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Korea

The Impossible Country
Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 13 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, World Affairs
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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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

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    5 out of 5 stars

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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  • Antoine
  • 14-12-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 30-06-19

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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  • Dimitri
  • 06-05-19

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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  • Bradley
  • 20-03-19

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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  • Joe
  • 13-12-18

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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  • Justin Brown
  • 09-10-18

Amazing and insightful

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