social systems and geopolitical orientations, evolved into sharply contrasting societies. South Korea, after an unpromising start, became one of the few postcolonial developing states to enter the ranks of the first world, with a globally competitive economy, a democratic political system, and a cosmopolitan and dynamic culture. North Korea, by contrast, became one of the world’s most totalitarian and isolated societies, a nuclear power with an impoverished and famine-stricken population. Seth describes and analyzes the radically different and historically unprecedented trajectories of the two Koreas, formerly one tight-knit society. Throughout, he adds a rare dimension by placing Korean history into broader global perspective. All readers looking for a balanced, knowledgeable history will be richly rewarded with this clear and concise book.

The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History

By Don Oberdorfer

Basic Books
Released: 2013-12-10
Paperback (560 pages)

The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History
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An acclaimed history of the Korean Peninsula from World War II to the present day
North Korea is an impoverished, famine-ridden nation, but it is also a nuclear power whose dictator Kim Jong-un regularly threatens his neighbors and adversaries, the United States in particular, with destruction. Even though Kim and President Donald Trump's responses to him dominate the daily headlines, the idea that North Korea is a menace is not a new one. Indeed, ever since Korea was first divided at the end of World War II, the tension between its northern and southern halves has riveted-and threatened to embroil--the rest of the world. In this landmark history, veteran journalist Don Oberdorfer and Korea expert Robert Carlin grippingly describe how a historically homogenous people became locked in a perpetual struggle for supremacy--and how other nations including the United States have tried, and failed, to broker a lasting peace.

South Korea History: Origins of the Korean Nation, The Three Kingdoms Period, The Society, Cultural Identity, Economy, Government

By Uzo Marvin

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (312 pages)

South Korea History: Origins of the Korean Nation, The Three Kingdoms Period, The Society, Cultural Identity, Economy, Government
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South Korea history, South Korea Cultural Identity, South Korea Education, South Korea Religion, South Korea Economy, South Korea Government, South Korea culture, South Korea travel guide. A small country, approximately the size of Britain, Korea is located on a peninsula that protrudes southward from the northeastern corner of the Asian continent. It is an old country, whose people evolved as one nation from the seventh century until 1945, when the country was divided by the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. The ensuing cold war created two Korean governments, one in the north known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and another in the south known as the Republic of Korea (ROK). The two Koreas engaged in a bitter war between 1950 and 1953 and remained divided as of 1990, even though the two governments began talk to each other in 1971. South Korea and North Korea took distinctly different paths of development after they were divided. By 1990 North Korea had emerged as a staunch communist society, while South Korea was evolving into a liberal democracy after many years of military dictatorship. The two societies, however, shared a common tradition and culture

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)

By Min Jin Lee

Grand Central Publishing
Released: 2017-11-14
Paperback (512 pages)

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)
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  • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW TOP TEN OF THE YEAR * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 *A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER
Product Description:
A New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year and National Book Award finalist, Pachinko is an "extraordinary epic" of four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family as they fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan (San Francisco Chronicle).

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 * A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017 * JULY PICK FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB NOW READ THIS * FINALIST FOR THE 2018 DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE* WINNER OF THE MEDICI BOOK CLUB PRIZE

Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER * WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER


"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

*Includes reading group guide*

A History of Korea (Macmillan Essential Histories)

By Kyung Moon Hwang

Palgrave MacMillan
Released: 2016-10-28
Paperback (296 pages)

A History of Korea (Macmillan Essential Histories)
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  • Palgrave MacMillan
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Presenting the richness of Korean civilization from early state formation to the jarring transformations resulting in two distinctive trajectories of modern development, this book introduces the country's major historical events, patterns, and debates. Organised both chronologically and thematically, it explore recurring themes such as Korean identity, external influence, and family and gender. This lively narrative assumes no prior knowledge, inviting readers to appreciate both the distinctiveness and universality of Korean history, while integrating it into East Asian history more broadly.

Fully revised throughout, this second edition explores recent developments in Korean history and places greater emphasis on historiography, with each chapter including extensive discussion of how the events and themes under consideration have been viewed up to the present day.

Korean History in Maps: From Prehistory to the Twenty-First Century

By Lee Injae & Park Jinhoon

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Paperback (200 pages)

Korean History in Maps: From Prehistory to the Twenty-First Century
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  • Cambridge University Press
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Korean History in Maps is a beautifully presented, full-color atlas covering all periods of Korean history from prehistoric times to the present day. It is the first atlas of its kind to be specifically designed for students in English-speaking countries. There is a map for each era in Korean history, showing every major kingdom or polity that existed on the Korean peninsula, and maps are also included for topics of additional historical interest, including each major war that took place. In addition, the atlas contains chronologies, lists of monarchs, and overviews of the politics, economy, society, and culture for each era which are complemented by numerous photos and full color images of artifacts, paintings, and architectural structures. This fascinating historical atlas is a complete reference work and unique teaching tool for all scholars and students of Korean and East Asian history.

