"Daniel Tudor covers all the important issues, yet does not simply tell the more familiar stories but looks deeper and wider to give the full story of Korea today."—Martin Uden, Former British Ambassador to South Korea
"But this is not a history book. Tudor, Seoul correspondent for The Economist
, provides a fairly perfunctory account of the "miracle on the Han River", which saw South Korea transformed from postwar ruin to prosperous democracy within four decades. The book's real value comes in its exploration of the cultural forces behind the country's zeal for self-improvement.
He spends more time analysing the rise of Korean popular culture, which has swept across Asia during the past decade and is now going global with the success of PSY, the rapper whose hit, "Gangnam Style", has become a worldwide internet sensation. Some see PSY's breakthrough as evidence that South Korea is finally establishing itself in the global consciousness as the modern, sassy society it is. That may be true but his satire of life in the rich, fashionable Gangnam district of Seoul also reflects unease over the rising social divisions charted in Tudor's book."—Financial Times
"Sixty years ago, South Korea was an economic wasteland. Today, it is not only the world's 11th largest economy, but also a vibrant democracy and an emerging cultural force. This transformation is the subject of a new book, Korea: The Impossible Country
, by Daniel Tudor, Korea correspondent for the Economist
. He argues that, thanks in part to its neighbors, South Korea is all too often overlooked. A pity, he says, since "South Koreans have written the most unlikely and impressive story of nation-building of the last century.""—Time Magazine
Mr. Tudor pushes into new social and economic territory with his book, including the rising role of immigrants, multicultural families and even gay people in South Korea. He lays out some of the contradictory behavior one finds in South Korea, such as the unending desire for new and trendy gadgets and fashion and yet the tunnel-like view of what constitutes a successful life."—Wall Street Journal
"Tudor's Korea: The Impossible Country
is a fascinating overview of daily life in Korea. Tudor's in-depth analysis is the one of an insider who has never lost sight of the view from the outside. His book helps you feel comfortable right from your first visit in Korea."—David Syz, Swiss Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
"With a new generation every five years, it's hard to keep up with Korea. This book is long overdue but Daniel Tudor has done a magnificent job filling the gap. Not only has he captured the new Korea, but he does so in an effortless style that leaves the reader wanting more."—Michael Breen, author of The Koreans
"Written with affection and deep knowledge, Daniel Tudor's book fills a huge gap in our understanding of one of Asia's least known countries. His engaging narrative overturns the stereotypes by depicting a society which, though full of stresses, strains and contradictions, has overcome poverty and dictatorship to become a prosperous democracy. South Korea's transformation into a vibrant, modern state is, as he says, a story that deserves to be better known. Tudor has done the "impossible country" a service by opening its secrets to the world."—David Pilling, Asia Editor, Financial Times
"Daniel Tudor is one of the most influential foreign correspondents in South Korea—and one of the least known. As the reporter for the Economist
, which doesn't use bylines, most of his work is published anonymously. But Mr. Tudor's profile is about to take a sharp rise with the publication of his new book, Korea: The Impossible Country.