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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty [Paperback]

Bradley K. Martin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 13.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Feb 2006
"Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" offers in-depth portraits of North Korea's two ruthless and bizarrely Orwellian leaders, Kim II-Sun and Kim Jong-II. Lifting North Korea's curtain of self-imposed isolation, this book will take readers inside a society that, to a Westerner, will appear to be from another planet. Subsisting on a diet short on food and long on lies, North Koreans have been indoctrinated from birth to follow unquestioningly a father-son team of megalomaniacs. Revised and expanded for the paperback edition, this fascinating, definitive history brings the reader right up the present day tensions. For as this book direly predicted, North Korea has a legitimate nuclear programme and appears to be the greatest threat to the world today.

Frequently Bought Together

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty + Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea + Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
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Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Griffin,U.S.; 1st St. Martin's Griffin Ed edition (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312323220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312323226
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" is, from all I have read, simply the best book ever written about North Korea. Relying largely on extensive interviews with defectors, Martin portrays North Korean life with a clarity that is stunning, and he captures the paradoxes in North Korean public opinion."--Nicholas D. Kristof, "The New York Review of Books" "Martin's massive book provides as useful a set of insights into life in North Korea as can be found anywhere."- "L.A. Times Review" "As an AP correspondent covering South Korea in the 1970s, I learned quickly how difficult it was to discover any reliable information about that secretive, threatening regime to the north. Brad Martin's book is testimony to the thoroughness of his work, and the high level of his ability as a journalist and researcher. " North Korea is one of the least known, least understood countries in the world. Its leaders have always been enigmas, both frightening and fascinating, but almost impossible to decipher. Again today, it becomes vitally important that we do both, yet there is almost nothing of importance being written about the subject. "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" is important, as well as fascinating. The research is impeccable, the writing excellent. This is a major and timely contribution, and essential to anyone who hopes to deal sensibly with a vital region of the world." -Terry Anderson, former AP correspondent and author of "Den of Lions" "Brad Martin's "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader," a careful, penetrating analysis of North Korea, is more than just a book. Given the levels of secrecy which surround the Pyongyang regime and the danger it poses to its neighbors, Martin has rendered a considerable service to us all." -bestselling author, David Halbertstam "Brad Martin's book on North Korea is at once enlightening and frightening. It is lucid in writing, balanced in analysis, and comprehensive inb

About the Author

Bradley K. Martin has covered North Korea for The Asian Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
Reading about the personality cult of the North Korean leader had not fully prepared me for what I found when I arrived in Pyongyang in April 1979, as a member of the first large contingent of Americans to visit since the Korean War. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect dictatorship 19 May 2007
Bradley K. Martin's (BM) book is an excellent and rather detailed report on how North Korea works.

In his preface, the author reminds us of H.G. Wells' Time Machine and there especially the part where mankind has split into the Eloi and the Morlocks and how they control the Eloi. In Wells' book this process takes about 800,000 years. In North Korea this process was reduced to just over 50 years. The rest of the book explains how this transformation came about.

BM starts off with the biography of Kim Il-sung and there draws quite a bit on the dictator's own publications. He follows this up with the Korean War and Kim Il-sung's elimination of all rivals and establishment of a totalitarian state. He then goes through all the aspects of Korean society and economy. He also goes through the different classes in society, namely, those connected to the top leadership, those who are not and those who have an unclean spot in their past. One does get the impression that every other person fits into that latter category at least once during their lifetime.

There is also a fair bit on Kim Jong-il and his unpopularity. The author shows that it was Kim Il-sung who messed up the economy. Kim Jong-il is blamed for it because he surfaced officially around the time things started to go wrong. However, there is no need to shed any tears, Kim Jong-il is quite a screwy character in his own right. You can read that right through the whole book.

BM gathers all this information through his own trips to the country and through interviews with defectors. Using such information can be a touchy business, but I don't think the author is at risk here because of the large number of people he must have interviewed for this book (one notices that throughout the book).
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars North Korea: the good, the bad and the ugly 11 Feb 2009
This ambitious book gives an excellent overview of North Korea. Thorough insights into the country's history, political system and society are inextricably linked with the personal histories of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Although I've keenly followed North Korea-related news items since a brief trip there as a tourist in 1997, this book has given me a far more in-depth, and at times horrifying, look at the most fascinating and bizarre country I've ever visited.

