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Korea: The Impossible Country: South Korea's Amazing Rise from the Ashes: The Inside Story of an Economic, Political and Cultural Phenomenon

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Tudor, Daniel (Author)
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Description

Publication Date: 10 November 2012
South Korea's amazing rise from the ashes: the inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon

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?

More than just one journalist's account, Korea: The Impossible Country also draws on interviews with many of the people who made South Korea what it is today. These include:

  • Choi Min-sik, the star of "Old Boy."
  • Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.
  • Soyeon Yi, Korea's first astronaut Hong Myung-bo, legendary captain of Korea's 2002 FIFA World Cup team.
  • Shin Joong-hyun, the 'Godfather of Korean Rock'.
  • Ko Un, poet.
  • Hong Seok-cheon, restaurateur, and the first Korean celebrity to 'come out'.

And many more, including a former advisor to President Park Chung-hee; a Shaman priestess ('mudang'); the boss of Korea's largest matchmaking agency; a 'room salon' hostess; an architect; as well as chefs, musicians, academics, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and chaebol conglomerate employees.

Product Details

ISBN-10: 0804842523

ISBN-13: 9780804842525

Publisher: Tuttle Publishing       

Language: English

Age Range: NA - NA years

Grade Level: NA - NA

Hardcover: 320 Pages

Product Dimension (L x W x H): 20.32 x 13.97 x 2.54 CM

Shipping Weight: 0.50 Kg

Customer Reviews

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5 customer reviews  Between 4−5 stars rating,  25 August 2014
The Unique of South-Korea!
By: blogs.wsj.com

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.

5 customer reviews  Between 4−5 stars rating,  25 August 2014
Tudor's Masterpiece
By: The Wall Street Journal, Asia

Daniel Tudor is one of the most influential foreign correspondents in South Korea–and one of the least known. As the reporter for the Economist, which doesn’t use bylines, most of his work is published anonymously. But Mr. Tudor’s profile is about to take a sharp rise with the publication of his new book, Korea: The Impossible Country.

5 customer reviews  Between 4−5 stars rating,  25 August 2014
Get to know more about South-Korean Pop
By: Financial Times

Tudor 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.

5 customer reviews  Between 4−5 stars rating,  25 August 2014
Enjoyable reading
By: Asian Correspondent

And I have to say, it was quite an enjoyable reading. […] There’s a fair amount of colorful detail in these chapters, and Mr. Tudor’s brisk writing kept the pages turning for me. […] if you’re new to all things Korean, you should consider picking this up. Oh, and for a quick and entertaining introduction to Korean shamanism, I’m not sure this can be beat.

5 customer reviews  Between 4−5 stars rating,  25 August 2014
Tudor's great book!
By: TIME magazine

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".

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