Inside North Korea’s Theocracy: The Rise and Sudden Fall of Jang Song-thaek

SUNY Press
Free sample

Offers biographical accounts of several of North Korea’s leaders to illuminate the inner workings of its government.


First published in Korean in 2016, Inside North Korea’s Theocracy offers a fascinating and rare look at the lives of several of the regime’s key leaders. Its primary focus is Jang Song-thaek, a talented and reform-minded member of the political ruling class who was executed in 2013. Jang was the son-in-law of North Korean founder, Kim Il-sung; brother-in-law of its second leader, Kim Jong-il; and uncle to its current leader, Kim Jong-un. The author traces Jang’s life from his youth as a brilliant student in Pyongyang to his eventual marriage to Kim Kyong-hui and his rising power as a businessman to, ultimately, his untimely death. In addition to biographical sketches of Jang, his wife, and brother-in-law, Ra Jong-yil provides first-hand impressions of life in North Korea and illuminates the inner workings of its government. 


“If one could read only a single book to thoroughly understand the nature of the North Korean political system, the Kim family dynasty, and the forces that have combined in creating a unique authoritarian regime marked by deep and worsening structural flaws, Ra Jong-yil’s pathbreaking study of Jang Song-thaek is such a book. A preeminent watcher of North Korea coupled with top-level national security policy experiences, Ra presents a chilling and compelling story.” — Chung Min Lee, Senior Fellow and Director of the Korean Security Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


“…a rich biography of Mr. Jang, the most prominent victim of the purges his young nephew has conducted since assuming power in 2011.” — New York Times, on the Korean edition 


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About the author

Ra Jong-yil is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Gachon University and Chair Professor at National Defense University of Republic of Korea. A former deputy head of the South Korean intelligence service, Ra spent several years engaged in shuttle diplomacy between North and South Korea—a kind of work that is ongoing but never reported in the media. He met many of the individuals he discusses in the book, including Mr. Jang, and also obtained anonymous testimony from senior sources in China and North Korea itself.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
May 1, 2019
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781438473741
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Political
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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