Earl Grey Tea's Reviews > Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience, 1900-1950

Living Dangerously in Korea by Donald N. Clark
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's review
Jan 09, 2012

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bookshelves: history, religious-studies, korea, non-fiction
Read from January 09 to 22, 2012

Suggestion for an alternative title: Living Dangerously in Korea as a Missionary (and a few other stories not directly related to Christianity).

The title of this book caught my attention when I purchased it from a used bookstore. I was hoping to learn a lot about my host country of South Korea and I learned much more than I expected.

From the title of the book I didn't expect that so much of the book would be centered around the lives of Christian missionaries in Korea. After getting through a couple of chapters and realizing that I would be reading a lot about missionaries, I finally pieced it together and realized the author was the same Donald N. Clark who is apart of the Christian missionary family 'dynasty' that has lived in Korea for a long time.

There is no doubt that Christian missionaries played a giant role in the development in modern Korea. This book covers a lot of key aspects of this and gave me plenty of insight in how Korean and Western relations developed. I do feel that at times information concerning the missionaries went too deep. I wasn't really all that interested in their summer homes on the west coast.

The parts that were about the "White Russians" (those who supported the Czar, not a white power group) that were living in Korea was quite fascinating to me. Maybe it is because I am drawn to this sort of information, or maybe it is because it was refreshing in a book almost completely about missionaries.

The most eyeopening chapter of the book was about the American military occupation of Korea after the surrender of Japan. I am now able to better understand the world that my grandfather lived in when he was stationed here in 1948. In my opinion, while the Christian missionaries help set the foundation for modern Korea and its relations with this West, these five key years after WWII seemed to be some of the most pivotal years in contemporary Korean history. I would love to read a book that dived much deeper into this subject.

Overall, I am extremely glad that I read this book. At times the book could be a bit slow and boring, but many times I was amazed by what I was learning and kept burning through the pages. I would definitely read another book by Donald N. Clark, though I will read the summary first before I dive into it.
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01/10/2012 page 19
05/15/2016 marked as: read
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