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Kim Jong-il: Kim Jong-il: North Korea's Dear Leader [Paperback]

Michael Breen

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Book Description

13 Jan 2012
An expert on North Korea sheds new light on the enigmatic tyrant From his goose–stepping military parades to his clownish macho swagger, North Korea′s Kim Jong–il is an odd amalgam of political cartoon and global menace. In charge of a nuclear arsenal he′s threatened to use against the U.S. and Japan, the man, his motives, and the mechanisms of his absolute control over a country of twenty–three million people remains shrouded in mystery. In this second edition of his bestselling Kim Jong–il , Michael Breen, a leading expert on North Korea, dispels common myths and fallacies about the so–called "Dear Leader," while turning a spotlight on the man to reveal his true nature and the nature of his hold over a country ravaged by poverty and famine. Looks at Kim from a broad perspective, unlike most other books that cater exclusively to those interested in policymaking and international relations Features new information about succession plans, as well as the latest scoop on the mounting pressure among world leaders to thwart North Korea′s nuclear ambitions Illustrated with rare photographs of Kim and his regime Highly accessible and suitable for anyone interested in learning more about North Korea, it′s government, and its leader, Kim Jong–il unravels the mysteries, the myths, and the fallacies about the man in charge in ways that will entice even the harshest critics.

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From the Inside Flap

When it comes to information, North Korea is a black hole. Those living there have no idea what′s happening in the rest of the world, while those on the outside are forever unsuccessfully trying to get a glimpse of what′s going on within. And at the very center of this void is a man best known for his goose–stepping military parades and clownish macho swagger: Kim Jong–il. In order to understand North Korea, you need to understand the figure who has come to represent it, both internally and around the globe. In Kim Jong–il: North Korea′s Dear Leader, Revised and Updated Edition, internationally renowned authority on Korean issues Michael Breen raises the curtain on the true nature of the man whose ability to simultaneously fascinate and terrify is as remarkable as it is alarming. Addressing common myths and fallacies—including the mistaken belief that Kim was primed to inherit the Presidency from his father from childhood—Kim Jong–il sheds light on the "Dear Leader′s" hold over a country ravaged by poverty and famine. Filled with North Korean history, personal anecdotes, and fascinating insights into this nation of twenty–three million people and the man who controls them, this new edition is packed with rare photographs of Kim and his regime, giving readers unprecedented access to the well–known but little–understood despot.

From the Back Cover

PRAISE FOR KIM JONG–IL: NORTH KOREA′S DEAR LEADER WHO HE IS, WHAT HE WANTS, WHAT TO DO ABOUT HIM "Kim Jong–Il: North Korea′s Dear Leader is a fascinating tour through the tortured history of North Korea and the mind of Kim Jong–il. A must–read for all those trying to understand what is happening in the hermit kingdom and what is now one of the most unstable places on earth. The potential for a miscalculation is breathtaking in its dangers to us all." Mike Moore former Director–General of WTO and former Prime Minister of New Zealand "In Kim Jong–Il: North Korea′s Dear Leader, Michael Breen provides what much of the world has been waiting for: an in–depth look at the dark and secret Korea of Kim Jong–il. His insights are revelatory, sophisticated, and plainly communicated. A testament to its accuracy, I doubt the book will see the light of day inside North Korea."Dan Briody author of the bestseller The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group "Michael Breen′s portrait of Kim Jong–il is a compelling psychoanalysis of the world′s last Stalinist dictator. The book explains how Kim manages to maintain an iron grip over his poverty–stricken country while holding the world′s only superpower to ransom with weapons of mass destruction. In parts the book reads like a black comedy, so bizarre is the regime it describes. Breen combines his eye for farce with a keen sensitivity to the plight of North Korea′s 23 million oppressed and starving people. But he makes it clear that it is too simplistic to dismiss Kim as an evil madman. Breen shows how North Korea is an accident of history, trapped in a Cold War time warp from which Kim is unable to escape. A lively and accessible read."Andrew Ward Korea correspondent, Financial Times "One can be free to hate him, but we must also learn more of the ′Fat Bastard′ for he is unlikely to disappear however much we wish him to. Michael Breen has written an extremely timely, readable, and well–researched book to tell us who Kim Jong–il is and how best to deal with him." Tomohiko Taniguchi Editor–at–Large, Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much more than the title suggests 3 May 2012
By - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I expected a rehash of well-worn KJI lore tarted up to take advantage of current events. Not so. This is less of a biography than an exploration of the challenge faced by North Korea of maintaining a personality cult into the third generation and the 21st century. The author is familiar with the full literature and makes frequent references to relatively recent works such as The Cleanest Race and The Aquariums of Pyongyang. There are original insights into the character and personality of KJI as well as the tall tales often repeated in the western press. The preface discusses his death and asserts that the remaining material (which appears to be unaltered) is still relevant; he is correct.

The writing style is lively and compelling. If you start this book, you will finish it.

The shelf of insightful, authoritative, and helpful DPRK books is short; this work merits a place among them.
2.0 out of 5 stars What else is new? 24 July 2014
By lawyer reader - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read the first edition of the book when it came out, the update did not need written. The Kim dynasty is nothing more than a cabal of murderous thugs. They are not worth the time of the civilized world except that they are nuclear and insane and suicidal enough to utilize it.

One would hope that the people of the DPRK would overthrow these despots, but when you are starved, tortured, and psychologically abused daily, there is little hope for revolt.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Book 5 Jun 2014
By John Walton CMT - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Michael Breen has done an excellent and thorough job in uncovering the dreadful state of this brainwashed, paranoiac nation. It is very sad to know that genuine people are dreadfully persecuted. You will be very moved by this story. John W.
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