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Ryu Sŏngnyong, Chancellor of Chosŏn Korea

This biography of Ryu Sŏngnyong presents a new view of his childhood and education, his career as a government official, and his scholarship during retirement. The narrative includes descriptions of the Imjin War between Hideyoshi’s Japan and Chosŏn Korea, and their negotiations with imperial China.

With the Japanese invasion of Chosŏn, King Sŏnjo’s court was thrown into panic and disarray. Ryu Sŏngnyong alone stood out, negotiating with Ming China for military aid and leading the Korean people through the crisis. Sŏnjo was the king, but Sŏngnyong was the leader. His mission could be described thus: “Though horses are lost, the stable must be repaired.” Ryu’s last battle was to put the war on record so that its bitter memory could survive. His agonizingly detailed records and admonitions for posterity were no less fierce and stirring than Yi Sunsin’s last battle at the Noryang strait. Yi’s tragic death made his star shine bright, but Ryu had to choose a different path to recognition than that of a warrior. His sacrifice was to persevere until he could finish recording his history.

Choi Byonghyon: A professor of English and American literature for more than twenty years, Choi is also a prolific novelist and poet.

Source: publisher’s website

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