In the late 1980s, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester set out on foot to discover the Republic of Korea from its southern tip to the North Korean border in order to set the record straight about this enigmatic and elusive land.
Fascinating for its vivid presentation of historical and geographic detail, Korea is that rare book that actually defines a nati...more
I have to say I was pretty offended at t...more
A few caveats, the text was written in 1988 when South Korean's government was far more authoritarian. Thus, the contrast with the North wasn't near as striking as today. Winchester is a bit harsh at times on American imperialism (coming from a Brit, this is at times particularly rich) and seems to only encounter the most vulgar, most ignorant Americans he can find.
I also found Winch...more
The trick of detachment while remaining involved in the story is something that eluded the author at this point, but the stories in this book are of a more personal nature than the historical narratives in later volumes. Despite the fact that he doesn't fla...more
The account of this travelogue is a fascinating read for the image it paints of Korea then. It was a very, very different time, somehow as removed from present day's Korea as th...more
or at least, 350 Goodreaders have chosen to rate his book.
so... if we ignore this deliberately facetious opening, we might say that Simon Winchester is just about as well known as Alan Booth, another Englishman who refused proferred car-rides and buses to walk the length of a country. Booth traveled 4000 kilometers from north Hokkaido to...more
Winchester uses intriguing and creative prose; I most enjoyed the portraits of people and landsc...more
The miracles of t...more
The book did make me want to visit Korea. I worked for a Korean company here stateside for a short time, and I wish I had read the book before working there as it would have given me a bit more insight in how to deal with the boss. As a...more
Even though the book was first published in 1984, it has lost l...more
In spots the writing was jumpy - one minute talking about the past and the next paragraph talking about the present without a clear transition. Some people just appeared and disappear...more
I recall liking the book, as it was one my first tastes of Korea before setting foot here. It also made me feel like I knew a bit about Korea before I came. I felt familiar with places, food, history, and other cultural novelties. In short, it eased my introduction to Korea back in the 90s.
As always, thugh, I enjoyed Simon Winchester's writing.
There is a slight stereotypical white male response to a few scenarios (I get the feeling he has a bit of an Asian woman fetish) but overall a good book.