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Publisher's Summary

South Korea's amazing rise from the ashes: The inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon

Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just 50 years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a second Asian miracle. 

Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In Korea: The Impossible Country, Tudor examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea, the myths about doing business in Korea, the Koreans' renowned hard-partying ethos, and why the infatuation with learning English is now causing massive social problems. 

South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and complete democratization. The question now is, will it become as some see Japan, a prosperous yet aging society, devoid of energy and momentum? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change - as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold - enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the world's leading nations regarding human culture, democracy, and wealth?

©2012 Daniel Tudor (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Korea

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Amazing book

I learned a lot and am thoroughly impressed by the Korean people as they are depicted in this book. I found the content to be very inspiring and the things I have learned make me desire to participate and be involved in this society. I wish more content of this type was available in English, I am studying Korean and am sometimes feeling demotivated by the challenge, but this book really drove home that there's an amazing culture to discover on the other side of that gap, and that there's a great need for foreigners such as myself to participate in it. Thank you, Mr. Tudor, for taking the time to write this work.

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Great to have this on audio

Daniel Tudor's popular intro to modern South Korean culture is one of the required reads about this amazing country.

It was published in 2012, so a good chunk is already in need of an update, considering how fast Korea changes.

The narration was a good honest effort. I don't expect non-Korean speakers to get Korean pronunciations right all the time, but I think the narrator could have benefited from some Korean coaching. After a while, the pronunciation flailing gets distracting. At some parts, especially in the Korean Wave bit with a deluge of Korean names and titles, he sounds almost spiteful of the Korean words.

Good voice, but I think he was way outside his comfort zone.

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Does not tell the whole story

I did not finish this book, as instead of an impartial look at the history of Korea. This books tends to favor communist/socialist thoughts and ideals. This includes how the author looks at the shamanic beliefs of Koreans as well as the lack of complete truth about the dictatorship of North Korea. Making instead the help from the US as more controlling than that of China with North Korea. There are better books which cover this topic that are neutral in presentation. For me this book was a waste of money.

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Concise Korean History

Loved the book. The narration was okay, although the narrator mispronounced a few of the Korean words. That being said, it’s a lovely book for anyone looking for a brief history of Korea, its culture, and people. Well worth it.

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a good summary of South Korean

a good summary of South Korean history after the War. and so much has changed.

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Amazing and insightful

I wish this guy would write books about every country on Earth. I'll read them.

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An Insightful book

having been to Korea I can attest to the insight of the offer and I feel that this book has enhanced my knowledge of that particular country

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Korea is amazing and complex!

This book is perfectly narrated, especially the traditional names of cities, events and cultural references! I feel like this is a perfect blend of all aspects and helps us see the positives as well as the negatives! In addition, I am very impressed by the cunning and strength of South Korea in bouncing back from almost nothing and becoming a wonder of the world! I encourage anyone that loves Korean culture to listen to this book to see the bright side and the gritty side of South Korea!

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  • DG
  • 06-04-22

A good work, with a few caveats

The author knows Korea well, and presents a good overview of its society and culture. Here are the caveats
1. The author is constantly talking about how he would improve Korea, if he had the chance. That is, he is always telling us what needs to be done to fix what is wrong with Korea, based on his own values.
2. Discussing culture, he takes on the role of movie and music critic, telling us which Korean works are worth while and which are not. One may or may not agree with his opinions.
3. The book is already somewhat dated. It could stand a revision.
4. Perhaps because the author is British, they chose a British narrator. His narration is not bad, but it is very slow, and that gets tedious. Also, he often pronounces Korean words poorly.

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Comprehensive book on South Korea.

Book on all aspects of South Korea, history, culture, religion and the economy with some North Korea information but not as comprehensive.

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  • without recourse
  • 07-31-19

Amazing and deep

excellent read. Great for cross culturalists. A real insight into the very specific challenges of this little understood nation.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-30-22

Great

I listened to this book before a trip to Korea. It’s easy to listen to and gives a great overview of recent Korean history and culture.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-29-20

Excellent book on Korea

This book is an excellent look at contemporary Korea, covering many of the most important aspects a foreigner visiting the country would likely need to better understand it.
My only complaint is the poor pronunciation of Korean words and names by the narrator. For those of us who speak Korean, it was a bit hard on the ears and I imagine for those who don't it might lead to confusion when discussing any of this with Koreans. Besides that minor complaint, the book and reading were top notch.

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