Books on Politics and Current Affairs

Unlike my list that attempts to compile upcoming literature and fiction titles, here I’ve had to be selective in what to include, otherwise the length of this post would be unmanageable. Nevertheless I’ve almost certainly missed out some titles that I’d want to have on my bookshelf. I’ve divided the list into seven sections: Literature […]


New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2018

by Philip Gowman 27 January 2018
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Too many books, not enough time to read them, or space to store them. Encouragingly, in a skim of the upcoming publication lists I had no problems finding plenty of books on a wide range of interesting topics. No longer it seems is the reading public (or the publishers’ perception thereof) solely interested in that […]

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BKS hosts an interview with Michael Breen

by Events Editor 28 May 2017
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We enjoyed Mike Breen’s first book – The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies – and are currently enjoying this completely new and updated version. It’s full of fascinating detail as well as giving you the big picture. We were hoping to have written a review by now, but events […]

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Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2016
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This book by David Straub, head of the political section in the US Embassy in Seoul 1999-2002, has just gone onto my wishlist. Reviews by Aidan Foster Carter in the Korea JoongAng Daily and by Bradley K Martin in Asia Times. Available from Published by Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and distributed by the […]

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Michael Breen: The Koreans

by Philip Gowman 30 December 2009
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Michael Breen: The Koreans – Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies Thomas Dunne Books, 1998 & 2004 With a commendable dose of filial piety appropriate to the subject of his book, Michael Breen dedicates his work to “Mum and Dad”. Having lived in Korea on and off since 1982, maybe some […]

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Korea Yearbook 2008

by Philip Gowman 14 March 2009
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Korea Yearbook 2008 Eds Rüdiger Frank, James E Hoare, Patrick Köllner, Susan Pares Brill, 2009 The 2008 Korea Yearbook – Politics, Economy and Society does many of the things that a reader might expect: it contains a collection of papers which review the key developments in its chosen subject areas for the past year. At […]

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Mythology in the making

by Philip Gowman 12 May 2008
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Lee Myung Bak: Korea’s CEO President Seoul Selection, 2008 When their country has pulled itself up from the devastation of war in the space of fifty years, and a man has risen from poverty to the highest office in the same period, Koreans have every right to feel proud of themselves and their country. That […]

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Mark Clifford: Troubled Tiger

by Philip Gowman 5 July 2006
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(M.E. Sharpe, 1998) Chronicles the modern history of Korea from the 1960s to the mid-90s, focusing on the drive for economic growth and the control exerted by the Blue House over the direction of the economy. Clifford gives us a politically balanced view, emphasising the successes of Park Chung-hee, but not shrinking from laying bare […]

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