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An expert on North Korea sheds new light on the enigmatic tyrant

From his goose-stepping military parades to his clownish macho swagger, North Korea's Kim Jong-il is an odd amalgam of political cartoon and global menace. In charge of a nuclear arsenal he's threatened to use against the U.S. and Japan, the man, his motives, and the mechanisms of his absolute control over a country of twenty-three million people remains shrouded in mystery.

In this second edition of his bestselling Kim Jong-il, Michael Breen, a leading expert on North Korea, dispels common myths and fallacies about the so-called "Dear Leader," while turning a spotlight on the man to reveal his true nature and the nature of his hold over a country ravaged by poverty and famine.

Looks at Kim from a broad perspective, unlike most other books that cater exclusively to those interested in policymaking and international relationsFeatures new information about succession plans, as well as the latest scoop on the mounting pressure among world leaders to thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitionsIllustrated with rare photographs of Kim and his regime

Highly accessible and suitable for anyone interested in learning more about North Korea, it's government, and its leader, Kim Jong-il unravels the mysteries, the myths, and the fallacies about the man in charge in ways that will entice even the harshest critics.


MICHAEL BREEN lives in Seoul and is one of the best-known commentators on Korean issues. He arrived in South Korea in 1982 as a journalist, covering both North and South Korea for several newspapers before giving up journalism to become a management consultant advising companies dealing with the communist state. His business now focuses on South Korea although he continues to write columns and commentaries on both countries. He is the author of The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies.


Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 Dark Country 1

Pool of Darkness 4

Who Is Charlie Chaplin? 7

Teaching Journalists 9

Chapter 2 Two States 15

Kim Il-sung and the Division of Korea 19

The Cold War 23

Chapter 3 Going Nuclear 29

North Korean Aggression in 2010 31

Weapons of Mass Destruction 34

Anti-Americanism in South Korea 37

Chapter 4 Dear Boy 41

Childhood and War 44

Teaching the Teachers 50

Chapter 5 Dear Successor 55

How Kim Jong-il Was Chosen 57

Dear Leader and His Loves 62

Chapter 6 Portrait of the Artist 67

Limiting the Joy 69

Kim Turns to Kidnapping 72

Chapter 7 Is Jong-il Evil? 77

Kim the Micromanager 79

The Temper and the Humor 84

How His People See Him 87

The Malignant Narcissist Theory 89

Chapter 8 Country of the Lie 93

The Secret to North Korean Communism 95

Race-Based Nationalism 99

Trouble with the Truth 101

The Control on Information 103

Chapter 9 The Gulag 107

The Gulag 109

The Story of Lee Soon-ok 110

Kang Chol-hwan: Child of the Camps 116

Chapter 10 The One Fat Man 121

A Journey through Russia 123

The Struggle for Food 124

Escaping to China 127

Chapter 11 Submerging Market 131

Looking in Vain for Signs of Change 134

Tourists from South Korea 136

Business Zones for China and South Korea 137

Chapter 12 Follow the Money 141

Chapter 13 Collision Course 145

Notes 151

Korean Names 163

Recommended Reading 167

About the Author 173

Index 175