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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty Paperback – 2 Feb 2006


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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: 15.4 x 3.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

""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 in its meticulous research and anecdotal evidence. The detailed exposition of the narrow life of luxury and the devious character of the 'Dear Leader, ' Kim Jong-il, is scary. So is the description of North Korea as a corrupt, secretive, stagnant fief of the Kim family. Brad Martin, with his long years as a Pyongyang-watcher, is eminently qualified to write a book that should strip away any illusions America and the West have about Kim's dangerous regime."-Richard Halloran, former correspondent for "The New York Times" in Asia and Washington, D.C.

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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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Robert Eaglesham on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Koetzsch on 19 May 2007
Format: Paperback
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Saliba on 30 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A.N.Other on 7 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. Martin's work is very long and rather imposing; this edition in particular stretches to nearly a thousand pages, on thin paper. However, it is a very easy read: Martin's writing style is fluent and pleasant- it is not a chore to read.
His account is balanced and well researched, and is free from much of the hysterical doom-mongering and finger jabbing present in many works on North Korea. It is simply an excellent read.
Highly recommended,
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