In this comprehensive yet compact book, Michael J. Seth surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. He explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and still little-kwn cultural heritage, showing how this ancient, culturally and ethnically homogeneous society was wrenched into the modern world, ultimately to be arbitrarily divided into two opposed halves after World War II. Tracing the six decades since, Seth explains how the two Koreas, with their deeply different political and social systems and geopolitical orientations, evolved into sharply contrasting societies. Throughout, he adds a rich dimension by placing Korean history into broader global perspective and by including primary readings from each era. All readers looking for a balanced, kwledgeable history will be richly rewarded with this clear and concise book.
Michael J. Seth is associate professor of East Asian and world history at James Madison University.