Revisiting Minjung: New Perspectives on the Cultural History of 1980s South Korea (Perspectives On Contemporary Korea)

By Sunyoung Park

University of Michigan Press
Released: 2019-05-31
Paperback (320 pages)

Revisiting Minjung: New Perspectives on the Cultural History of 1980s South Korea (Perspectives On Contemporary Korea)
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An epoch-marking alliance of laborers, students, dissident intellectuals, and ordinary citizens was at the heart of South Korea’s transformation from a dictatorship into a vibrant democracy during the 1980s. Collectively known as the minjung (“the people”), these agents of Korean democratization historically carved out an expanded role for civil society in the country’s politics. In Revisiting Minjung, some of the foremost experts in 1980s Korean history, literature, film, art, and music provide new insights into one of the most crucial decades in South Korean history. Drawing from the theoretical perspectives of transnationalism, post-Marxist studies, intersectional feminism, popular culture studies, and more, the volume demonstrates how an era that is often associated with radical politics was, in effect, the catalyst for the subsequent flourishing of democratic and liberal values in South Korea.

Revisiting Minjung brings new themes, new subjectivities, and new theoretical perspectives to the study of the rich ecosystem of 1980s Korean culture. Treated here is a wide array of topics, including the origins of minjung ideology, its critique by the right wing, minjung art and music, workers’ literary culture, women writers and the resurgence of feminism, erotic cinema, science fiction, transnational political travels, and the representations of race and queerness in 1980s popular culture. The book thus details the origins and development of some of the movements that shape cultural life in South Korea today, and it does so through analyses that engage some of the most pressing debates in current scholarship in Korea and abroad.

Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea

By Keith Pratt

Brand: Reaktion Books
Paperback (320 pages)

Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea
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The defiant dictatorship of North Korea and the thriving democracy of South Korea may appear starkly different, but they share a complex and often misunderstood history that is ably recounted in Everlasting Flower.
Keith Pratttraverses the ancient landscapes of the Koreas, from the kingdoms of Old Choson and Wiman Choson to the present-day 38th Parallel division. The book’s engaging narrative details the wars, ruling dynasties, Chinese and Japanese imperialism, and controversial historical events such as the abuses of the Japanese occupation.

Everlasting Flower applies an equally careful eye to religious practices, dress, and food, and augments the narrative with richly illustrated pictorial essays. As the Korean peninsula assumes a prominent role in world affairs, Everlasting Flower offers an invaluable survey of Korean history and culture.

South Korea at the Crossroads: Autonomy and Alliance in an Era of Rival Powers (A Council on Foreign Relations Book)

By Scott A. Snyder

Columbia University Press
Released: 2018-01-02
Hardcover (376 pages)

South Korea at the Crossroads: Autonomy and Alliance in an Era of Rival Powers (A Council on Foreign Relations Book)
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Against the backdrop of China’s mounting influence and North Korea’s growing nuclear capability and expanding missile arsenal, South Korea faces a set of strategic choices that will shape its economic prospects and national security. In South Korea at the Crossroads, Scott A. Snyder examines the trajectory of fifty years of South Korean foreign policy and offers predictions―and a prescription―for the future. Pairing a historical perspective with a shrewd understanding of today’s political landscape, Snyder contends that South Korea’s best strategy remains investing in a robust alliance with the United States.

Snyder begins with South Korea’s effort in the 1960s to offset the risk of abandonment by the United States during the Vietnam War and the subsequent crisis in the alliance during the 1970s. A series of shifts in South Korean foreign relations followed: the “Nordpolitik” engagement with the Soviet Union and China at the end of the Cold War; Kim Dae Jung’s “Sunshine Policy,” designed to bring North Korea into the international community; “trustpolitik,” which sought to foster diplomacy with North Korea and Japan; and changes in South Korea’s relationship with the United States. Despite its rise as a leader in international financial, development, and climate-change forums, South Korea will likely still require the commitment of the United States to guarantee its security. Although China is a tempting option, Snyder argues that only the United States is both credible and capable in this role. South Korea remains vulnerable relative to other regional powers in northeast Asia despite its rising profile as a middle power, and it must balance the contradiction of desirable autonomy and necessary alliance.


 
 
 

 
 
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