Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Review: Faces of Korea: The Foreign Experience in the Land of the Morning Calm

Title: Faces of Korea: The Foreign Experience in the Land of the Morning Calm
Author: Richard Harris
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Hollym International Corporation (July 30, 2004)
ISBN-10: 1565912144
ISBN-13: 978-1565912144

Despite being published over seven years ago and is tough as nails to find, this book is an absolute gem. If you get your hands on this, do not let it go. What you hold is a brilliant collection of unforgettable stories.

The author has compiled 47 interviews of foreigners who all have one thing in common: Korea. If this seems just it'll be about a few American blogging English teachers, please disregard that thought because this book could not be more diverse. Interviews from ethnic Chinese living in Korea, Korean adoptees from North America and Europe, spouses of Koreans, former soldiers, missionaries, TV personalities and a truly breathtaking interview with Dr. Horace Grant Underwood III a few months before his passing. The book covers illegal immigrants, naturalized citizens, foreign language students and everything in between.

The book has a few faults, though. Despite being translated and transcribed into English, there are small number of grammatical and spelling errors. In addition to being a few bucks more expensive than the average expatriate book, it's a bit difficult to find a copy. Lastly, although the book does cover all pertinent subjects with a phenomenal level of balance, I would have liked to see more jobs such as business owners, politicians, island dwelling foreign residents, graduate students, and the like.

This book is crying for a revision and a new pressing. Please don't let this book be the last of what could be a great teaching tool for prospective and current foreign residents of Korea. An eye-opening and brilliantly compiled text, I urge you to pick this one up at the first possible inclination of moving to Korea. I picked it up and couldn't put it down till I finished it. Richard Harris, thank you.


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