The Koreans

The Koreans

3.55 (273 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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an authoritative introduction to Korea, set to be the world's next economic power, and its people's ambitions and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 158 x 212 x 26mm | 480.81g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Orion Business (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0752813544
  • 9780752813547

Review Text

This book addresses the West's ignorance of Korea by providing an in-depth portrait if the country and its people. An early overview of the nature and values of the Korean people provides the background for a more detailed examination of the complex history of the country.Although Korea has a reputation on the world stage for its fierce competitiveness in the production of cars, electronics and other consumer goods, to this day relatively little is known about Korea and its people. Breen attempts to provide a thorough insight into the culture, values, economic and global ambitions of this often-overlooked medium-sized nation nested among its giant neighbours in the corner of Eastern Asia. In size, Korea (both North and South combined) is roughly equivalent in population and land area to Britain and unknowingly to many, Korea has an equally rich and colourful history. With records of civilization dating back to AD669 and beyond, Korea can claim to be one of the world's oldest nations. Her first notable technical triumphs were the pioneering work in printing and ceramics, which had a civilizing impact on Japan. But traumatic events over 1000 years later through the colonization by Japan and the division of the peninsula reversed Korea's fortunes and sunk Korea to new depths of poverty and backwardness. However as a commendable testament to the determined and diligent Korean national character and ambition, South Korea propelled itself to be the world's 11th largets economy, largely independent of assistance from the West. Yet as Breen discovers, Koreans themselves are complex and sometimes frustratingly difficult to understand. They are vigorious and expressive, yet bear terrible sadness and anger because of their history. In four parts, Breen gradually unravels the Koreans to 'see how they tick'. Part one describes Korean society and values, while part 2 traces the long and turbulent history, probably the most major influence on the behaviour and outlook of the Korean people today. Parts 3 and 4 are about how Koreans emerged from hopelessness, moving from paddy fields to silicon valley in one generation and the historic political shift from dictatorship to democracy. This is a fresh and crisply written, well-balanced book, a likely informed Korean counterpart to the searching bestselling analysis The English by Jeremy Paxman. This book will appeal to a wide audience from businesspeople seeking to do business in Korea, those who are associated with Koreans either by marriage or friendship or prospective visitors to the region. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

273 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 14% (39)
4 39% (106)
3 38% (104)
2 6% (16)
1 3% (8)
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