The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History (Revised, Updated)

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Product Details

Basic Books
Publish Date
5.9 X 9.1 X 1.5 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Don Oberdorfer wrote for the Washington Post for twenty-five years, and was later on the Chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He died in 2015.

Robert Carlin is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and former chief of the Northeast Asia Division in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State. He lives in Washington, D.C.


"[A] lucid, balanced, thoroughly credible account of the last 25 years on both sides of the armistice line."--New York Times Book Review
"Riveting.... The Two Koreas majestically fulfills Oberdorfer's goal of drawing attention to the role outside powers have played in the two Koreas' history."
--Washington Post
"[A] gripping narrative.... The Two Koreas is a masterful analysis of one of the enduring Achilles' heels of US foreign policy."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"[Oberdorfer's] gripping narrative should chasten our leaders and inform our citizenry about the continuing perils and costs of America's involvement with Korea...Oberdorfer is often definitive on that subject, deploying information that even specialists do not know."--Bruce Cumings, Los Angeles Times
"A comprehensive and informative...account of postwar Korean history, from the Korean War to the rise of democracy in the South to the nuclear-weapons crisis in the North."--The Globe and Mail
"Engrossing, informative, wise. A rare achievement, the best account yet of a tragically divided country."
--Ezra Vogel, Director, Asia Center, Harvard University
"This truly important work will, without question, become the standard against which other books on modern Korea will be judged."
--Donald P. Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea
"Oberdorfer is one of America's keenest analysts of the international scene."
--James A. Baker III, former U.S. Secretary of State
"Combining the depth and authority of a first-rate textbook with the readability of a good novel, [The Two Koreas] has proven to be a wonderful teaching tool for instructors and students alike."
--Carter J. Eckert, Professor of Korean History, Harvard University
"A most timely book to understand what could happen if North Korea implodes or attacks South Korea."
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"What emerges from The Two Koreas is a portrait of precisely why the peninsula is so volatile: two rivals competing for national legitimacy in a culture where compromise is tantamount to defeat.... Oberdorfer refrains from punditry and predictions, letting his powerful material tell the story."
--Boston Globe