Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty
I do not think it'll be the same with North Korea, however. For out there, they have the same type of religions as the Pope. If Christians have the triumvir ...more
My primary criticism of this book is that Martin didn't stay focused on one project. He starts off with a tertiary source historical account of North Korea since World War II. That's fine, and he adopts a very objective tone, citing arguments on both sides of many unanswered questions (at least in the West) about North Korea's policies and leaders. We then shift into defectors' narratives, along the lines of Nothing to Envy: Ordi ...more
Under different circumstances, North Korea could be the subject of a Marx Brothers satire, with the elements of a pompous, ego-driven patriarch, a worshipful population, and a general aura of fantasy and illusion. But North Korea has a superbly equipped million-man army and an expanding nuclear weapons program. So this comprehensive examination of this totalitarian society and the two men who have dominated it is often terrifying. For a quarter century, Martin has covered North Korea while...more
As far as the nit-picking:
- I don't usually call for books to be shorter, but this one could have used a bit of trimming. I certainly wanted to read interviews with defectors, but there were so many of them that it started to become repetitive.
- I tend to like my big nonf ...more
Such was the case in 1994, when war threatened to break out between the U.S. and North Korea over the latter’s nuclear weapons development program (a summit meeting between former President Jimmy Carter and Kim Il-sung resulted in a deal that temporarily reduced tensions).
Such was the case in 2000, when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong-il to discuss mothbal ...more
Historical part, then some political background is backed with defectors interviews - this is a lot to digest . I am amazed by the amounts of the information packed in this book.
I admit the fact author did not want to antagonize North Korea. Readers are free to analyze the stories, take their ow ...more
Good, but QUITE lengthy
After reading this book of the history of The Kim Dynasty (aka, North Korea), my first and last thought is: I can't believe that this happened/is still happening. It seems like the events as described in any Holy Book (take your pick which one) are more probable to have occurred than these.
It's an extremely long book, and now I see why it sat on my shelf for over four years before I got a chance to sit down to read it. (Andrei Lanko ...more
The main impression that Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader gav ...more
Martin begins his book around roughly 1900 with early history of Kim Hyong-jik, the father of KIm Il-sung then proceeds with the history of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. From there, the book bounces around from defector testimony of daily life, politics, matters of economy, and daily troubles of North Koreans from peasants to the elite. The reader is bound to l ...more
The author definitely did his research, especially into the era of Kim Il-sung, and it's interesting to see the large contrasts in leadership and governance between Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. This in a sense was quite unexpected, as we tend to get the impression that the both leaders operated and acted in a similar fashion when this really wasn't the case at all. I also appreciated the fact that he made an effort to reduc ...more
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 K ...more
Journalists write books based on interviews with liars. Historians write based on unreliable archives. In the case of North Korea, it is impossible to write history and one must rely on journalism.
Writing history on communist regimes is next to impossible. All forms of media are heavily censored. Statistics are falsified. Internal discussions amongst politicians are never documented. What journalists can do is interview defec ...more
It's also a pretty long book; the author has a good voice and rarely drags his feet, but it can still get a little dry. Still, there was a lot of ...more