Historical Dictionary of Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Scarecrow Press
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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is certainly better known as North Korea, has some difficulty in living up to its billing. There is cause to question the label of democracy and also whether the people come first. But the rest of the world is too busy concentrating on the more immanent problem of it becoming a nuclear power which might just use its bombs. Thus, like it or not, North Korea is a very important country despite its rudimentary economy and social woes, because it is a threat to its nearest neighbors South Korea and Japan, and even its sole “ally” China. That may change, or maybe not, because there is now a new ruler in Pyongyang, the third in a series of Kims.

This Historical Dictionary of the People’s Republic of Korea takes a very close look at the country, especially for the period from 1948 when it was founded, but also before so we know how it emerged, and this can be readily seen from an extensive chronology. The introduction traces its evolution more analytically, going from one period to the next, and ending with the arrival of Kim Jong Un. Obviously, in the dictionary section, there is an informative entry on him and also on his predecessor, Kim Jong Il, and the state’s founder, Kim Il Song, plus many other persons of note. Other entries deal with major events, institutions, economic, social and cultural features, and foreign relations. This ends with a reasonable bibliography, not that large as not that much is written, which only makes this historical dictionary more significant than others.
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About the author

James E. Hoare was a member of the British Diplomatic Service from 1969 to 2003, perhaps his most important posting being as the first British representative to Pyongyang in 2001, but he also served at the British Embassies in Seoul and Beijing. Since retirement, he has been busy teaching at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and writing on Japan and the Koreas, this including North Korea in the 21st Century: An Interpretative Guide. He is also the co-author of the second edition of the Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Scarecrow Press
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Published on
Jul 13, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780810879874
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / Korea
History / Reference
Reference / Dictionaries
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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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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader offers in-depth portraits of North Korea's two ruthless and bizarrely Orwellian leaders, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. Lifting North Korea's curtain of self-imposed isolation, this book will take readers inside a society, that to a Westerner, will appear to be from another planet. Subsisting on a diet short on food grains and long on lies, North Koreans have been indoctrinated from birth to follow unquestioningly a father-son team of megalomaniacs.

To North Koreans, the Kims are more than just leaders. Kim Il-Sung is the country's leading novelist, philosopher, historian, educator, designer, literary critic, architect, general, farmer, and ping-pong trainer. Radios are made so they can only be tuned to the official state frequency. "Newspapers" are filled with endless columns of Kim speeches and propaganda. And instead of Christmas, North Koreans celebrate Kim's birthday--and he presents each child a present, just like Santa.

The regime that the Kim Dynasty has built remains technically at war with the United States nearly a half century after the armistice that halted actual fighting in the Korean War. This fascinating and complete history takes full advantage of a great deal of source material that has only recently become available (some from archives in Moscow and Beijing), and brings the reader up to the tensions of the current day. For as this book will explain, North Korea appears more and more to be the greatest threat among the Axis of Evil countries--with some defector testimony warning that Kim Jong-Il has enough chemical weapons to wipe out the entire population of South Korea.

“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”

Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.

Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life.  By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, “I convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.”

In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.

Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever know—and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country.

Park’s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
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