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A History of Korea: From “Land of the Morning Calm” to States in Conflict

From the publisher’s website:

Contemporary North and South Korea are nations of radical contrasts: one a bellicose totalitarian state with a failing economy; the other a peaceful democracy with a strong economy. Yet their people share a common history that extends back more than 3,000 years. In this comprehensive new history of Korea from the prehistoric era to the present day, Jinwung Kim recounts the rich and fascinating story of the political, social, cultural, economic, and diplomatic developments in Korea’s long march to the present. He provides a detailed account of the origins of the Korean people and language and the founding of the first walled-town states, along with the advanced civilization that existed in the ancient land of “Unified Silla.” Clarifying the often complex history of the Three Kingdoms Period, Kim chronicles the five-century long history of the Choson dynasty, which left a deep impression on Korean culture. From the beginning, China has loomed large in the history of Korea, from the earliest times when the tribes that would eventually make up the Korean nation roamed the vast plains of Manchuria and against whom Korea would soon define itself. Japan, too, has played an important role in Korean history, particularly in the 20th century; Kim tells this story as well, including the conflicts that led to the current divided state. The first detailed overview of Korean history in nearly a quarter century, this volume will enlighten a new generation of students eager to understand this contested region of Asia.

Jinwung Kim is Professor of History at Kyungpook National University in Taegu, South Korea. He has published widely on South Korean–U.S. relations, with a particular focus on South Korean perceptions of the United States.



I. Dawn of the Korean Nation

  1. The Prehistoric Age
  2. The Origins of the Korean People
  3. Old Chosŏn
  4. Confederated Kingdoms

II. The Period of the Three Kingdoms (57 BCE — 676 CE)

  1. The Growth of Koguryŏ
  2. The Rise and Decline of Paekche
  3. The Rise and Growth of Silla
  4. The Rise and Fall of Kaya
  5. Silla’s Unification
  6. Political and Social Structure of the Three Kingdoms
  7. Culture of the Three Kingdoms
  8. The Three Kingdoms and Japan
  9. “History War” with China

III. Parhae, Unified Silla, and the Later Three Kingdoms (676 — 936)

  1. Parhae’s Rise and Growth
  2. Government and Society of Unified Silla
  3. Flourishing Culture of Unified Silla
  4. The Later Three Kingdoms

IV. The First Half of the Koryŏ Period (918 —1170)

  1. Forging a Centralized Government
  2. Ruling Structure
  3. Economic and Social Structure
  4. Foreign Relations in the Early Koryŏ Period
  5. Development of Aristocratic Culture

V. The Second Half of the Koryŏ Period (1170 – 1392)

  1. Disturbing Koryŏ Society
  2. Koryŏ and the Mongols
  3. The Downfall of Koryŏ

VI. The First Half of the Chosŏn Period (1392 – 1650)

  1. Establishment of a New Order
  2. Reorganization of the Ruling Structure
  3. Social Structure and Economic Life
  4. Territorial Expansion and Foreign Relations
  5. Culture in Early Chosŏn
  6. The Growth of the Neo-Confucian Literati
  7. The Struggle with the Japanese and Manchus

VII. The Second Half of the Chosŏn Period (1650 – 1910)

  1. The Revival of the Dynasty
  2. The Rehabilitation of Culture
  3. The Dynasty in Disturbance
  4. Culture in the 19th Century
  5. Politics of the Taewŏn’gun
  6. The Open Door Policy and the Reform Movement
  7. The Tonghak Peasant War and the Kabo Reform
  8. Japanese Aggression and the Downfall of Chosŏn

VIII. The Period of Japanese Colonial Rule (1910 – 1945)

  1. Government by Bayonet and the March First Movement
  2. Japan’s Shift to the “Cultural Policy” and Korean Nationalism
  3. Japan’s Tightening Grip on Korea and Korean Nationalism
  4. Japan’s Historical Distortions
  5. Wartime Policy of the Allied Powers on Korea

IX. Liberation, Division, and War (1945 – 1953)

  1. From Occupation to a Separate Government in South Korea
  2. Economic and Social Problems in South Korea
  3. North Korea after Liberation
  4. The Two Koreas before the Korean War
  5. The Korean War

X. The Period of Postwar Reconstruction (1953 – 1971)

  1. The Establishment of Authoritarian Rule in South Korea
  2. South Korean Economy and Society
  3. South Korea’s Relations with the United States and Japan
  4. The Rise of the Juche (Chuch’e) State in North Korea
  5. The North Korean Economy
  6. North Korea’s Foreign Relations

XI. Reversal of Fortune (1972 – 1992)

  1. From Autocratic Rule to Democracy in South Korea
  2. The Prospering South Korean Economy
  3. Militaristic South Korean Society
  4. South Korea’s Foreign Relations
  5. The Totalitarian State in North Korea
  6. The North Korean Economy
  7. North Korea’s Foreign Relations
  8. North-South Korean Relations

XII. Both Koreas in a New Phase (1993 – the Present)

  1. South Korean Democracy in Full Bloom
  2. South Korean Economy and Society
  3. The Faltering Juche State in North Korea
  4. North Korea’s WMD Program
  5. North-South Korean Relations
  6. Shaking the ROK-U.S. Alliance
  7. South Korea’s Relations with Neighboring Countries
  8. The Prospects for Reunification

Timeline of Korean History

Entry on here.

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