Cover image for Historical dictionary of North Korea
Historical dictionary of North Korea
Kim, Ilpyong J., 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Maryland : Scarecrow Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
lxvii, 212 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS933.7 .K55 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This work features a country that is little known to the West and even to its Asian neighbours because its policy has been one of isolation and self-reliance since the 1950s. Now, however, is an opportune time for the outside world to pay attention and come to understand North Korea's political, economic, and social system because North Korea's new ruler Kim Jong II is initiating an invitation to the outside world. Will this opening in of North Korea's doors save its economic system or cause it to collapse? This work looks at North Korea's new rulership and its foreign policy of isolationism and explores whether it will have to change in recognition of the changing environment of the Korean peninsula. The people, places, political system, economy, ideology, and the history that made and is North Korea are profiled in this work.

Author Notes

Dr. Ilpyong J. Kim is Professor of Emeritus Political Science at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and is currently serving as President of the International Council on Korean Studies (ICKS). He is one of the foremost watchers of North Korea and is familiar with neighboring South Korea and China as well as being a specialist on communist regimes.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although this book claims to be a historical dictionary, principal focus rests on the 1990s. Often (such as when only incumbent office holders or recent data are listed) it appears to be a current handbook. It gives appropriate attention to political and economic matters, the culture built around Kim Il Sung (and his son), relations with the major powers, and reunification, but military issues, despite their centrality in North Korea, are sorely neglected. A brief article about the current state of the armed forces provides no historical perspective, and there are no entries on specific services (other than "Light Infantry"). The Korean War is covered poorly throughout, and there is no mention of the USS Pueblo incident, not even in the chronology. The text is often unnecessarily repetitious (e.g., repeating the entire list of cabinet offices in the articles on cabinet and government, instead of cross-referencing, latter to former). Cross-referencing in general is inconsistent and inadequate, and there is no index. Supplementary materials include a basic map, chronology, four documents, and an unsatisfactory bibliography. The book contains useful and timely information, but it is poorly done and expensive. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Academic libraries. K. W. Berger Duke University