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The Great Successor

Author:
Publisher: , 2019.
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

The Great Successor is an irreverent yet insightful quest to understand the life of Kim Jong Un, one of the world’s most secretive dictators. Kim’s life is swathed in myth and propaganda, from the plainly silly–he supposedly ate so much Swiss cheese that his ankles gave way–to the grimly bloody stories of the ways his enemies and rival family members have perished at his command.

One of the most knowledgeable journalists on modern Korea, Anna Fifield has exclusive access to Kim’s aunt and uncle who posed as his parents while he was growing up in Switzerland, members of the entourage that accompanied Dennis Rodman on his quasi-ambassadorial visits with Kim, and the Japanese sushi chef whom Kim befriended and who was the first outsider to identify him as the inevitable successor to his father as supreme ruler. She has been able to create a captivating portrait of the oddest and most isolated political regime in the world, one that is broken yet able to summon a US president for peace talks, bankrupt yet in possession of nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un; ridiculous but deadly, and a man of our times.

LKL says:

Anna Fifield's book is valuable in particular for the research on Kim Jong Un's life in Switzerland, the Otto Warmbier case, the visits of basketballer Dennis Rodman and her tracking down of overseas relatives of the Kim family. Even when she is covering familiar ground (eg the emergence of the Jangmadang generation) the book is highly readable.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-1

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.