Korea has had a long, great civilization, with four golden ages. Destruction caused by foreign powers has failed to extinguish the Korean spirit for survival. Korea, at least its southern part, is at the threshold of another golden age, despite the handicap of being a divided nation. To understand Korea's present situation, one must look back at many thousands of years of Korean history. The purpose of this study is to look squarely at that history, including the atrocities committed against Koreans by several countries, especially Japan in the periods of 1592-1598 and 1895-1945. Some of the questions addressed in this study are: How did Koreans rebuild their country time after time, following destruction by foreign invaders? How could Koreans, in recent years, rebuild their economy in such a short time? What motivates them? Why is North Korea so different from South Korea? What is the potential of Korea in the twenty-first century? Why do Koreans have such difficulty unifying their country?
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About the Author
Kenneth B. Lee has held positions as chairman and professor of the Korean Department, Chief Research Division, and dean of the Germanic Language School of the U.S. Defense Language Institute./e Born in southern Korea and raised in northern Korea, he studied at Korea University, New York University and Stanford University, and received his PhD from the University of Southern California. He has also been Professor of East Asian Studies at Chapman University and Program Chief of Korean and Japanese Studies at Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has published widely on Korea.
Table of Contents
The Early Period of Korea
The Early Beginnings and Racial Origins of Korea
Early Korean Kingdoms Noted in Mythological Tales
Early Korea and China, 200 BC-700 AD
Korea and Early Japan, 200 BC-700 AD
The Early Middle Period: Unified Silla, Palhae, and Koryõ Kingdoms, 668-1392
Unified Silla, 668-935 AD; and Pal-hae (P'o-hai), 698-926 AD
Korean Kingdoms of Silla and Palhae (P'o-hai)
The First Half of the Koryõ Dynasty to the Twelfth Century
The Second Half of Koryõ: The Warring Period
The First Half of the Chosõn KingdomLi Dynasty, 1392-1650
The Early Li Dynasty and Korea's Fourth Golden Age, 1395-1592
The Chosõn Kingdom's Foreign Relations and Foreign Invasions
The Second Half of the Chosõn KingdomLi Dynasty: 1650-1910
The Gradual Decline of the Li Dynasty
The Last Forty Years of the Li Dynasty: 1870-1910
Japanese Occupation and Rule of Korea: 1910-1945
Establishment of the Colonial Government
Korea's Fight for Independence and Wartime International Conferences on Korea
South and North Koreas: A Divided Nation
Period of Occupational Governments of the United States and the Soviet Union
Korea Before and During the Korean War: 1948-1953
South Korea: 1950-1990s
North Korea: 1950-1990s
The Arms Race and Unification Efforts of the Two Koreas
National Securities of Both South and North Korea
Unification Efforts by International Organizations and South and North Koreas
Future Prospects of Unification and Potentiality for Korea
What People are Saying About This
[This work] traces the history of the Koreans from prehistoric times down to the present day. With ardent conviction, Dr. Lee establishes their position among the major nations prominent in the East Asia region. Drawing on a wealth of sources, he describes the Koreans' political, cultural, and economic history in considerable detail….Dr. Lee's book is the latest contribution toward putting the historical record straight…a valuable addition to the scholarly literature on this important region.
"[Dr. Lee] writes as a Korean patriot in the best sense of that phrase, expounding on Korea's seminal contributions to the growth of East Asian civilization. He describes a Korea which as played a key role as a link between China and Japan, but also has carved out a distinct identity in Asia and the international community. . . . [A] useful addition to the literature on Korean history, Korean national development, and Korea's role in the modern world."
"Dr. Kenneth B. Lee . . . has painted a timely, many-faceted picture of real Korea and its heroic people. . . . The book's style is easily readable, presenting a wealth of material on the long Korean history in relation to Korea's neighbors, as well as present-day situations of South and North Korea on broad topics of political, economic, military, social, and cultural aspects. Dr. Lee dealt with these subjects most accurately, thoroughly, and objectively. Indeed, the author made a great contribution to academia with many new historical theories regarding the development of Korean and other East Asian civilizations. . . . I . . . strongly recommend this timely book."