The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un

The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un❮Epub❯ ❦ The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un Author Anna Fifield – Heartforum.co.uk The behind the scenes story of the rise and reign of the world s strangest and most elusive tyrant, Kim Jong Un, by the journalist with the best connections and insights into the bizarrely dangerous w Successor: The MOBI ð The behind the scenes story of the rise and reign of the world s strangest and most elusive tyrant, Kim Jong Un, by the journalist with the best connections and insights into the bizarrely dangerous world of North KoreaSince his The Great PDF/EPUB or birth in , Kim Jong Un has been swaddled in myth and propaganda, from the plainly silly he could supposedly drive a car at the age of three to the grimly bloody stories of family members who perished at his commandAnna Great Successor: The Kindle Õ Fifield reconstructs Kim s past and present with exclusive access to sources near him and brings her unique understanding to explain the dynastic mission of the Kim family in North Korea The archaic notion of despotic family rule matches the almost medieval hardship the country has suffered under the Kims Few people thought that a young, untested, unhealthy, Swiss educated basketball fanatic could hold together a country that should have fallen apart years ago But Kim Jong Un has not just survived, he has thrived, abetted by the approval of Donald Trump and diplomacy s weirdest bromanceSkeptical yet insightful, Fifield creates a captivating portrait of the oddest and most secretive political regime in the world one that is isolated yet internationally relevant, bankrupt yet in possession of nuclear weapons and its ruler, the self proclaimed Beloved and Respected Leader, Kim Jong Un.

Successor: The MOBI ð Anna Fifield is the Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post She previously covered Japan and the Koreas for the Post, and was the Seoul correspondent for the Financial Times She has reported fromthan countries and has visited North The Great PDF/EPUB or Korea a dozen times, becoming one of the most authoritative journalists on this impenetrable country She was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard University, studying how change happens in closed societies In , she received the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford Great Successor: The Kindle Õ University for her outstanding reporting on Asia Fifield was born and raised in New Zealand.

The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of
    Import EPUB to the Program Import EPUB been swaddled in myth and propaganda, from the plainly silly he could supposedly drive a car at the age of three to the grimly bloody stories of family members who perished at his commandAnna Great Successor: The Kindle Õ Fifield reconstructs Kim s past and present with exclusive access to sources near him and brings her unique understanding to explain the dynastic mission of the Kim family in North Korea The archaic notion of despotic family rule matches the almost medieval hardship the country has suffered under the Kims Few people thought that a young, untested, unhealthy, Swiss educated basketball fanatic could hold together a country that should have fallen apart years ago But Kim Jong Un has not just survived, he has thrived, abetted by the approval of Donald Trump and diplomacy s weirdest bromanceSkeptical yet insightful, Fifield creates a captivating portrait of the oddest and most secretive political regime in the world one that is isolated yet internationally relevant, bankrupt yet in possession of nuclear weapons and its ruler, the self proclaimed Beloved and Respected Leader, Kim Jong Un."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un
  • Anna Fifield
  • English
  • 13 November 2018
  • 1541742486

10 thoughts on “The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un

  1. Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell says:

    Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterest First, a shout out to PublicAffairs publishing, which, looking at the jacket for this book, appears to be a Hachette imprint I ve received three advance copies from them and so far, all of them have been both meticulously researched and fascinating to read not an easy feat in a media environment where click bait snags youreaders in the public sphere THE GREAT SUCCESSOR was no exception I m counting it as part of the three , s Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterest First, a shout out to PublicAffairs publishing, which, looking at the jacket for this book, appears to be a Hachette imprint I ve received three advance copies from them and so far, all of them have been both meticulously researched and fascinating to read not an easy feat in a media environment where click bait snags youreaders in the public sphere THE GREAT SUCCESSOR was no exception I m counting it as part of the three , so I just want to give mad props to whomever curates these journalists Well done.THE GREAT SUCCESSOR is an interesting book, and a controversial one It s essentially a biography about Kim Jong Un a brief history on his father and grandfather, his childhood, his rise to power, and his leadership Fifield has been to North Koreathan a dozen times, and in addition to citing secondary sources, she also managed to get interviews with relatives, North Korean expatriates, and people who knew him growing up.So much of what we know about North Korea is shrouded in propaganda or lies, and I thought that Fifield did a really great job trying to sort falsehood or speculation from objective fact She talks about his very odd relationship with Rodman, his Swiss schooling, the brutal labor camps and laissez faire totalitarianism of the early parts of his regime, but also about the changes that he s making for better or for worse , using conspicuous consumption as a tantalizing carrot to appeal to the rich set of his generation, as well as focusingon economy and less on military as a means of appealing to his people in the wake of his terrifying and accelerated success developing weapons to use in the global nuclear arms race.This book does humanize a leader of a nation considered hostile, but I don t think it makes any apologies for what he does, either If anything, this rendering of Kim Jong Un s character makes him seem evendangerous, because it becomes a cautionary tale of how absolute power corrupts in the absence of any regulating factors I did not know much about North Korea before reading this book, and getting the historical context for the hows and whys of its split from the South, and its many decades under totalitarian rule, really gave context for how the Kim family operates, and why they have been so successful holding on to power It s dark and disturbing, but worth the read Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 4 stars

