Concise History Of Korea / Edition 1

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Overview

This engaging text provides a concise history of Korea from the beginning of human settlement in the region through the late nineteenth century. Its thorough chronological narrative equally emphasizes social, cultural, and political history. Students will be especially drawn to descriptions of everyday life for both elite and nonelite members of society during various historical periods. A Concise History of Korea emphasizes how Korean history can be understood as part of an interactive sphere that includes three basic areas: China, Japan, and the Manchurian/Central Asian region. Throughout the book, comparisons are drawn between developments in Korea and those in neighboring regions, especially China and Japan. Michael Seth synthesizes recent scholarship to provide a straightforward understanding of Korean history, also addressing important historiographical issues in an accessible, nontechnical manner. Historical maps illustrate the changes in the region over time. The annotated bibliography of works in English is a useful addition for students, who will find this book to be a clear and comprehensive Korean history.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
[This book is] sufficiently long and detailed to provide adequate coverage for college-level courses and general readers who want to know more about Korean history, but also short enough to be accessible to even the busiest of readers. Highly recommended.
Resources
Exceptional and in many ways tops nearly every chronological narrative I have read on Korean history and culture. His book provides an appreciation of the remarkable durability and stability of pre-modern Korea, a foundation for understanding modern Korea, and, more than any other source, an understanding of Korea's distinctive culture. . . . Seth's knowledge of and passion for Korea, broader perspectives acquired from being a scholar of East Asian history, and a considerable gift for writing make the book a great read. The author is able to draw comparisons between developments in Korea and those in neighboring regions, especially China and Japan. Remarkable in his ability to clearly explain details of Korean history without overburdening the reader, Seth also elucidates the web that connects these facts with the present .
— Mary Connor
Korean Studies
A product of diligent effort by a scholar. . . . A balanced narrative of Korean history that is informed by relevant English-language studies.
Choice
[This book is] sufficiently long and detailed to provide adequate coverage for college-level courses and general readers who want to know more about Korean history, but also short enough to be accessible to even the busiest of readers. Highly recommended.
Robert Oppenheim
Michael Seth's A Concise History of Korea fills a growing demand for a premodern Korean history focused on the needs of the American undergraduate student. It is equally suitable as the framework for a Korean history course or as the centerpiece of the Korean portion of a larger course on East Asia before the twentieth century. Seth's book presents not only a factual narrative but, just as importantly, central questions about Korean history. Gracefully, and without overburdening the reader, it draws attention throughout to crucial larger themes—such as the status of women, the Confucianization of society and culture, and the institution of slavery—as well as to issues revolving around the interpretations of colonial and nationalist historiographies. Moreover, its treatment of political, social, and cultural developments in Korea is set, when appropriate, in a broader contextual understanding of regional forces and the actions of neighboring states. It is informed throughout by an appreciation of the complexities of ethnicity. Finally, the inclusion of primary documents at the end of each chapter, and notes that direct the reader to central English-language sources in the field, adds to the text's already considerable value.
Resources - Mary Connor
Exceptional and in many ways tops nearly every chronological narrative I have read on Korean history and culture. His book provides an appreciation of the remarkable durability and stability of pre-modern Korea, a foundation for understanding modern Korea, and, more than any other source, an understanding of Korea's distinctive culture. . . . Seth's knowledge of and passion for Korea, broader perspectives acquired from being a scholar of East Asian history, and a considerable gift for writing make the book a great read. The author is able to draw comparisons between developments in Korea and those in neighboring regions, especially China and Japan. Remarkable in his ability to clearly explain details of Korean history without overburdening the reader, Seth also elucidates the web that connects these facts with the present .
Volume 29 (2007) Southeast Review Of Asian Studies
Written in a crisp, lively manner that is both highly professional and scholarly yet clear and interesting. He handles critical historiographical issues in a clear, understandable manner and skillfully discusses the structure of Korean society. Especially effective is his discussion of the role of the yangban (literary and martial classes of Confucian scholars who were part of the ruling elite prior to 1910). Seth's discussion of the Japanese invasions of Korea under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/37–98) between 1592 and 1598 clarified many misconceptions I held concerning those tragic events. Finally, Seth includes a superb annotated bibliography. . . . Seth has organized a coherent, highly analytical work that is a perfect tool for both the student and intellectual reader.
Dennis Grafflin
Michael Seth has produced a knowledgeable and nuanced survey of the history of the Korean peninsula from the Neolithic to the nineteenth century, done with sensitivity to the larger East Asian context. His book is a sophisticated introduction to the historical background against which the great-power struggles of the last century and a half have played themselves out in Northeast Asia.
Southeast Review of Asian Studies
Written in a crisp, lively manner that is both highly professional and scholarly yet clear and interesting. He handles critical historiographical issues in a clear, understandable manner and skillfully discusses the structure of Korean society. Especially effective is his discussion of the role of the yangban (literary and martial classes of Confucian scholars who were part of the ruling elite prior to 1910). Seth's discussion of the Japanese invasions of Korea under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/37–98) between 1592 and 1598 clarified many misconceptions I held concerning those tragic events. Finally, Seth includes a superb annotated bibliography. . . . Seth has organized a coherent, highly analytical work that is a perfect tool for both the student and intellectual reader.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742540057
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 809,835
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Seth is associate professor of history at James Madison University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Origins
Chapter 2: The Three Kingdoms
Chapter 3: United Silla
Chapter 4: Koryo
Chapter 5: Military Rulers and Mongol Invaders
Chapter 6: The Neo-Confucian Revolution and the Choson State
Chapter 7: Choson Society
Chapter 8: Late Choson
Chapter 9: Korea in the Nineteenth Century

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