Travel Books

I was taken a bit by surprise when I was introduced at the KCCUK’s firth birthday dinner as “Author of Royal Ancestors and Ancient Remedies.” I had almost forgotten. But coincidentally, a correspondent has just told me that it’s now available on Amazon.com. Some enterprising organisation has picked up a free copy or two from […]

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Royal Ancestors – an unsolicited review

by Philip Gowman 6 November 2012
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I recently received an email from a friend who was given a copy of Royal Ancestors and Ancient Remedies for Christmas last year: Just finished reading your Korean book, which I enjoyed a lot. I confess I was struck by a similarity between the book and the Jongmyo ancestral rituals, in that I thought it […]

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Book review: Michael Gibb — A Slow Walk through Jeong-dong

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2012
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Michael Gibb: A Slow Walk through Jeong-dong Illustrations by Ah-young Jung Hollym, 2011, 144pp How can one write a whole book about a stroll down a street tucked in behind the Deoksu Palace? How can one spend a whole day there? Well, in part, the clue is in the title – the walk is slow. […]

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Walking the Baekdu-Daegan trail

by Philip Gowman 8 July 2011
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Roger Shepherd & Andrew Douch, with David A Mason: Baekdu Daegan Trail Seoul Selection, 2010, 446pp Korea is a mountainous country. If you google that phrase you will learn that 70% of South Korea’s land mass is designated as upland or mountains. And everyone knows that a lot of Koreans love hiking in the hills. […]

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Michelin to issue Green Guide to Korea

by Philip Gowman 22 May 2011
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About time too. Michelin finally releases a Green Guide to Korea. Now to collect those stars… http://bit.ly/mHfhl5 #. Currently only available in French, but in English from March 2012. Companies: SC First

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Thank you

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2011
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Tonight at the Korean Cultural Centre, I’m told that it was a record attendance for a Global Korea Lecture. So, thanks to the people who came along to my talk. I think I said most of the things I wanted to, but missed a couple of things. More importantly, thanks to the Ministry of Culture, […]

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The LKL book launch event – 17 May

by Philip Gowman 22 April 2011
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It’s official – it’s the Royal Ancestors book launch event. There’s no backing out now. I guess I need to figure out what I’m going to say. As usual, pre-booking is essential, this time with the Embassy press office. I look forward to seeing you there. Details below. ROYAL ANCESTORS AND CONTEMPORARY CULTURE A talk […]

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A gift idea for Winter Sonata fans?

by Philip Gowman 4 December 2010
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Bae Yong-joon’s book about Korea — A Journey in Search of Korea’s Beauty — has been translated into English: a Christmas gift idea? http://bit.ly/gobpWT #. The book sold well in its Japanese and Taiwanese versions, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

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Mountain walking, Tea Classics and a thriller: three new books

by Philip Gowman 10 July 2010
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ROK Drop Book Review: Yin Yang Tattoo By Ron McMillan. Looks like a good novel for summer holiday reading. http://bit.ly/9hxn6M # Walk the Baekdu-Daegan: Korea's mountain backbone: new book on the hiking trail. http://bit.ly/b9cmsu # An article about Brother Anthony (brilliant translator, says KTLit.com) and his new book about tea (not my cuppa!): http://www.ktlit.com/?p=1377 Authors: […]

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The Seoul Book of Everything

by Philip Gowman 10 April 2010
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A new guide book, featuring content from some well-known foreigners in Seoul: The Seoul Book of Everything. http://bit.ly/coILfY #. But how will it compare with Robert Koehler’s guide?

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Korea Chic: a cosy, western, “How to Spend it” view of Korea

by Philip Gowman 9 December 2009
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We review a diabolical book with no identifiable readership Raymond Bartlett and Brandon Lee: Korea Chic Editions Didier Millet Pty Ltd, 2009 When Korea is seeking to increase its visibility as a tourist destination, any guidebook must be welcome. This recently published book, however, is not a guidebook. In fact, it is not quite sure […]

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Jennifer Barclay: Meeting Mr Kim

by Philip Gowman 29 July 2008
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Summersdale Publishers, 2008 Jennifer Barclay went to Seoul with her musician boyfriend eight years ago with no fixed agenda other than a desire to get away from her job. Fortunately, while in Korea she took advantage of her free time to explore parts of the country which are not necessarily on the tourist route. This […]

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Tom Coyner and Song-Hyon Jang: Mastering Business in Korea

by Philip Gowman 5 July 2007
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(Seoul Selection, 2007) With a title like “Mastering Business in Korea” the current book might well turn off the casual reader. But as well as having, as its title suggests, a business angle, it can also be used as a more general cultural guide. And because this is a practical book written by people who […]

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Charlie Crane: Welcome to Pyongyang

by Philip Gowman 5 May 2007
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Chris Boot, 2007 The new photo book on Pyongyang can be appreciated on a number of levels. Firstly, there’s the literal level: it’s a collection of well-taken photos, with captions provided by the North Korean Tourist Board. But like it or not, whenever you see anything in which the North Koreans have had a hand, […]

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Guy Delisle: Pyongyang – A Journey in North Korea

by Philip Gowman 17 November 2006
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(Jonathan Cape, 2006) An account of a three-month work stint in Pyongyang at around the start of the Bush presidency, this book is neither particularly topical (it’s taken some time to be translated from the original French) nor well-titled. But it sure is original. We’ve read travel accounts of North Korea before; we’ve heard about […]

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Clive Leatherdale: To Dream of Pigs

by Philip Gowman 17 April 2006

(Desert Island, 1994) Valuable for its brief excursion into North Korea, but the author only managed to escape from his minders for a few pages. Well worth searching out.

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Simon Winchester: Korea – a walk through the land of miracles

by Philip Gowman 17 April 2006

(Penguin 2004) Originally published in 1988, but with a new preface for the 2004 revised edition. Uses the 1668 description of Korea by Hendrick Hamel as a framework. An extremely well-written book.

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