The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future

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9780061998515: The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future

Much discussed and often maligned, precious little is known or understood about North Korea, the world's most controversial and isolated country. In "The Impossible State" Victor Cha pulls back the curtain, providing an unprecedented insight into North Korea's history, the rise of the Kim family dynasty, and the obsessive personality cult that surrounds them. He illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human-rights abuses, its belligerent relationship with its neighbours and the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues - from the seemingly endless war with its southern counterpart to its terrifying nuclear ambitions - all in the light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's recent death. How has this enigmatic nation-state continued to survive when it regularly violates its own citizens' inalienable rights and has suffered severe famine, global economic sanctions, a collapsed economy, and near-total isolation from the rest of the world? Cha reveals a land facing a pivotal and disquieting transition of power from tyrannical father to inexperienced son, and delves into the ideology that leads an oppressed, starving populace to cling so fiercely to its failed leadership. With rare personal anecdotes from the author's time in Pyongyang and his tenure as a White House adviser, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible account offers much-needed answers to the most pressing questions about North Korea and ultimately warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think - a political collapse for which the Western world may be woefully unprepared.

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Product Description:

‘We killed Americans.

We are killing Americans.

We will kill Americans.’

North Korean schoolchildren conjugating verbs

In North Korea, citizens found humming South Korean pop songs risk being sent to a gulag for six months of hard labour. Jail sentences are handed out if portraits of the late Kim Jong-il are not properly dusted. Shoot-to-kill orders are in effect for anyone caught trying to cross the Yalu or Tumen Rivers into China.

Yet despite this, an oppressed, starving populace clings fiercely to its new Dear Leader, Kim Jong-un, and signs with the revolutionary slogan WE HAVE NOTHING TO ENVY line the streets of Pyongyang.

So how did North Korea become this Impossible State? What does the future hold for a regime with terrifying nuclear ambitions and a seemingly endless war with its southern counterpart? Former White House adviser Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on the world’s most isolated country to provide an unprecedented and timely insight into North Korea’s history, present and future.

Review:

"Engrossing... It offers perhaps the best recent one-volume account of North Korea’s history, economics and foreign relations" ( The Economist)

"[This] excellent, comprehensive book explains as much as it is possible to explain the nature of this ‘impossible state’, how it has developed under the Kim dynasty and why it endures as a major thorn in the side of the global community" (Jonathan Fenby The Times)

"This scrupulously researched account provides an alarming insight into how a long-running nightmare for North Koreans could soon become a geopolitical crisis for the rest of us" (Stephen Robinson Sunday Times)

"He uses his first-hand and often surreal experiences of dealing with North Korean officialdom to telling effect in the book. But Cha is also a scholar of Korean and Asian affairs, so can take a historical view of the North Korean problem and set it in its wider international context… [An] impressive analysis" (Richard Cockett Literary Review)

"Provocative, frightening, and never more relevant than today as an untested new leader takes charge of the world’s most unpredictable nuclear power" (Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent)

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on provocative, isolationist North Korea, providing our best look yet at its history and the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. Cha illuminates the repressive regime s complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime s major security issues--from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions--all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il s death and the transition of power to his unpredictable heir.Ultimately, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think--a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780061998515

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on provocative, isolationist North Korea, providing our best look yet at its history and the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. Cha illuminates the repressive regime s complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime s major security issues--from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions--all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il s death and the transition of power to his unpredictable heir.Ultimately, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think--a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780061998515

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