The first English-language history of Korea to appear in more than a decade, this translation offers Western readers a distillation of the latest and best scholarship on Korean history and culture from the earliest times to the student revolution of 1960. The most widely read and respected general history, A New History of Korea (Han’guksa sillon) was first published in 1961 and has undergone two major revisions and updatings.
Translated twice into Japanese and currently being translated into Chinese as well, Ki-baik Lee’s work presents a new periodization of his country’s history, based on a fresh analysis of the changing composition of the leadership elite. The book is noteworthy, too, for its full and integrated discussion of major currents in Korea’s cultural history. The translation, three years in preparation, has been done by specialists in the field.
Professor Lee’s work is exceptionally detailed and covers not only the political, social and economic history of Korea, but integrates developments in the arts, science and technology through the ages. Its wealth of material and comprehensive coverage make it an excellent textbook for the study of Korea.
Wagner must be lauded for bringing to the English reading community this comprehensive, precisely translated, well-crafted, and meticulously indexed work on Korean history, a translation that will undoubtedly remain for years as the standard overview of Korean history for both Korea specialists and nonspecialists… This project represents a marriage of revision and skillful translation with the ultimate result being the balanced and well-organized volume under review.
This is a famous book, and its translation into English has long been awaited… The present elegantly written translation provides the reader, whether expert or amateur, with a good and entertaining introduction to the richness of Korea’s historical experience.
Painstaking translation and attentive editing and indexing combine with a consistent and logical system of dividing topics to provide easy access to both the events of Korean history and Professor Lee’s thoughtful interpretation.
To praise the translation is to praise the original. The modern writing of Korean history by Koreans has been beset by difficulties: the restrictions imposed by their traditions, the near-impossibility of writing the history of one’s own nation under severe colonial rule, and the passions raised by the still-continuing political division of a homogeneous nation. To have written under these circumstances a history of Korea which can be presented, without significant emendation or apology, to Western readers is no small achievement.
- 518 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
- With Edward J. Schultz
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