The Cleanest Race

By B.R. Myers,

Book cover of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters

Book description

Understanding North Korea through its propagandaA newly revised and updated edition that includes a consideration of Kim Jung Il's successor, Kim Jong-On What do the North Koreans really believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them? Here B.R. Myers, a North Korea analyst and a contributing editor…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Cleanest Race as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Myers, a professor and North Korea watcher, draws on a careful reading of the “Hermit Kingdom’s” cultural products (its political speeches, novels, pamphlets, and more) to tease out a worldview that is too often opaque to outsiders. While escapee literature focuses on how average Koreans suffer under that brutal regime, this book affords us insight into how the regime sees itself – in ways that will surprise you.

From Zachary's list on knowing your enemy.

I’ve learned most about traditional Korean culture from books such as Three Generations by Yom Sang-stop which were written during the country’s century-long colonization by Imperial Japan. Today it is difficult to find a window to peer into the true culture of the cloistered Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Although written in a somewhat deprecating tone, The Cleanest Race is packed with historical, military, and political knowledge. It also provides insights into the propaganda that promotes certain political and cultural beliefs among an apparently compliant North Korean populace. This authoritative, fact-filled book greatly deepened my understanding of mysterious North Korean…

North Korea is too often dismissed because it is filled with people who seem to believe the strangest, most outlandish things about themselves, their country, and their leaders. Myers analyzes North Korean history and propaganda to argue that many of those strange ideas are produced for foreign consumption, to put North Korea’s enemies off the scent. Rather, Myers shows that the country’s identity is in part a reaction to its experience with Japanese imperialism, and conceives of the North Korean race as the purist people on earth. Rather than the combination of Stalinist politics and Confucian ethics, Myers finds a…

From Robert's list on understanding North Korea.

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