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Separated at Birth: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin Hardcover – September 1, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Written with solid research from a soldier-scholar's perspective and sensitive feel for history, this book is very readable and replete with insights on Korean and Japanese culture, particularly as they pertain to current challenges on the Korean Peninsula. It is a 'must read' for all military, diplomatic, and commercial people posted to the Far East." --General John Wickham, USA (retired) Former Chief of Staff US Army and CINC in Korea.

"In the rogue's gallery of terrorist states, North Korea occupies a darkly prominent place. Its membership in the "axis of evil" is richly and dangerously deserved---and did not develop overnight. This book is indispensable to understanding how North Korea became one of the world's worst human rights violators and weapons proliferators---and how we should deal with this rogue, before it's too late."--Monica Crowley, Ph.D., Fox News Channel, WABC Radio

"Gordon Cucullu is a straightforward tough former soldier who knows Korea and writes with clarity and conviction. He does not mince words. The problem on the Korean peninsula is North Korea, a violent failed state. The salvation is the U.S.-South Korean alliance and the vigorous promotion of our values of democracy, human rights, and free market forces. For those who either care deeply about Korea or who want to know more about this fascinating divided country, this book is a must read."--James Lilley, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

From the Back Cover

A must-read exploration of this volatile member of the “Axis of Evil.”
He stands five foot two in stocking feet. He adds two inches to his dumpy physique with elevated shoes. He has taken a country blessed with natural resources and an educated populace with a dedicated work ethic and reduced it to the level of the most abysmal third world pesthole. He has assassinated foreign statesmen, blown up civilian airlines loaded with innocent passengers, and sold weapons to terrorists around the world. He is diverting resources that his country cannot spare to accelerate a program whereby he can become a nuclear power capable of peddling weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups in return for hard cash. He has surrounded himself with sycophants and toadies, lives in hedonistic luxury, and threatens his neighbors and the world with nuclear weapons. Who is this strange person? He is Kim Jong-Il, aberrant ruler of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea—or North Korea.
The more we are able to crack the façade of North Korea the more we learn of the dark, repugnant secrets that have been held close for decades. Peering through the cracks, we are able to discern an implacable hatred for America, South Korea, and other free nations. There were good and sufficient reasons for President George W. Bush to declare North Korea a charter member of the “Axis of Evil.” Americans heard him and wondered: Just what is going on over there that makes it such a threat? Separated At Birth addresses those concerns, explores North Korea’s twentieth-century history, its separation from South Korea, as well as its place in the East and its relation to China, the U.S., and Japan. Cucullu discusses our options, both military and diplomatic, and fills in some of the gaps in our knowledge so that we can be better prepared to deal with a nation easily described as a “rogue” one.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; First edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592285910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592285914
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,761,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I subscribe to the theory that you don't really know a place till you put your boots on the ground there. I lived for 13 years in East Asia, studied languages and sniffed around. That led to my first book, Separated at Birth.

Following that I visited the detention facility at Guantanamo five times preparing for Inside Gitmo.

In 2008 I embedded with military police in Iraq and in spring 2010 spent two months with Soldiers in Afghanistan and followed it up with a month-long embed in October-November. This was to be a research trip for my upcoming book, Warrior Police, co-authored with Chris Fontana, my skilled researcher for Inside Gitmo and wife.

St Martin's Press will publish it in September 2011.

Bottom line: whether you have the opportunity to visit them "on the job" or in the States, these fine men and women in uniform deserve all our support. They do a lot with a little and never say "mission impossible."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I picked up a copy of "Separated at Birth" this morning and finished it this evening. I've lived in Seoul since November 1994 and, as a foreign investor in Korea, have followed events here and the commentary thereon closely. This is simply the most succinctly accurate account of, and the most compelling prescription for dealing with, the challenge posed by NK, that I've read in ten years.
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Format: Hardcover
This work by Gordon Cucullu is sure to be very valuable to those of us who follow the world situation with serious thought and, let's face it, worry!

It's a very enlightening summary of the development and present-day status of one of the world's most secretive and most disastrous areas. Such insight can only be presented by one who spent many years living and working in close proximity of the people and the events which engulfed an innocent nation in almost unimaginable calamity.

I learned a great deal from Cucullu's keen observations regarding the history, development and extensive suffering of the Korean people. It touched me very closely, because I find their fate similar in many ways to that of my native Hungary. Maybe that is another reason why I felt so sympathetic to their terrible struggle and awful situation with the communist North.

This analysis of the geopolitical importance of the North Korean threat is not only excellent, but it brings home the extremely serious nature of that threat. The danger of a maniac such as Kim Yong Il doing something totally devastating is not only very real, but even likely, if he feels threatened to the point of no return.

Cucullu's suggestions on how to deal with the threat are very serious and can have not only far-reaching, but life saving effects on the Free World. It also contains a fascinating analysis of the South Korean role in all this which, I'm sure, is very little understood by those who aren't close to the situation. I can only hope that our present leadership will take the necessary steps in proving our country's strength, endurance, will-power and courage to face the threat posed by North Korea.

This book is a must-read for those of us who are seriously concerned with the security of our nation and the Free World.
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Format: Hardcover
With North Korea rising to become the new 'evil' in the world in its pursuit of nuclear weaponry, a book such as Gordon Cucullu's Separated At Birth becomes even more essential, providing a history of North and South Korea with a new emphasis on just how North Korean became the 'evil twin' of the two. North Korea's 20th century history is explored in full in Separated At Birth: from its initial separation from the south and changing relationships with China, Japan and the U.S. to its growing role as a nuclear force. The focus on Kim Jong-Il, ruler of North Korea, provides many condemning visions of the dictator and his approaches, but most importantly, Separated At Birth analyzes world concerns, options, and realities in working with the 'rogue' nation. Cucullu is a former Special Forces Green Beret colonel, serving over 20 years in the military in Asia: his analysis is personal - and astute.
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Format: Hardcover
The best book I've read on the subject! Based on the writer's personal experiences, he truly has an excellent understanding of the past, present and future situation in Korea. A very interesting and informative read.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a bad book. However, it could be better.

Mr. Cucullu attempts to show us how North and South Korea have developed since the end of the Korean War and looks a little into possible futures. He does an excellent job in telling the story of South Korea's transformation from an authoritarian/Third World nation into a representative democrary with a well developed economy. The good colonel peppers the standard historical run down with personal experiences while serving many years in Korea with the US Army. Making you actually feel the transformation of the Republic of Korea into a modern society is a real treat.

The author doesnt do a very good job explaining North Korea. In fact, his discussions of the DPRK are really just tirades that boil down to the fact that living in North Korea is unpleasant and the Kim regime sucks. Hey, Im on board with this. But I would like to have seen more analysis. Also, he makes a few of what I call "wild eyed" statements. First, he posits that North Korea killed prisoners in South Korean army uniforms in June 1950 to produce evidence to justify the Korean War. This is plausible, but where is the evidence? Also, he claims Kim Jong Il has taken family members of senior DPRK officials hostage to keep them in line. Again, I wouldnt be at all surprised if this were true. That said, Id like to see some proof.

One final comment. The Publishers Weekly review notes Cucullu is critical of revisionist historians but doesnt consider their arguments. The arguments of the likes of Bruce Cummings are not really worth commenting on as they have been utterly and completely refuted. Its pretty safe to assume North Korean society is dysfunctional and the Kims are horrible leaders.
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