Although the Korean peninsula remains by far the most unstable part of east Asia, the number of books on Korea in English remains tiny compared to those on other troubling geopolitical areas. With only a small number of universities offering Korean-language courses, little tourism, minimal cultural contact and few newspaper reports about the peninsula (except when North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as it is officially known, test-fires a nuke), both the Koreas can appear opaque and extremely distant even to the well informed. Sheila Miyoshi Jager’s account of the Korean War and its aftermath is timely, especially given the renewed tensions and concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, the death of Kim Jong-il and the elevation of his son Kim Jong-un to the summit of the DPRK’s Red Monarchy. Additionally, this year is the
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