The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future

( 5 )

Overview

In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on provocative, isolationist North Korea, providing our best look yet at its history and the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. Cha illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues—from ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$13.36
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $5.64   
  • New (13) from $7.63   
  • Used (6) from $5.64   
The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.49
BN.com price

Overview

In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on provocative, isolationist North Korea, providing our best look yet at its history and the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. Cha illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues—from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions—all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's death and the transition of power to his unpredictable heir.

Ultimately, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think—a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
“A meaty, fast-paced portrait of North Korean society, economy, politics, and foreign policy by an expert who has studied the regime as a scholar and interacted with its officials.”
Washington Post
“An up-close, insightful portrait. . . . The Impossible State is a clearheaded, bold examination of North Korea and its future.”
The New Yorker
“Cha demonstrates an intimate familiarity with the regime’s contradictions. . . . The thesis is clear: the world’s most closed-off state needs to open up to survive, but breaking its hermetic seal may well precipitate its demise.”
Bob Schieffer
“Ask those who deal with national security what worries them most and at the top of the list or near it you’ll always find North Korea, a place about which we know little to nothing. That’s why Victor Cha’s book is so valuable.”
Andrea Mitchell
The Impossible State is provocative, frightening, and never more relevant than today as an untested new leader takes charge of the world’s most unpredictable nuclear power.”
Library Journal
Over the past two decades, North Korea has survived despite abandonment by its Soviet benefactors, the death of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, economic collapse, and massive starvation. This reclusive state found a way to endure these difficulties while simultaneously developing nuclear weapons. To explain how this happened, Cha (government & Asian studies, Georgetown Univ.; Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia) thoroughly examines North Korea's history, ideology, economics, society, and foreign relations. Additionally, Cha argues that North Korea's government will soon collapse because of foreign and domestic pressures, accelerated by the recent death of Kim Jong Il. The regime's demise in the next few years, he says, will create serious challenges for northeast Asia and the United States. Cha supports his claims with a mix of evidence and speculation based on his experience as the former director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. VERDICT This is essential reading for all North Korea watchers. Cha merges his analysis with personal stories from his experiences as a negotiator in the Six-Party Talks, which makes this an informative and enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in the topic.—Joshua Wallace, South Texas Coll. Lib., McAllen
Kirkus Reviews
From the former director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, an eye-opening view of the closed, repressive dictatorship of North Korea. Cha (Foreign Service/Georgetown Univ.; Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia, 2008, etc.) first visited North Korea during George W. Bush's second term with then-governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson to try to defuse nuclear-testing tensions. The author was amazed at the chasm between party haves and everybody else, confirming all that he knew about the authoritarian country. Cha aims to get at some of the pressing questions since Kim Jong-il's death and the succession of the utterly unknown younger son, Kim Jong-un—e.g., what happened to this once-vigorous dictatorship, and why does the populace do nothing about it? How can the West know so little about what really goes on there? For Cha, the key that unlocked the regime's secrets was its nostalgia for the good old days of the 1950s and '60s, when China and the Soviet Union were bolstering North Korean industry and military, while the South was still an agrarian backwater. American aggression during the Korean War left a lasting bitterness, and while the South was grappling with American ambivalence toward its leaders, the North under Kim Il-sung embraced the ideology of juche, or self-reliance, and the cult of the Great Leader. As a result, writes Cha, the North Koreans are simply too oppressed to revolt—not to mention the devastating effects from "Olympic envy" of trying to catch up to Seoul's 1988 hosting, and the terrible famine of the mid '90s. The author looks closely at the Kim family, the terrible economic decisions that plunged the country into poverty, the shocking gulag system, its paranoid nuclear proliferation program and the tenuous relations with South Korea. A useful, pertinent work for understanding the human story behind the headlines.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061998515
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 286,440
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Cha served in the White House as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007. He currently holds the D. S. Song-KF Chair in Government and Asian Studies at Georgetown University and is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

A Note on the Korean Text ix

Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations xi

1 Contradictions 1

2 The Best Days 19

3 All in the Family 64

4 Five Bad Decisions 110

5 The Worst Place on Earth 162

6 The Logic of Deterrence 212

7 Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Dismantlement (CVID) 247

8 Neighbors 315

9 Approaching Unification 386

10 The End is Near 427

Acknowledgments 465

Notes 469

Index 507

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Excellent

    This book covers everything about North Korea and the international problems on the peninsula. I have read many books on the topic and this is the best overall read filled with personal details negotiating with North Korea as well as working in government policy. It is easy to read, well organized and insightful. The stories of meeting real people involved in the six party talks make it more easy to understand the complexities of a very difficult situation. The author is straight forward and honest. I am glad my wife told me about it. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Outstanding

    Incredile insight into an incredibly isolated people...and a regime that appears to have no end in sight. The research and personal knowledge of Cho made this the most captivating read I've had in a long time. A great follow-up to this one is The Aquariums of Pyongyang.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)