Review: Na Man’gap – the Diary of 1636

Na Man’gap’s Diary of 1636, as George Kallander explains in his informative introduction, is the longest known private account of the second Manchu invasion of Korea. Na (1592 – 1642) was a senior scholar-official who was with the King and court inside Namhansanseong – he was in charge of military rations – throughout the siege […]

Book review: Christopher Lovins on King Chŏngjo

Thus far this year I’ve been focusing on literature in translation. As I wait for the next major wave of publications to hit the shops, I’ve turned my attention to non-fiction. And the first title I reached for was Christopher Lovins’s King Chŏngjo: An Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea, which came out in paperback […]

Whose Comfort? – book launch at the KCC

Friday 21 February 2020, 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm Korean Cultural Centre UK | Grand Buildings | 1-3 Strand | London WC2N 5B Admission free | Register via Google Docs Join World Scientific Publishing at the Korean Cultural Centre UK to celebrate the launch of Whose Comfort? The issue of sexual violence against civilian ‘comfort […]

Brief review: Samuel Hawley — The Imjin War

Samuel Hawley: The Imjin War – Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China 2nd Edition, Conquistador Press 2014 Originally published by Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch, Seoul, 2005 How is it that a 664 page book only merits a brief review? Well, because as an historical book a proper review should only […]

New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2019

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 […]

Book review: Blaine Harden – King of Spies

Blaine Harden: King of Spies – The dark reign of America’s spymaster in Korea Mantle, 2018, 272 pp The character of the maverick cop, or even maverick spy, delivering outstanding results through unorthodox means and despite a disregard for hierarchy, is a familiar one in crime and spy fiction. Blaine Harden, who worked with Shin […]

New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2018

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 […]

Book review: Land of Scholars (Kang Jae-eun)

The Land of Scholars: Two Thousand Years of Korean Confucianism by Kang Jae-eun (translated from Japanese to Korean by Ha Woo-bong, then from Korean into English by Suzanne Lee) Homa & Sekey Books 2006; original Japanese version published in 2003. 515 pp Students of Korean history, and particularly of the Joseon dynasty, will inevitably at […]