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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Politics » Political Ideologies » Nationalism

The Cleanest Race

How North Koreans See Themselves - and Why It Matters

By B. R. Meyers

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Format: Paperback, 220 pages
Other Information: Illustrations
Published In: United States, 01 December 2011
For years, watchers of North Korea have told the world what motivates Kim Jong II and many misconceptions exist. B.R. Myers, leading North Korea analyst, challenges these. He argues more is known about the country's nuclear programme than motivations behind it and more about Kim Jong II's potential successors than the unique world view which they all share. Drawing from decades of research on ideology and propaganda, Myers disproves the common fallacy that North Korea is the last bastion of Stalinism.

About the Author

B.R. Myers was born in New Jersey and raised in Bermuda, South Africa and Germany. He has a Ph.D. in North Korean Studies from the University of Tubingen in Germany. His books include Han Sorya and North Korean Literature (Cornell East Asia Series, 1994) and A Reader's Manifesto (Melville House, 2002). At present he directs the international studies department at Dongseo University in South Korea. In addition to writing literary criticism for the American magazine The Atlantic, of which he is a contributing editor, Myers regularly contributes articles on North Korea to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and academic publications. From the Hardcover edition.


"Electrifying... finely argued and brilliantly written." --Christopher Hitchens, Slate "Provocative... A fascinating analysis." --Dwight Garner, The New York Times "[A] scary... close reading of domestic propaganda [that] goes a long way toward explaining the erratic behavior and seemingly bizarre thought processes of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il." --The Wall Street Journal "Myers' book is worth buying and reading." --The Quarterly Review"The definitive book on the subject." --The Atlantic "There are few books that can give the world a peek into the Hermit Kingdom.The Cleanest Race provides a reason to care about how those in North Korea see themselves and the West. It is possibly the best addition to that small library of books on North Korean ideology." --Andrei Lankov, Far Eastern Economic Review "Myers renders great service to the global foreign policy establishment with his lucid and well documented profile of the North Korean polity. If only it were made mandatory reading for all the stakeholder leaders, particularly the American establishment, who feel compelled to deal politically with North Korea. Maybe then, Myers' wisdom might lead them to adopt the only possibly policy toward North Korea that will work: that of 'benign neglect.'" --Mike Gravel, US Senate 1969-1981 "In his new survey of North Korean propaganda, The Cleanest Race, B.R. Myers insists that the ongoing support of the North Korean public for the regime doesn't reflect any great faith in communism. Instead, he argues, it is rooted in a kind of paranoid racial nationalism adapted from the Japanese fascism that flourished before World War II.... Myers feels that the racialism at the heart of the regime's ideology will sustain it even as it fails to provide the prosperity it promises." --Laura Miller, "The text offers a clear picture of the peculiar worldview of this profoundly inward-facing country, its character and continuous subtle alterations, and its under-appreciated ramifications in world affairs." --Reference & Research Book News From the Hardcover edition.

EAN: 9781935554349
ISBN: 1935554344
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Dimensions: 21.6 x 17.8 x 1.5 centimetres (0.42 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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