Catherine's Reviews > Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader by Bradley K. Martin
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's review
Sep 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: books-that-made-me-smarter
Read from October 19 to November 09, 2010

Phew. I can't believe I finally finished this monster of a book!

It is 700+ pages of small font plus another 100+ of footnotes.
The book is written by an American journalist who has been to North Korea four times since 1979, and has lived much of that time in Asia. I chose this book (not having noted the length...) because I wanted to understand more about the Korean conflict, about the Korean war and how North Korea became so isolated. I was also interested in learning more about life under the Kims. This book delivers.

It starts with the background of the late "Great Leader" Kim Il-sung and ends in 2004 when it was unclear who would succeed Il-Sung's son Kim Jong-Il. The personality cult of Kim Il-Sung. Some of the reverence and deification was transferred to his son, Kim Jong-Il, but according to defectors, many citizens fear him more than revere him.

The parade of defector stories became, for me, a bit tiresome. I was interested in their stories... but after small snippets of interviews from about 40 of them, they all ran together. It was clear that those living under the Kim dynasty in North Korea are painstakingly isolated and live in paranoia and fear as they struggle to maintain even basic sustenance.

I am glad that I read it as I now have a working background regarding the issues North Korea faces as well as the issues the world faces with North Korea.
But also glad to be moving on to something a little lighter!

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