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Books  >>  History

Victor Cha

The Impossible State

Victor Cha The Impossible State North Korea Past And Future
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Main description:

In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on provocative, isolationist North Korea, providing our best look yet at its history and the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. Cha illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues—from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions—all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's death and the transition of power to his unpredictable heir.

Ultimately, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think—a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.

Review quote:

The Impossible State is provocative, frightening, and never more relevant than today as an untested new leader takes charge of the world’s most unpredictable nuclear power.”

Review quote:

“A meaty, fast-paced portrait of North Korean society, economy, politics, and foreign policy by an expert who has studied the regime as a scholar and interacted with its officials.”

Review quote:

“An eye-opening view of the closed, repressive dictatorship of North Korea. . . . A useful, pertinent work for understanding the human story behind the headlines.”

Review quote:

“An up-close, insightful portrait. . . . The Impossible State is a clearheaded, bold examination of North Korea and its future.”

Review quote:

“Ask those who deal with national security what worries them most and at the top of the list or near it you’ll always find North Korea, a place about which we know little to nothing. That’s why Victor Cha’s book is so valuable.”

Review quote:

“Cha demonstrates an intimate familiarity with the regime’s contradictions. . . . The thesis is clear: the world’s most closed-off state needs to open up to survive, but breaking its hermetic seal may well precipitate its demise.”

Review quote:

“Essential reading for all North Korea watchers. . . . An informative and enjoyable read.”

Short description/annotation:

Former White House official Victor Cha has written the definitive volume on North Korea, arguably the world’s most menacing and mysterious nation. In The Impossible State, Cha, a singular expert on the region, exposes North Korea’s veiled past; sheds light on its culture, economy, and foreign policy; and explores the possibilities of its uncertain future in the post-Kim Jong-il era. A timely and engaging insider’s look at a volatile, and isolationist Asian juggernaut, The Impossible State will carry readers far deeper into this frighteningly adversarial country than they’ve ever traveled before.


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