Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies

Title: The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies
Author: Michael Breen
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (January 17, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0312326092
ISBN-13: 978-031232609

One of the most fascinating, concise history texts available. Its curiously long title might come off as zealous but chalk it up to poor marketing because the book itself is a valuable piece of work that is far easier to delve into. Breen breaks each chapter down into manageable pieces that impressively read like page-turning newspaper articles and less like dry scholarly papers.

An obviously brilliant writer, Breen's journalistic fact-then-opinion approach helps to identify what is interpretation and what is generally understood to be factual. His sprinkled personal anecdotes are appropriate and charming. He's also humbly modest when he claims that ancient Korea is not his field of study because he does a fine job at covering the important aspects of ancient Korea and her vast history.

All in all, this is a must read for those wanting to gain a well-educated and experienced look into Korea.

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Ahh, the memories. My first Korean history book. I read this one summer in college by my apartment's pool. Good times.


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