The definitive account of North Korea, its veiled past and uncertain future, from the former Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council
Though it is much discussed and often maligned, precious little is known or understood about North Korea, the world's most controversial and isolated country. In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain, providing the best look yet at North Korea's history, the rise of the Kim family dynasty, and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. He illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human-rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues—from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions—all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's recent death.
How this enigmatic nation-state—one that regularly violates its own citizens' inalienable rights and has suffered famine, global economic sanctions, a collapsed economy, and near total isolation from the rest of the world—has continued to survive has long been a question that preoccupies the West. Cha reveals a land of contradictions, one facing a pivotal and disquieting transition of power from tyrannical father to inexperienced son, and delves into the ideology that leads an oppressed, starving populace to cling so fiercely to its failed leadership.
With rare personal anecdotes from the author's time in Pyongyang and his tenure as an adviser in the White House, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history offers much-needed answers to the most pressing questions about North Korea and ultimately warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think—a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.
Victor Cha offers a great overview on the history of North Korea and the possible future of the state.
The lay reader will want to skim some sections because the writer has actually included too much information.
If you are interested in North Korea, or want to know more about North Korea, buy and read this book today.
For anyone interested in North Korea, "The Impossible State" is a must-read. Victor Cha is a former American negotiator and has gathered in one book an impressive... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mark Schulman
I learned a lot about North Korea that I did not know. I was in Jr high during the Korean War and all I remember I mostly got from movies. Read morePublished 3 days ago by E. Cartwright
Having had my curiosity over North Korea piqued by the recent "The Interview" and Sony hacking controversies, I picked up this book on a recommendation. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Jason Waldman
A lot of information to absorb, but the main thing I took from reading this is that we in the West need to continue a reasonable dialogue with a regime that treats negotiations and... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Richard Smith
This could been half as long and contained just as much information. I finally started skipping pages after the first 250 or so. Read morePublished 11 days ago by SNAU
Although I am not finished reading this book yet, it has been fascinating so far and provides a lot of good background about North Korea. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
I read all but the last 100 pages of this 560-page book. It has the feel of a drawn-out op-ed piece by a politician. (Cha, the author, is an ex-Bush admin official. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Customer
Victor Cha is very accomplished in his field, so when I picked his book I think my expectations were too high. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Victoria Pinson
Very intriguing book, and it helps to see other perspective about North Korea. The writer is great!Published 5 months ago by Milca