Korea: The Impossible Country [NOOK Book]

Overview

[Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just fifty years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a ...
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Korea: The Impossible Country

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Overview

[Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just fifty years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a second Asian miracle.

Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In Korea: The Impossible Country, Tudor examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea, the myths about doing business in Korea, the Koreans' renowned hard-partying ethos, and why the infatuation with learning English is now causing huge social problems.]

South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and complete democratization. The question now is, will it become as some see Japan, a rich yet aging society, devoid of energy and momentum? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change—as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold—enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the world’s leading nations in terms of human culture, democracy, and wealth?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended for expats and any readers who are keen to learn more about Asian cultures, Korea: The Impossible Country is a well–researched and authoritative window into a country and its people." &#8212The Expat

"But this is not a history book. Tudor, Seoul correspondent for The Economist, provides a fairly perfunctory account of the "miracle on the Han River", which saw South Korea transformed from postwar ruin to prosperous democracy within four decades. The book's real value comes in its exploration of the cultural forces behind the country's zeal for self-improvement. He spends more time analysing the rise of Korean popular culture, which has swept across Asia during the past decade and is now going global with the success of PSY, the rapper whose hit, "Gangnam Style", has become a worldwide internet sensation. Some see PSY's breakthrough as evidence that South Korea is finally establishing itself in the global consciousness as the modern, sassy society it is. That may be true but his satire of life in the rich, fashionable Gangnam district of Seoul also reflects unease over the rising social divisions charted in Tudor's book."—Financial Times

"Sixty years ago, South Korea was an economic wasteland. Today, it is not only the world's 11th largest economy, but also a vibrant democracy and an emerging cultural force. This transformation is the subject of a new book, Korea: The Impossible Country, by Daniel Tudor, Korea correspondent for the Economist. He argues that, thanks in part to its neighbors, South Korea is all too often overlooked. A pity, he says, since "South Koreans have written the most unlikely and impressive story of nation-building of the last century.""—Time Magazine

Mr. Tudor pushes into new social and economic territory with his book, including the rising role of immigrants, multicultural families and even gay people in South Korea. He lays out some of the contradictory behavior one finds in South Korea, such as the unending desire for new and trendy gadgets and fashion and yet the tunnel-like view of what constitutes a successful life."—Wall Street Journal

"Tudor's Korea: The Impossible Country is a fascinating overview of daily life in Korea. Tudor's in-depth analysis is the one of an insider who has never lost sight of the view from the outside. His book helps you feel comfortable right from your first visit in Korea."—David Syz, Swiss Secretary of State for Economic Affairs

"With a new generation every five years, it's hard to keep up with Korea. This book is long overdue but Daniel Tudor has done a magnificent job filling the gap. Not only has he captured the new Korea, but he does so in an effortless style that leaves the reader wanting more."—Michael Breen, author of The Koreans

"Written with affection and deep knowledge, Daniel Tudor's book fills a huge gap in our understanding of one of Asia's least known countries. His engaging narrative overturns the stereotypes by depicting a society which, though full of stresses, strains and contradictions, has overcome poverty and dictatorship to become a prosperous democracy. South Korea's transformation into a vibrant, modern state is, as he says, a story that deserves to be better known. Tudor has done the "impossible country" a service by opening its secrets to the world."—David Pilling, Asia Editor, Financial Times

"Daniel Tudor covers all the important issues, yet does not simply tell the more familiar stories but looks deeper and wider to give the full story of Korea today."—Martin Uden, Former British Ambassador to South Korea

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462910229
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/10/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 363,563
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Daniel Tudor is from Manchester, England, and graduated with a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. He has lived in Seoul, Korea for a number of years, and served as The Economist's Korea Correspondent from 2010-2013. His first book, 'Korea: The Impossible Country' received strong praise and has also been translated into Korean, Chinese, Polish, and Thai.

Daniel is a regular columnist for a Korean newspaper, the Joongang Ilbo, and has commented on Korea-related topics many times for the BBC, Al Jazeera, and others. He is also co-founder of The Booth, a small chain of craft beer pubs.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, Caveats, and a Note on Names 7

Introduction 9

A Brief History of Korea 12

Part I Foundations

Chapter 1 Shamanism and the Spirit World 24

Chapter 2 Buddhism 34

Chapter 3 Confucianism 42

Chapter 4 Christianity 54

Chapter 5 Capitalism with a Korean Face 66

Chapter 6 Democracy: Beyond Asian Values 78

Part II Cultural Codes

Chapter 7 Jeong-The "Invisible Hug" 92

Chapter 8 Competition 101

Chapter 9 Chemyon, or Face 112

Chapter 10 Han and Heung 120

Chapter 11 From Clan to Nuclear Family 128

Chapter 12 Neophilia 139

Part III Hyun-Shil: Cold Reality

Chapter 13 North Korea: Friend, Foe, or Foreigner? 148

Chapter 14 Politics and the Media 158

Chapter 15 Onward, Industrial Soldiers 170

Chapter 16 "More Important than the Business Itself" 182

Chapter 17 Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Perfect 192

Chapter 18 English Mania 202

Part IV In The Hours Not Spent Working

Chapter 19 Living Space: From Hanok to Apartment Houses and Back Again 212

Chapter 20 Four Seasons at the Dinner Table 220

Chapter 21 Cinema: Boom, Bust, and Brilliance 229

Chapter 22 More Than K-Pop 240

Chapter 23 Work All Day, Stay Out All Night 250

Part V More of "Us," Less of "Them"

Chapter 24 Defensive Nationalism 260

Chapter 25 Multicultural Korea? 271

Chapter 26 "Its Our Turn" 279

Chapter 27 "We Are Not Aliens, From Another Cosmos" 291

Chapter 28 A Woman's Place Is in the Office 298

Epilogue: Where Is the Champagne? 309

Index 313

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Good overview of Korean culture

    This book gives a wonderfully accessible overview of Korean culture. It covers a wide variety of sections from politics, to pop culture, to dating customs. The writing in the book is very accessible and relatable - none of the information felt excessive, or unnecessary and a lot of the statements about Korean culture were well backed with historical and cultural explanations that always gave me a strong sense about why certain things in Korea are the way they are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    Yugiheart

    He tends tothe kit.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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