North Korea: Another Country

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Judging from media reports, North Korea is the country Americans love to hate. A charter member of Bush's "Axis of Evil" whose leader, Kim Jong Il, is routinely described as "insane" and "diabolical" and a self-proclaimed alternative to neo-liberalism and globalization, North Korea is anathema to conservative and liberal Americans alike. And now the CIA says it possesses one or two nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, and long-range missiles capable of delivering atomic bombs or smallpox to America's West Coast.

Suffering no misconceptions regarding North Korea's dubious political tradition - from human-rights violations to token democracy - Bruce Cumings insists on a more nuanced understanding of U.S.-North Korean relations. From CIA reports on North Korea's impressive social programs to that country's genuine efforts to address the new strategic environment since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cumings draws from his extensive knowledge of Korean history and declassified government reports to show that North Korea is as fascinating as it is repellent, as formidable as it is unique and idiosyncratic.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Died-in-the-wool American patriots and the Republican Party's faithful will receive little comfort in reading Cumings' critical study of U.S. policy toward North Korea. First, Cumings (history, Univ. of Chicago; The Origins of the Korean War) reviews some of the dirty aspects of an essentially unknown American war in Korea. He next proceeds to suggest the commission of American atrocities and follows with a plausible set of reasons for North Korea's rejection of 50 years of Japanese colonial rule, another 50 years of American hegemony, and the existence of a powerful South Korea. The current administration receives a devastating critique for the American retreat from the 1994 Framework Agreement with North Korea, their suggestion of a preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear facilities, and their desire for the overthrow of the North Korean government. Cumings concludes that the North Korean leadership of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, is not lunatic in nature but predictable and deeply rooted in historic Korean culture. North Korea will be uncomfortable reading for some, but it is a necessary corrective to prior American media conditioning. Recommended for all libraries.-John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Cumings counters the hype with an instructive history." &#8212The New York Times

"Few books of political commentary are as insightful, outspoken, and even personable, as this one." &#8212Booklist

"America’s leading historian and political analyst of contemporary Korea." &#8212Chalmers Johnson, Author of Blowback

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565849402
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 714,352
  • Product dimensions: 5.24 (w) x 7.48 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Cumings is the author of North Korea, Korea’s Place in the Sun, and Parallax Visions. He teaches at the University of Chicago.
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Table of Contents

1 War Is a Stern Teacher 1
2 The Nuclear Crisis: First Act and Sequel 43
3 The Legend of Kim Il Sung 103
4 Daily Life in North Korea 128
5 The World's First Postmodern Dictator 155
6 Beyond Good and Evil 177
Recommended Reading 208
Notes 210
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014


    Im korean... north korea is very cruel and isbat war with south.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2006

    Lively read

    Bruce Cumings' writings are often depicted by right-wing Republicans as apologist literature for North Korea. I think some of this is true, but as Cumings demonstrates the situation in Korea is much more complex than just good (America and South Korea) and villains (North Korea's Kim Jong Il). Cumings is not naive about the totalitarian North Korean garrison state of Jong Il and his successor to the throne, Jong Nam. Cumings shows that the leadership in North Korea are not a bunch of quacks or 'nuts,' they are quite rational, making them maybe more dangerous. Before Bush let open his mouth about the 'Axis of Evil,' North Korea was prepared for much more peaceful relations with the West. An interesting dichotomy in this book appears as Cumings argues that North Korea believes in traditional Korean values or 'Juche' as it is called by them. It is a return to neo-Confucianism. Very well written with a little bit too much solipism and apologism with some of North Korea's less-than-savory activities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2005

    Critical Search for Truth

    North Korea is perhaps one of the most misunderstood countries/regimes in the world today. Not that it's not a militaristic garrison is, but THERE IS AN ENTIRE HISTORY AS TO WHY IT IS THAT WAY and this book is a great tool for understanding why and how. Bruce Cummings does an excellent job of gathering information much of it 'from the horse's mouth' of US leaders and generals. From the occupation of the Korean Peninsula by Imperial Japan in World War 2, the guerilla war waged by the communists to fight and defeat the Japanese, the US role in dividing the nation and installing into power in the South of those who had openly and aggressively collaborated with the fascist occupation, through the Korean War with the US, the aid of the Chinese people to the Korean people, the threats of nuclear holocaust by the US, the complete destruction of the North by US bombs and napalm that resulted in the deaths of between 2-3 million people. The author also goes through the history of the founder of the North--Kim Il Sung, and his son--Kim Jong Il. Cummings brings the reader up to date and also puts the entire history into perspective and place in today's whole Orwellian Bush-dubbed 'Axis of Evil' and the war on the world spiralling crusade. Highly reccommended for students, professors and anyone wanting to know the world based on materialist and physical reality.

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