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The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University)

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9780801489143: The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University)
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North Korea, despite a shattered economy and a populace suffering from widespread hunger, has outlived repeated forecasts of its imminent demise. Charles K. Armstrong contends that a major source of North Korea's strength and resiliency, as well as of its flaws and shortcomings, lies in the poorly understood origins of its system of government. He examines the genesis of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) both as an important yet rarely studied example of a communist state and as part of modern Korean history.

North Korea is one of the last redoubts of "unreformed" Marxism-Leninism in the world. Yet it is not a Soviet satellite in the East European manner, nor is its government the result of a local revolution, as in Cuba and Vietnam. Instead, the DPRK represents a unique "indigenization" of Soviet Stalinism, Armstrong finds. The system that formed under the umbrella of the Soviet occupation quickly developed into a nationalist regime as programs initiated from above merged with distinctive local conditions.

Armstrong's account is based on long-classified documents captured by U.S. forces during the Korean War. This enormous archive of over 1.6 million pages provides unprecedented insight into the making of the Pyongyang regime and fuels the author's argument that the North Korean state is likely to remain viable for some years to come.

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About the Author:

Charles K. Armstrong is the Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies at Columbia University. He is the editor of Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State and coeditor of Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia.

Review:

"Armstrong has carefully gone over all of the newly available documents on the founding of the North Korean regime to ask why Pyongyang, in spite of the appalling suffering of its people, remains one of the last holdouts of 'unreformed' Marxism-Leninism."

(Foreign Affairs)

"Charles K. Armstrong's The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 is a pioneering work.... This eye-catching book offers a wealth of factual information on the genesis of the North Korean state. It introduces a unique comprehensive perspective for the analysis of postcolonial Korean modernization, communist state formation, and creation of new imagined national and social identities and communities in the North. It is a new classic in Korean studies and a must-read for all aspiring students of Korean history and Korean affairs."

(Alexandre Y. Mansourov Journal of Asian Studies)

"Charles K. Armstrong takes advantage of new archival materials to rethink the history and character of North Korea. In considering the critical years of North Korea's development prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, Armstrong's The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950, delivers some surprising, heterodox conclusions."

(John Feffer Korean Quarterly)

"This book provides a wealth of factual information and historical background that increases the reader's understanding of North Korea's communist history and present idiosyncrasies."

(Jeffrey J. Kuebler Military Review)

"In a world where the kind of Marxist-inspired, state-directed development embodied by Soviet Russia has long since been discredited as ineffective, the North Korean economy and state management continue to resist the forces of the North Korean people. Armstrong wants to explain this rather counterintuitive longevity of a state whose like can be found nowhere else in the world except in Cuba.... This work will be indispensable for anyone hoping to understand the postwar history of Korea and East Asia."

(Choice)

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9780801440144: The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University)

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