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The Park Chung Hee Era: The Transformation of South Korea

From the publisher’s website:

In 1961 South Korea was mired in poverty. By 1979 it had a powerful industrial economy and a vibrant civil society in the making, which would lead to a democratic breakthrough eight years later. The transformation took place during the years of Park Chung Hee’s presidency. Park seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled as a virtual dictator until his assassination in October 1979. He is credited with modernizing South Korea, but at a huge political and social cost.

South Korea’s political landscape under Park defies easy categorization. The state was predatory yet technocratic, reform-minded yet quick to crack down on dissidents in the name of political order. The nation was balanced uneasily between opposition forces calling for democratic reforms and the Park government’s obsession with economic growth. The chaebol (a powerful conglomerate of multinationals based in South Korea) received massive government support to pioneer new growth industries, even as a nationwide campaign of economic shock therapy—interest hikes, devaluation, and wage cuts—met strong public resistance and caused considerable hardship.

This landmark volume examines South Korea’s era of development as a study in the complex politics of modernization. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources in both English and Korean, these essays recover and contextualize many of the ambiguities in South Korea’s trajectory from poverty to a sustainable high rate of economic growth.

Byung-Kook Kim is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Korea University.

Ezra F. Vogel is the author of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize, and of the international bestseller Japan as Number One. He was Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Case for Political History [Byung-Kook Kim]

Part One: Born in a Crisis

  1. The May Sixteenth Military Coup [Yong-Sup Han]
  2. Taming and Tamed by the United States [Taehyun Kim and Chang Jae Baik]
  3. State Building: The Military Junta’s Path to Modernity through Administrative Reforms [Hyung-A Kim]

Part Two: Politics

  1. Modernization Strategy: Ideas and Influences [Chung-in Moon and Byung-joon Jun]
  2. The Labyrinth of Solitude: Park and the Exercise of Presidential Power [Byung-Kook Kim]
  3. The Armed Forces [Joo-Hong Kim]
  4. The Leviathan: Economic Bureaucracy under Park [Byung-Kook Kim]
  5. The Origins of the Yushin Regime: Machiavelli Unveiled [Hyug Baeg Im]

Part Three: Economy and Society

  1. The Chaebol [Eun Mee Kim and Gil-Sung Park]
  2. The Automobile Industry [Nae-Young Lee]
  3. Pohang Iron & Steel Company [Sang-young Rhyu and Seok-jin Lew]
  4. The Countryside [Young Jo Lee]
  5. The Chaeya [Myung-Lim Park]

Part Four: International Relations

  1. The Vietnam War: South Korea’s Search for National Security [Min Yong Lee]
  2. Normalization of Relations with Japan: Toward a New Partnership [Jung-Hoon Lee]
  3. The Security, Political, and Human Rights Conundrum, 1974–1979 [Yong-Jick Kim]
  4. The Search for Deterrence: Park’s Nuclear Option [Sung Gul Hong]

Part Five: Comparative Perspective

  1. Nation Rebuilders: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Lee Kuan Yew, Deng Xiaoping, and Park Chung Hee [Ezra F. Vogel]
  2. Reflections on a Reverse Image: South Korea under Park Chung Hee and the Philippines under Ferdinand Marcos [Paul D. Hutchcroft]
  3. The Perfect Dictatorship? South Korea versus Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico [Jorge I. Domínguez]
  4. Industrial Policy in Key Developmental Sectors: South Korea versus Japan and Taiwan [Gregory W. Noble]

Conclusion: The Post-Park Era [Byung-Kook Kim]

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

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