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A History of Korea (Palgrave Essential Histories)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
A concise, lively history of Korea,which exploresthe richness of Korean civilizationfrom the ancient era through to the jarring transformation that resulted in two distinctive trajectories through the modern world.Chapters flow both chronologically and thematically, covering themes such as identity, gender and family.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 15th 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published October 6th 2010)
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Rebecca Radnor
Sep 27, 2013 Rebecca Radnor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Korean History
Quite readable, although a bit rushed and broad brushed, so that I found myself having to backup and re-read chapters a few times in order to wrap my brain around it (I'm not good at just remembering facts, I need to be able to identify underlying patters or currents to see how those facts fit a story or pattern -- which made this lack of detail a bit frustrating for me).

The author starts out saying he assumes you have no background in Korean history, but then because of the broad strokes I got
May 09, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Do you even know how long it took me to find a book about the history of Korea that didn't spend 3/4ths of the time talking about America and the Korean War? Oh America, we do like to talk about ourselves....

This book, however, was GREAT! It went into the whole history of Korea, into things I knew absolutely nothing about, like the Three Kingdoms period, the Unified Silla period (I just love that name--Silla--what a great name for a country), the Japanese occupation period, the second half of th
Frank Theising
Aug 01, 2015 Frank Theising rated it liked it
This is a good introduction to the history of Korea. I’ve read a good deal about the Korean War but was largely ignorant of anything that happened before or after. This book provides a very good overview of most of the significant events and turning points in Korea’s history including the warring kingdoms of ancient Korea, the unification (conquest) of the peninsula into a single kingdom, the constant invasions and occupation by the Chinese, Mongols, and Japanese, the significance of ...more
May 02, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it
Kyung Moon Hwang makes the history of Korea accessible to a foreign (Western) audience without having that condescending tone, which plagues most other "accessible" history books about non-Western countries. That being said, one of the faults with the book is the almost jingoistic pride about Korean history...which makes one suspicious about what facts he is leaving out. The book is divided into themes, so there is a lot of jumping around times; however, since he stays on one theme at a time ...more
Billie Pritchett
Jun 29, 2016 Billie Pritchett rated it it was amazing
Kyung Moon Hwang's History of Korea is subtitled "An Episodic Narrative." Each chapter focuses on a particular epoch, and each epoch is presented with a crucial event that occurred during that time. Then the author builds context around that event. Some readers might find the book a bit brief in terms of its exploration of each period of time. Such a reaction would be understandable because this is more of a Whitman's sampler of Korean history than anything else. Whatever the case, this book wou ...more
Theo Howe
Sep 20, 2015 Theo Howe rated it really liked it
A similar fare to the 'Japan to 1600' book I read. However this is a far more readable tome: very short chapters, doesn't get too bogged down in details of agriculture and tithing, focuses on key historical events. I am a beginner to Korean history (unlike Japanese history which I knew enough about for the book below to be accessible) and I am pleased that this book acted as an introduction for me. No doubt there will be more comprehensive histories but Hwang covers the bases, also throwing in ...more
John Treat
Aug 17, 2013 John Treat rated it really liked it
The best history of Korea out there for beginning and intermediate students of Korea, such as myself. I especially appreciate Hwang's insights into how contemporary historians have reworked their interpretations as politics have changed. My only complaint is that the single map of present-day Korea(s) should be accompanied with at least several historical maps as well.
Sep 05, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: korea
An excellent brief history of Korea which covers political, military, social and cultural aspects of Korean history, as well as exploring how some of the events are construed or interpreted differently by modern-day North and South Korean nations.
Hope McChesney
May 10, 2015 Hope McChesney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great historical overview.

A well written, approachable and balanced review of Korean history. I read this on a recent trip to South Korea and found it the perfect nerdy travel companion.
Apr 27, 2013 Rana rated it it was amazing
i only read a few chapters i needed for class, but it was good and infinitely better than the rest of the Korean history books i perused
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Other Books in the Series

Palgrave Essential Histories (1 - 10 of 26 books)
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