On a personal note, one thing I found particularly shocking was to learn of the severity of the food shortages at the time I visited and the criminal disparity in how food was rationed in those years. I was aware of the shortages before my trip but not their extent or how the government was 'dealing' with the crisis. Perhaps not surprisingly, our party was exceptionally well fed during our stay. It's sickening to think this had to have been at the expense of people starving elsewhere.

As for the book, my only gripe is that in places it gets bogged down with dozens of transcripts of interviews with defectors. Much of their testimony was very similar and would have been better served in summary with a few specific examples thrown in for colour.

That doesn't negate the importance of the book to anyone wishing to read a well-rounded and balanced introduction to the good, the bad and the ugly of North Korea. Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed Documentary 30 Jan 2009
A very well researched work detailing the ascent to power of Kim Il Sung and the transfer of power to his son Kin Jong Il thus creating this bizarre Communist Monarchy. The book includes interviews with numerous defectors, describes the appalling living standard of North Koreans, and the cruel prison camps. A very interesting read, money well spent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written And Full Of Facts 22 Mar 2014
By Big K
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
History books like this can often be difficult to read - this is not. I found this book to be very well written and easy to read. Furthermore, I found it easy to pick up and read more after I had not done so for a few days.
I knew very little of the history of North Korea, and I was enlightened by this fine book
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is for anyone who is interested in how Kim Il-sung came into power and how Kim Jong-Il managed to hold on to power, in spite of the odds. Now that the third generation of the Kim family is in power, it is interesting to look back and reflect on what might have been.

It is well worth the price tag, given the amount of information it provides and the research behind it. It is also a cracking good read - was hard to put it down.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although it can be a bit long and over-detailed in places this book gives a good overview of a challenging and severe country, its leaders and systems. The chapters on the testimony of defectors and prison camp inmates are both fascinating and harrowing, but it's the plain weirdness of the Kim dynasty that comes across so well in this book! Well worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kim dynasty 6 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a great book, so much information but an easy read...an excellent book if you are interested in the strange country known as the DPRK.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into a hermit kingdom 12 Feb 2010
If you're interested in the DPRK then this book is for you it does have one downside and that is that it is slightly dated as the authors optimism for the sunshine policy and Kaesong plant shows. Coupled with the fact that the title also favours Kim Jong-Ils first son rather than his third as the most likely successor which at present seems unlikely. These points serve to highlight that this publication is over 5 years old. However if you are interested in the state beyond nuclear power politics and wish to see how one man succeeded in deifying his family as savouirs of a nation and bringers of freedom and equality whilst leading a decadent lifestyle that would make even the most committed hedonist blush then this is the book for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Too laborious - a HUGE book with a lot of repetition.
Published 1 month ago by jenny wren
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie!
Eerie, but very informative. You cant but help feel intrigued, and want to read further. Easy to read and engaging, however reminds us how lucky we are to live in the western... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dannygordon
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
If you are curious about life in North Korea then this is a must read. It took me over 2 weeks to read it as its very long and detailed because it covers life and politics in NK. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Susan Goulding
5.0 out of 5 stars North Korea revealed
This book provides you with everything you need to know about North Korea. It gives a detailed account of the countrys history, a biography of Kim il Sung and Kim jonG Il and an... Read more
Published 12 months ago by C. Nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb: A must- book
This is a great review of North Korean culture, society, history and politics. The book offers a comprehensive account of the reality in the country and one of its biggest... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Nikolay
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, the best book i have read on the subject
an incredible read, highly recommneded for anyone interested in this tradgic country and the plight of its people. Read more
Published 19 months ago by dannyboy
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal work on North Korea
Having read, researched and written widely about North Korea, I can honestly say that there is no better introduction to the history and politics of North Korea than this book. Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by A.N.Other
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I wanted to read a book that gave a comprehensive history of post war North Korea prior to a visit I made last year. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by S. A. Richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on the Kim regime
This is a very long and very in-depth review of the Kim dynasty of North Korea. However if it is excellent and if you want to understand North Korea you have to read this book.
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by Dysonsphere
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