The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History

In This Review

The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History

By Don Oberdorfer
Addison-Wesley, 1997
480 pp. $30.00
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Oberdorfer's book about the last 25 years of modern Korean history is likely to stand as the most coherent, well-documented, and insightful book on contemporary Korea now available. The author was the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post in Northeast Asia for much of the period he writes about, and has made judicious use of government documents and conducted more than 400 interviews with former U.S., Japanese, and South Korean government officials. He sheds light on all the turning points in recent Korean history, including the assassination of President Park Chung Hee, Jimmy Carter's disastrous decision to withdraw U.S. ground troops from South Korea, and the U.S.-North Korean confrontation over North Korea's nuclear programs that almost led the two countries into war in 1994.