Michael J. Seth – A Brief History of Korea


Korea was one of the last countries in Asia to be visited by Westerners, and its borders have remained largely unchanged since it was unified in the seventh century. Though it is one of the world’s oldest and most ethnically homogeneous states, Korea was not born in a vacuum. Geographically isolated, the country was heavily influenced by powerful China and was often used as a bridge to the mainland by Japan.

Calling themselves as “a shrimp among whales”, Koreans borrowed elements of government, culture, and religion, all the while fiercely fighting to maintain independence from powerful neighbors. This fascinating book tells the story of Korean domestic dynasties, empires, and states, as well as foreign conquest, occupation, and division. Today, the two Koreas are starkly different – North Korea a nation closed to the world and South Korea an economic powerhouse and center of Asian democracy.

Chronicling significant events right up through 2018’s Singapore Summit, author Michael J. Seth presents a relevant, interesting, and important history of Korea within a larger global context. Korea’s history is a turbulent one, but ultimately the story of a resistant and resourceful people in search of lasting peace.

Author: Michael J. Seth
Narrator: Sean Runnette
Duration: 9 hours 36 minutes
Released: 19 Dec 2011
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

re-evaluation overjoyed

I found that the historical context was very interesting but I had a problem with the overall balance of it. As it seems to only support the beliefs of the author and not a explanation of the nation and peoples of Korea. So was lacking in some things, most importantly spiritual beliefs were passed over with brief mentions. Also political figures were villianized unless the author agree about the policies they had. So if you wanted a more historical account that is neutral this will not be a good choice.
The book seems to support the leftist progressive ideals that are found within the United States and other Westernized nations. And gives no regards to the actual culture of Asian culture or most importantly that of Korean culture. Saying that things which are considered important to Koreans are not as open minded as they should be. Focusing a lot on feminism and the thoughts shared with this political thought pattern. I was hoping for more knowledge of the Korean culture.