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Last December, the chubby and blubbering soon-to-be leader of the hermit kingdom seemed too inexperienced and unqualified to ever consolidate his rule. Today, Kim Jong Un is riding high, having become the first Korean to launch a domestically designed satellite into orbit on the back of a domestically designed rocket. North Korean society, though, is changing all around him, and lobbing missiles might not be enough to keep him in power.
This is a meaty, fast-paced portrait of North Korean society, economy, politics, and foreign policy by an expert who has studied the regime as a scholar and interacted with its officials while serving on the National Security Council under U.S. President George W. Bush.