A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present
In this comprehensive yet compact book, Michael J. Seth surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. He explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and its still little-known cultural heritage from their inception to the two Korean states of today. Telling the remarkable story of the origins and evolution of a society that borrowed and adopted from abroad, Seth describes how various tribal peoples in the peninsula came together to form one of the world's most distinctive communities. He shows how this ancient, culturally and ethnically homogeneous society was wrenched into the world of late-nineteenth-century imperialism, fell victim to Japanese expansionism, and then became arbitrarily divided into two opposed halves, North and South, after World War II.
Tracing the past seven decades, the book explains how the two Koreas, with their deeply different political and social systems and geopolitical orientations, evolved into sharply contrasting societies. South Korea, after an unpromising start, became one of the few postcolonial developing states to enter the ranks of the first world, with a globally competitive economy, a democratic political system, and a cosmopolitan and dynamic culture. North Korea, by contrast, became one of the world's most totalitarian and isolated societies, a nuclear power with an impoverished and famine-stricken population. Seth describes and analyzes the radically different and historically unprecedented trajectories of the two Koreas, formerly one tight-knit society. Throughout, he adds a rich dimension by placing Korean history into broader global perspective and by including primary readings from each era. All readers looking for a balanced, knowledgeable history will be richly rewarded with this clear and concise book.
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Ch01 The Origins
Ch02 The Period of the Three Kingdoms 4th Century to 676
Ch03 Late Silla 676 to 935
Ch04 Koryo 935 to 1170
Ch05 Military Rulers and Mongol Invaders 1170 to 1392
Ch06 The NeoConfucian Revolution and the ChosonState 1392 to the 18th Century
Ch07 Choson Society
From Poverty to Prosperity 1953 to 1997
Creatinga Democratic Society 1953 to 1997
Ch15 Contemporary North Korea 1993 to 2010
Ch16 Contemporary South Korea 1997 to 2010
Glossary of Korean Words
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administration agricultural American aristocratic Army Asia Asian became began Beijing Buddhism capital central Ch’oe China Chinese Cho˘ng civil colonial Communist Confucian country’s created cultural Democratic dominated DPRK early East economic elite emerged emperor established exams forces foreign groups historians important industrial invasion Japan Japanese Kim Dae Jung Kim Il Sung Kim Jong Kim Jong Il king kingdom Koguryo Korean history Korean society Korean War Koryo labor land late Choso˘n later leaders major Manchuria military Ming modern Mongol monks movement nationalist Neo-Confucian North Korea officials organized P’yo˘ngyang Paekche Parhae Park Park Chung Hee Party peasants peninsula People’s percent period political population reform regime Rhee rice royal rule rulers Samguk sagi scholars schools Seoul Silla slaves social South Soviet status Tang tion trade tradition troops United University Western women workers yangban Yi dynasty