- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Rev. & upd. edition (December 6, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465051626
- ISBN-13: 978-0465051625
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Two Koreas: Revised And Updated A Contemporary History Rev. & upd. Edition
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"Oberdorfer is one of America's keenest analysts of the international scene." -- --James A. Baker III, former U.S. Secretary of State
"This truly important work will, without question, become the standard against which other books on modern Korea will be judged." -- --Donald P. Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea
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Top customer reviews
That being said, I went immediately from this book to Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, Updated Edition. And I mean within a few hours of finishing The Two Koreas. Cuming's book is far more expansive and goes back farther into history, but I am very glad I read The Two Korea's first, so that I would have the big picture in mind while reading Cumings.
Also, I agree with other reviewers that said the author bringing in his personal stories got a little annoying and there could have been more natural ways to introduce the same information.
So for people just looking for a light overview of the topic, I would recommend this book. But for those looking to delve deeper into Korean politics and culture, it will not be sufficient.
Oberdorfer knows Korea. From his first visit in 1953 as an Army Lieutenant through his interviews of the presidential candidates before the 1987 election, and his visit to Pyongyang in 1991, Oberdorfer continually followed Korean politics - mostly from the seat of a press member for the Washington Post. As he recounts in the text, Oberdorfer was sitting in the National Theater in Seoul on August 15th, 1974 when the shots rang out at ROK President Park Chung Hee, killing the ROK First Lady, the president survived. This personal touch of first hand accounts, compiled with interviews of major actors in Korean politics (both U.S., North Korean, and South Korean), is seamlessly rolled together in a readable narrative that draws the reader into this contemporary history.
The text covers the inside stories and under-the-table events which occurred between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from mostly first hand sources in the form of interviews with the participants.
I highly recommend this book for anyone studying Korea, Asian politics, or the military situation on the Korean peninsula. A 40-page notes and sources section serves the reader with the basis for Oberdorfer's statements and claims, and lends itself to more in depth research of the primary sources.
Most recent customer reviews
The information on the development of South Korean democracy is also very well done.