A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present

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Rowman & Littlefield, Jan 21, 2016 - History - 612 pages
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Now in a fully revised and updated edition, this comprehensive book surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. Michael J. Seth explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and 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 seven decades since 1945, 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 rare dimension by placing Korean history into broader global perspective. All readers looking for a balanced, knowledgeable history will be richly rewarded with this clear and concise book.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 The Origins
9
Chapter 2 The Period of the Three Kingdoms Fourth Century to 676
29
Chapter 3 Late Silla 676 to 935
53
Chapter 4 Koryŏ 935 to 1170
83
Chapter 5 Military Rulers and Mongol Invaders 1170 to 1392
111
Chapter 6 The NeoConfucian Revolution and the Chosŏn State 1392 to the Eighteenth Century
135
Chapter 7 Chosŏn Society
167
Recovery Transformation and Decline 1953 to 1993
361
From Poverty to Prosperity 1953 to 1997
399
Creating a Democratic Society 1953 to 1997
433
Chapter 15 Contemporary North Korea 1993 to 2015
467
Chapter 16 Contemporary South Korea 1997 to 2015
497
Conclusion
533
Appendix Romanization
539
Glossary of Korean Words
543

Chapter 8 Late Chosŏn Early Eighteenth Century to 1876
201
Chapter 9 Korea in the Age of Imperialism 1876 to 1910
241
Chapter 10 Colonial Korea 1910 to 1945
283
Chapter 11 Division and War 1945 to 1953
325
Annotated Selected Bibliography
553
Index
571
About the Author
589
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Michael J. Seth is professor of history at James Madison University.

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