Korea: A Walk through the Land of Miracles

( 22 )

Overview

In the late 1980s, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester set out on foot to discover the Republic of Korea -- from its southern tip to the North Korean border -- in order to set the record straight about this enigmatic and elusive land.

Fascinating for its vivid presentation of historical and geographic detail, Korea is that rare book that actually defines a nation and its people. Winchester's gift for capturing engaging characters in true, compelling stories ...

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Korea

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Overview

In the late 1980s, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester set out on foot to discover the Republic of Korea -- from its southern tip to the North Korean border -- in order to set the record straight about this enigmatic and elusive land.

Fascinating for its vivid presentation of historical and geographic detail, Korea is that rare book that actually defines a nation and its people. Winchester's gift for capturing engaging characters in true, compelling stories provides us with a treasury of enchanting and informed insight on the culture, language, history, and politics of this little-known corner of Asia.

With a new introduction by the author, Korea is a beautiful journey through a mysterious country and a memorable addition to the many adventures of Simon Winchester.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060750442
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 175,291
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of The Men Who United The States, as well as the New York Times bestselling books The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, Krakatoa, Crack in the Edge and more.

Biography

One of the leading practitioners of the offbeat, narrative nonfiction genre The New York Times affectionately calls "cocktail-party science," Simon Winchester studied geology at Oxford, worked on offshore oil rigs, and traveled extensively before settling into a writing career. For twenty years, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, augmenting his income by writing articles and well-written but little-read travel books. Then, an obscure footnote in a book he was reading for sheer recreation sparked the idea of a lifetime.

The book in question was Jonathon Green's Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries They Made, and the footnote read, "Readers will of course be familiar with the story of W.C. Minor, the convicted, deranged, American lunatic murderer, contributor to the OED." Immediately, Winchester knew he had stumbled on a real story, one filled with drama, intrigue, and human interest. Published in 1998, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Oxford English Dictionary was an overnight success, garnering rave reviews on both sides of the pond, and remained on The New York Times hardcover bestseller list for more than a year.

Fueled by curiosity, passion, and a journalist's instinct for what makes "good copy," Winchester has gone on to explore the obscure, arcane, and idiosyncratic in blockbusters like The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, and The Man Who Loved China. Coincidentally, his subjects have placed him squarely in the forefront of the new wave of nonfiction so popular at the start of the 21st century. In an interview with Atlantic Monthly, Winchester explained the phenomenon thusly: ""It shows, I think, that there is deep, deep down -- but underserved for a long time -- an eagerness for real stories, real narratives, about rich and interesting things. We -- writers, editors -- just ignored this, by passed this. Now we are tapping into it again."

Good To Know

Winchester once spent three months looking at whirlpools on assignment for Smithsonian magazine.

He once wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times to correct a factual error in an article about where the millennium would first hit land on the morning of Jan. 1, 2000. (It was the island of Tafahi, not the coral atoll Kirabati.)

He reportedly loves the words "butterfly" and "dawn."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York; Massachusetts; Scotland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 28, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      M.A., St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, 1966
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Korea

A Walk Through the Land of Miracles
By Simon Winchester

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Simon Winchester
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060750448

Chapter One

In the Seamen's Wake

The Kingdom known to us by the Name of Corea, and by the Natives call'd Tiozencouk, and sometimes Caoli, reaches from 34 to 44 Degrees of North Latitude, being about 150 Leagues in length from North to South, and about 75 in breadth from East to West. Therefore the Coresians represent it in the shape of a long square, like a playing Card. Nevertheless it has several Points of Land which run far out into the Sea.

It is divided into 8 provinces, containing 360 Cities and Towns, without reckoning the Forts and Castles, which are all on the Mountains. This Kingdom is very dangerous, and difficult for Strangers.

From The Description of The Kingdom of Corea, written in 1668 by Hendrick Hamel -- the first Western account of the 'Hermit Kingdom'

This story starts a very long way from Korea -- indeed, very nearly halfway across the world from Hendrick Hamel's 'dangerous and difficult Kingdom' -- on a gloomy, rainswept, industrial street in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle was where I had my first job on a newspaper in the middle sixties: it was a grimy and then rather depressed old place tucked away up in the farnortheast, a place of deep coal mines and half-closed factories that were worked by men (the luckier ones, that is -- many had been out of work for years) who still wore overalls and cloth caps, drank the strongest beer brewed in Britain, and had a tradition of making the sturdier items of advanced society --things made of iron and brass and heavy alloys, things like battle tanks and cantilever bridges, artillery pieces and cranes, telescope mirrors, power-station turbines and railway locomotives.

But it had a softer side, too. As robust and no-nonsense a place as it might have been, the Newcastle I came to know was a city surrounded by and shaped by a wild and starkly beautiful countryside, and a place whose whole life and economy and folk history were dominated by two mighty waterways that were born high up in the nearby hills, the River Tees and the River Tyne.

