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The Two Koreas

An online journalist lent this book to me. When he heard I was visiting Seoul last October, we had a casual conversation about Korean literature and history and told me he was able to buy a book detailing about Korea’s contemporary history at a book sale going on at a university some years back. He hadn’t finished reading it but he graciously loaned it to me.

The Two Koreas, a contemporary history, revised and updated, written by Don Oberdorfer. An American professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University and was a journalist for 38 years, 25 of them with The Washington Post.

I took this book because I was drawn to Korean history the same way I did with my own country’s history. Theirs is intriguing and tragic. Reading through this book, it touches on the origins of the emergence of the Two Koreas, north and south; the influence of the United States in the national policies of South Korea; the role of neighboring countries, China, Japan, Moscow; and the nuclear weapons issue of North Korea.

It’s very informative and educational and complements my understanding of the nation’s political affairs and gives insight on the political future of North Korea. I definitely will finish this book and pray I could come back to Seoul to get a glimpse of the forbidding Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

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