A Concise History of Modern Korea: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present

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Overview

This comprehensive and balanced history of modern korea explores the social, economic, and political issues it has faced since being catapulted into the wider world at the end of the nineteenth century. Placing this formerly insular society in a global context, Michael J. Seth describes how this ancient, culturally and ethnically homogeneous society first fell victim to Japanese imperialist expansionism and then was arbitrarily divided in half after World War II. Seth traces the postwar paths of the two Koreas-with different political and social systems and different geopolitical orientations-as they evolved into sharply contrasting societies. South Korea, after an unpromising start, became one of the few postcolonial developing states to enter the ranks of the first world, with a globally competitive economy, a democratic political system, and a cosmopolitan and dynamic culture. By contrast, North Korea became one of the world's most totalitarian and isolated societies, a nuclear power with an impoverished and famine-stricken population. Considering the radically different and historically unprecedented trajectories of the two Koreas, Seth assesses the insights they offer for understanding not only modern Korea but the broader perspective of world history.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE, June 2010 - T.S. Munson
Eminently readable. . . . The text does read very smoothly, lacking any trace of academic jargon or other language off-putting to the average freshman or sophomore. . . . Recommended.
Gregg Brazinsky
Michael Seth's book provides an admirably graceful synthesis of the existing literature on modern Korea. It will be perfect for undergraduates and general readers who don't have a background in Korean history.
CHOICE
Eminently readable. . . . The text does read very smoothly, lacking any trace of academic jargon or other language off-putting to the average freshman or sophomore. . . . Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742567139
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,105,885
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Seth is associate professor of history, James Madison University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Korea, 1876-1910 9

2 Colonial Korea, 1910-1945 43

3 Division and War, 1945-1953 83

4 North Korea, 1953-1993 117

5 South Korea from Poverty to Prosperity, 1953-1997 149

6 South Korea-Creating a Democratic Society, 1953-1997 181

7 North Korea in Recent Years 213

8 South Korea in Recent Years 239

Conclusion 271

Annotated Selected Bibliography 277

Index 285

About the Author 295

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