From the publisher’s website:
Donald Clark does a masterful job of situating the entire sweep of Korean history in its global context thus belying the shop worn stereotype of Korea as a hermit nation. Clark uses his mastery of both medieval and modern history to vividly describe the often ignored contributions of this fascinating society to East Asian civilization writ large. His concise chapter arrangement and lively narrative writing pulls the reader into the Korean story while showing just how relevant that story is, particularly in modern times, for an American readership. Clark has condensed without sacrificing important detail, and he emphasizes important themes from Korea’s past that have combined with the turbulent 20th century to produce the complex strategic and economic situation at the beginning of the 21st century on the peninsula. Particularly trenchant are his chapters on the division of Korea as well as a thoughtful treatment of North Korea which is too often ignored in other texts. This book will make an excellent companion volume in East Asia survey courses, and other courses on East Asia. After all, as Prof. Clark points out again and again, understanding Korea remains vital to a true appreciation of East Asia’s past and present.
DONALD CLARK is part of a three-generation Presbyterian missionary family whose members spent a combined total of 216 years in Korea between 1902 and 1973. His own childhood in Seoul planted interests that turned into a career in Korean Studies, starting with Peace Corps service in the 1960s. This was followed by graduate degrees at Harvard University in the 1970s and thirty-three years teaching about Asia in the liberal arts environment of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he is now Murchison Professor of History. At Trinity, Professor Clark also co-chairs the East Asian Studies at Trinity (“EAST”) Program and anchors the university’s participation in the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), funded by the Freeman Foundation.