September 25, 2023

Book review: A chronicle of Korea, from a mythological god-king to Kim Jong Un

‘Korea: A New History of South and North’ packs 4,000 years into an insightful overview but oversimplifies DPRK issues

In “Korea: A New History of South and North,” the prominent academics Victor Cha and Ramon Pacheco Pardo paint in broad brushstrokes a panorama of history that stretches from the mythical god-king Tangun’s founding of Korea over 4,000 years ago to the divided peninsula of the present day. 

While citing scholarly research, the authors also seek to appeal to a broader audience by peppering the text with references to Korean pop culture from south of the Demilitarized Zone — from girl band Blackpink and the fashionable shopping district of Gangnam to the 2020 Academy Award-winning film “Parasite.”