First published in Korean in 2016, Inside North Korea’s Theocracy offers a fascinating and rare look at the lives of several of the regime’s key leaders. Its primary focus is Jang Song-thaek, a talented and reform-minded member of the political ruling class who was executed in 2013. Jang was the son-in-law of North Korean founder, Kim Il-sung; brother-in-law of its second leader, Kim Jong-il; and uncle to its current leader, Kim Jong-un. The author traces Jang’s life from his youth as a brilliant student in Pyongyang to his eventual marriage to Kim Kyong-hui and his rising power as a businessman to, ultimately, his untimely death. In addition to biographical sketches of Jang, his wife, and brother-in-law, Ra Jong-yil provides first-hand impressions of life in North Korea and illuminates the inner workings of its government.
Ra Jong-yil is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Gachon University and Chair Professor at National Defense University of Republic of Korea. A former deputy head of the South Korean intelligence service, Ra spent several years engaged in shuttle diplomacy between North and South Korea—a kind of work that is ongoing but never reported in the media. He met many of the individuals he discusses in the book, including Mr. Jang, and also obtained anonymous testimony from senior sources in China and North Korea itself.
Source: publisher’s website