History of Korea (Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations Series)by Djun Kil Kim, Chun-Gil Kim, Chun-Kil Kim
Pub. Date: 02/28/2005
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
The Koreas are two of the few countries in the East Asian world to successfully maintain political and cultural independence from China. Originated by the Han-Ye-Maek people who had migrated from North China to Manchuria and the Korean peninsula since 2000 BCE, three Korean dynastiesGreat Silla, Koryo, and Chosonkept peace and prosperity in the country
The Koreas are two of the few countries in the East Asian world to successfully maintain political and cultural independence from China. Originated by the Han-Ye-Maek people who had migrated from North China to Manchuria and the Korean peninsula since 2000 BCE, three Korean dynastiesGreat Silla, Koryo, and Chosonkept peace and prosperity in the country since the 7th century, nurturing a civilization based on Buddhism, Confucianism and the East Asian world-system. Korea, despite experiencing Japanese dominion and the nation's division, now looks forward to enjoying its prosperity as a member of the global community and to seeing a unified Korea. This volume provides a comprehensive review of Korea's history, from its roots in Neolithic civilization, and the tradition and evolution of nation-building in the traditional East Asian world system, through Korea's global setting in modern times. Also included are a biographical section highlighting famous figures in Korean history, a timeline of important historical events, a glossary of Korean terms, and a bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading.
The historical origin of Korean identity in the East Asian world, Korea's failure to adapt to a changing East Asian world-system, as well as the political division Korea suffered in the second half of the 20th century are discussed. Readers will benefit from the inclusion of direct translations from original classical Chinese and Korean sources by the author. Excellent as a reference tool for students and general readers interested in the history of this unique nation.
Table of Contents
Series Foreword by Frank W. Thackeray and John E. Finding
Timeline of Historical Events
Kingdom of Choson
Notable People in the History of Korea
Glossary of Selected Terms
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
This book, I believe, is a great introduction to the Korean history including North and South Koreas together. It is so well structured and easily written that the complexity of the East Asian country¿s long history comes to a reader¿s mind with a clear map of it. Having covered the country¿s history from the beginning to the present, it would satisfy those who want to know, refresh, or deepen the knowledge of the history of Korea. A distinct strength of the book is that it has a strong narrative that consistently offers a comparative historical framework whereby almost every bit of historical facts is symmetrically rearranged through the contrast between idealism and realism. The comparative framework was put into, I guess, since one cannot fully understand the country¿s history without considering the constant existence of imperialist powers -specifically, China and Japan from long ago, and Russia and the U.S. appeared later in its modern history - around the Korean peninsula. Against this backdrop, idealism has represented a political bloc which stressed the nation-state¿s independence from outside powers and sometimes tried to overturn the old paradigm in which the country was forced to take a subordinate position, especially with regard to China proper. To the contrary, realism has aimed to maintain the country¿s survival even at the cost of losing nationalistic pride to some extent with a full recognition of the international power order in the Far Eastern Asian region. The author shows that Korean history was full of the struggles between these two extreme antipodes of political views. Even apart from the book itself, the framework may be a powerful tool to understand Korea¿s present and future. For instance, it should be noted that the conflict is still going on if we think of the nuclear crisis between North Korea and the U.S. over a decade: North Korea has believed that its nuclear program would at least help protect its independence, or furthermore give it a strong balancing power against the U.S., whereas South Korea has wanted to resolve the crisis through a series of the international six-party talks because it takes a realistic view that the crisis could bring a disastrous outcome for both North and South Koreas. The book conveys not only hard cash of the Korean history but also soft lubricator of its cultural heritage to readers by presenting not a few nicely translated literary works from ancient times to modern period. The poems, various excerpts of old historical documents, or an eloquent statement of independence would invite a reader to some historic moments of vicissitudes of Korea. In a nutshell, this book has much potential to provide an unbiased and clear understanding of Korean history for English-speaking audiences.