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There are two starkly different Koreas that are equally important actors on today’s tense geopolitical stage: South Korea, which is thriving as a democracy racing into the future as a high-tech economic powerhouse, and North Korea, a repressive dictatorship ruled by the iron inclinations of the Dear Leader. The dividing 38th Parallel is a Cold War relic that masks the deep and binding cultural ties between them, and Keith Pratt tackles here in Everlasting Flower the complexly intertwined history of the two nations.
Everlasting Flower traverses the ancient physical and cultural landscape of the Koreas, spanning from the ancient states of Old Choson and Wiman Choson to the present day. Pratt reveals the rich origins of such cultural foundations as religious practices and food and drink, and he connects them to key historical developments of both nations. He also probes controversial historical events such as the abuses—torture, punishment, and the “comfort women”—of the Japanese occupation. Concise and richly illustrated pictorial essays augment Pratt’s compelling narrative, chronicling various monuments of Korea’s past, including the world’s oldest observatory and the famous turtle boats.
An engrossing and provocative history of the two Koreas, Everlasting Flower is an essential study of two nations that are rapidly emerging from the shadows of their looming neighbors—China and Japan—and of each other as well. As the Korean peninsula becomes an increasingly important geopolitical hotspot, Everlasting Flower offers a broad perspective on this painfully divided nation.
|I||The creation of state identity|
|1||From earliest times to A.D. 668 : cultural patterns in flux||29|
|2||Unified Silla, A.D. 668-936 : the building of confidence||59|
|3||Koryo, 918-1392 : the struggle for independence||85|
|4||Early to mid-Choson, 1392-1800 : the search for an acceptable orthodoxy||116|
|II||A century of insecurity|
|5||The hermit kingdom, 1800-64 : tradition at work||153|
|6||Incursion, modernization and reform, 1864-1905 : tradition at bay||177|
|III||A century of suffering|
|7||Culture under threat, 1905-45 : the colonial era||209|
|8||Partition and war, 1945-53 : return to disunity||241|
|9||Post-war Korea : tradition and change||264|