October 23, 2021

Book review: ‘North Korea and the Geopolitics of Development’

New economic history provides excellent account of post-1990 period but is light on analysis of Eastern Bloc influence

Kevin Gray and Jong-woon Lee’s new book “North Korea and the Geopolitics of Development” offers a fresh perspective on Pyongyang’s current predicament. Rather than focus on the country’s domestic situation in isolation, they seek to analyze the geopolitical “developmental nexus” that gave rise to its persistent underdevelopment.

The book is a short economic history of North Korea from the end of the Korean War (1950-1953) to the present day. While it is not without flaws, the authors’ new analytical techniques and fresh sources make for recommended reading for those interested in North Korean economic history.