The Tyne! Such -- or so it seems at this distance -- such a grand old river and such grand old memories! The Tyne remains for me, and probably for anyone who has ever fallen under the subtle spell of what they call the Geordie country, one of the great streams of the world. It is neither a very long nor in truth a very great river, yet somehow in its brief passage from source to sea it manages to capture all the alluring mixtures and contrasts that make England what she is -- grace and power, rustic charm and ironbound sinew, breeze-ruffled heather and hot industrial oil, lonely moorlands and bustling factory gates. These contrasts exist in many river passages, perhaps, but in the case of the Tyne seem to represent so accurately all that for which the country once stood and all that had been for so long part of the leitmotiv of Empire.

The Tyne rises high in the broom-covered hills near the border between England and Scotland. It chuckles merrily through narrow gorges and across small waterfalls. It matures and lazes through meadows and prosperous suburban villages. It washes grandly between the great old cathedral cities of Newcastle and Gateshead, cities of grey sandstone and marble monuments, vaulted railway stations and imposing city halls; and finally it passes by the low-lying, swampy slakes of Jarrow and Wallsend -- the latter named for the eastern end of the mighty wall Hadrian had built to protect Rome's English dominion -- on its way to the cold and grey heavings of the North Sea. And in those last ten miles of its brief course, by which time it has widened and deepened and slowed to a kind of majesty, the River Tyne became over the centuries the home for an industry that perhaps more than any other has made the northeast of England famous throughout the world: on the lower reaches of the River Tyne they build ships.

Vessels of war and passenger liners, gritty little tramp steamers and sleek container ships, ugly grain haulers and bulk carriers, motor vessels of every imaginable type that now ply between faraway ports, Baltimore and Capetown, Pago Pago and Papeete, Shanghai and Port Moresby, Colombo and Mombasa and (with a cruel irony that will shortly be apparent) the Korean ports like Inchon and Pusan, and a thousand places besides. Anything that was made of iron, and that floated, and that was made in England seemed to have some inevitable association with the River Tyne. So many of these ships in their uncountable armadas have, on some 'tween-deck bulkhead, an oval brass plate with the engraved name of the shipyard and a final phrase of simple geography that still stands out proudly like a mariners' seal of approval -- made, the plaques say, in Newcastle upon Tyne.

When I arrived there as a reporter in 1967, they had just started work on the last family of truly great ships ever to be built on the river. The first, the flagship, was called the Esso Northumbria, and she weighed in at something like a quarter of a million tons -- a supertanker, everyone called her. The people of Wallsend, where she was built, were glad indeed after many months of short orders and short time -- for the Tyne was suffering from a near-terminal case of slump -- to have won the order to build her. I was fascinated by her construction. (I had been brought up in Dorset, and the biggest boat I. had ever seen was a six-man whaler built of teak.) Each weekend I, along with scores of other local people, would drive down to Wallsend to watch her progress. I would walk down to the tiny lanes of terraced houses where the shipyard workers lived, and I would watch her mighty hull rise behind them.

Continues...


Excerpted from Korea by Simon Winchester Copyright © 2006 by Simon Winchester. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Sex

    Im a hot sexy chick u wanr nook sex and ur a boy ooh ur gonna get sex baby

    SEXY SEXY LADY I GOT SOME SEXY BOOBS TOO

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    K pop

    I love kpop

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    If you love Kpop..

    Go to Korean Pop result 2. And we'll talk day and night about your favorite Kpop idols! Kahamsamnida! ;) - KpopDirectioner/ Ashley

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    YAVES RULES.

    YAVES 4EVER!!!!! YAVES BEATS YOUR PUNY KOREAN JUNK. LOOK HIM UP ON PANDORA. HIS SONG SlingShot Strong IS EPIC!!!!! HE IS THE BEST!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    The guy who said kpop is awesome

    Thats great i typed it and people r posting new ones like loving u sexy free and single ect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Yay

    I love koreans! Ive heard Girls Generation songs before. Also look up Fantastic Baby by Bigbang. Its epical.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Gangnam Style!

    Oppan Gangnam Style!
    Gangnam Style!
    Najenun ddasaroun inganjeogin yeoja...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Korea songs are awesome!

    I'm korean so it does make sense but I love the raps during songs and though i dont know any korean singer's name (no radio, no tv, lots of nothing) i usually hear it on the radio on other people's radios and i do have the wonder girls' nobody cd ( though it's really other group singing so it's not as good as the actual ones)! So go korea go! Dae-han-min-guk (Korean cheer for Koreans! Dont know the actual meaning! )! Jo-ah-oh(like it!)!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    Yugiheart

    He tends t the kit.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    K POP!!!

    You are talking about Korean songs. I'm Korean, and I love Korean songs.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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    Posted January 17, 2010

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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    Posted March 24, 2009

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    Posted December 25, 2010

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    Posted March 26, 2010

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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    Posted May 12, 2011

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