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The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History

by Don Oberdorfer

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290680,718 (3.68)4
Ever since Korea was first divided at the end of World War II, the tension between its northern and southern halves has riveted-and threatened to embroil-the rest of the world. In this landmark history, now thoroughly revised and updated in conjunction with Korea expert Robert Carlin, veteran journalist Don Oberdorfer grippingly describes how a historically homogenous people became locked in a perpetual struggle for supremacy-and how they might yet be reconciled.… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Ok book on modern Korean history. Written by a reporter and therefore not scholarly - enough so that I wonder sometimes at the author's version of an event. Often told from a "i spoke to this lesser state dept official and here is the real story..." .... just sort of got in the way of the story. Still- structurally easy to follow, i did learn some about the transition from military to civilian leadership in the south and heard accounts of the transition from one Kim to another in the obscure North. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
Interesting but omits so much detail about North Korean human rights violation while mentioning South Korea's various protests that you're left wondering about what else is missing. Written by a journalist, the book is full of pointless and irritating cliches. ( )
  eatonphil | May 8, 2022 |
Excellent contemporary history of the two Koreas since 1950, with details of the on-again, off again nuclear negotiations and peace negotiations. The author is a long-time expert on Korean affairs with detailed knowledge and excellent sources. A good companion to this is "Pot Shards, by US Ambassador to Korea Donald P. Greg (also a 30 year CIA veteran, and member of NSC, etc.)
  Pieter_Cramerus | Nov 22, 2019 |
Oberdorfer writes here a comprehensive and detailed modern history of North and South Korea, their relations both domestic and foreign, and the transformations both countries have undergone since the Second World War.

Though this book is somewhat outdated, particularly concerning North Korean leadership changes, it is still a useful scholarly resource to obtain an understanding of twentieth century Korean history, regardless of which Korea one is interested in. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
This book provides excellent and engaging coverage of the political history of the two states since the split, with particular reference to their relationship with each other, the USSR, China and the USA. This is rather detailed in some places and there is very little coverage of the social and economic history of the two nations. The war in the 50s, earlier Korean history, religion or culture are not explored in any depth.

In summary, the 'Two Koreas' is authoritative and is, perhaps surprisingly, an entertaining read but is not a 'one-stop shop' for anyone seeking a complete history of the peninsula. ( )
  cwhouston | Nov 20, 2010 |
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Ever since Korea was first divided at the end of World War II, the tension between its northern and southern halves has riveted-and threatened to embroil-the rest of the world. In this landmark history, now thoroughly revised and updated in conjunction with Korea expert Robert Carlin, veteran journalist Don Oberdorfer grippingly describes how a historically homogenous people became locked in a perpetual struggle for supremacy-and how they might yet be reconciled.

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