  2. Dimitri says:

    Every book on North Korea walks its own path, but largely follows the route marked by the Kim dynasty, which has written the post war history of the half peninsula Still, it s nice to see Anna Fifield skip to the head of the line to focus on the third ruler, Kim Jong Un, world s darkest source of inspiration for things you can accomplish before you turn 35.He was raised in splendid isolation, but not singularly groomed for the succession, until his brother fell from grace The family elders w Every book on North Korea walks its own path, but largely follows the route marked by the Kim dynasty, which has written the post war history of the half peninsula Still, it s nice to see Anna Fifield skip to the head of the line to focus on the third ruler, Kim Jong Un, world s darkest source of inspiration for things you can accomplish before you turn 35.He was raised in splendid isolation, but not singularly groomed for the succession, until his brother fell from grace The family elders which acted as regents in those crucial first 2 years after the death of Kim Jong Il were ruthlessly executed along with key figures of the old guard Their window to topple the dynasty from within was gone the gates were opened for a new inner circle This is a classic phase for any establishing dictator.Jong Un seems to master the principle of stick carrot better than his father.The free market opportunities for ordinary citizens were relaxed, enabling them to better their chances at ever relative improved living standards The discreetly nurtured birth of a North Korean middle class has weakened the linkelihood of a French Revolution a ghost he encountered during his studies in Switzerland.He has also played the game of international relationships better, making favorable impressions on both the South Korean president Trump He didn t try too hard to cover up the initial failures of rocket launches under his reign.At the same time a point which the rest of the world never fully grasps he remains committed to a thermo nuclear arsenal to deter first strikes, in spite of renewed economic sanctions which have severely hurt the gray money flow in out of the country He has also nudged up the punishments for defectors.For a man young enough to reign another 50 years , if smoking obesity related health issues don t get the better of his ambition, this self studied madman amongrealpolitikheads of state has built a solid foundation.A point which strikes me in comparison to most DKPR books the Korean traditions dimension Some of Jong Uns actions strike us as plain weird, but convey a clear positive signal to his subjects Dividing society into reliable lukewarm and unreliable classes was a deep rooted social reality under the Korean kingdom the communists have just layered it immensely Piggybacking a nuclear scientist in elation over a successfull launch over Japan with a range technically capable of reaching the entire continental U.S.A or letting Trump go into a room first are Korean signs of respect for your elders Modelling himself a bitafter his grandfather than his father, both in dress travel abroad, is another major example by North Korean logic, it conveys the memory of the good old days , when China Russia were reliable red allies.A historical note which is often overlooked North Korea s industry wasn t as much build as REBUILD from the infrastructure left by Japan No matter how toroughly the U.S Air Force bombed the country until it literally ran out of targets The reverse side of the 1950 53 Korean War for the common people is one area in which I m prepared to sympathize a bit with the generation of Kim Jong Ryul Im Dienst des Diktators Leben und Flucht eines nordkoreanischen Agenten the elderly decorated private in 2004 s Dutch documentary Noord Korea Een dag uit het levensitting in a small Pyongyang flat with his family a country on the grow after 30 years of brutal colonialism an all out bombing must ve felt pretty sweet

  3. Kristina says:

    Anyone interested in North Korea should read Anna Fifield s excellent The Great Successor The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un The only problem with this book is its too long subtitle, even though it appropriate in a snarky humorous way Fifield s book covers the reign of the Kims, starting with the beginning Kim Il Sung s rise to power during World War II and how Russia appointed him ruler, thinking he would be a good little puppet leader Unfortunately for the Russi Anyone interested in North Korea should read Anna Fifield s excellent The Great Successor The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un The only problem with this book is its too long subtitle, even though it appropriate in a snarky humorous way Fifield s book covers the reign of the Kims, starting with the beginning Kim Il Sung s rise to power during World War II and how Russia appointed him ruler, thinking he would be a good little puppet leader Unfortunately for the Russians, Kim Il Sung had his own ideas and soon created an unstoppable cult of personality and began rewriting North Korean NK history The brief but informative and entertaining history of the Kim rulers proceeds through the Vietnam War and the rule of the country passing to Kim Il Sung s son, Kim Jong Il Under Kim Jong Il s rule, the country fell into chaos due to the collapse of Communist Russia NK s main economic prop and the severe famine that killed millions of North Koreans Fifield s book then focuses in on Kim Jong Un, a son of Kim Jong Il not his first born, which is important This is when the book, which is not dull, gets evenfascinating.Through many interviews and hours of research, Fifield is able to describe the luxurious and lonely childhood of Kim Jong Un KJU He was raised from birth to be treated as a god whose only purpose is to lead the country Servants had to be subservient to him He was never corrected, he was rarely disciplined except perhaps by close family members While the children of North Korea starved around him, KJU had every toy he ever wanted and ate delicacies that only the wealthiest person, no matter what nationality, could afford to eat Fifield s details about his childhood and teenage years satisfied my idle curiosity, but what I really wanted to know about was KJU the tyrant Fifield does not disappoint The majority of this book concerns KJU s authoritarian style, how he continues to hold onto and expand his power, and how he is different from his father and grandfather Fifield explains that KJU has expanded economic opportunity for North Koreans by allowing a certain amount of free enterprise In a strict state run socialist state, which is officially what NK is, the state supplies all of the citizens needs and citizens work at state run factories, farms, educational facilities and in the government There should be no need to earn money on your own because the state supplies everything This, as we all know, never works It certainly never worked in NK which was propped up for years by Communist Russia, now by China KJU knows that he needs to allow a tiny bit of capitalism to work in NK people are happier if they can make and sell their own goods and earn their own money This loosening of the economic controls has alleviated NK s poverty and allowed the people to eat better KJU hasn t done this to be a nice guy it s just one of his many ways of retaining control of the country He controls people through surveillance, informants, stopping the flow of information, concentration camps that imprison disloyal North Koreans and often their whole family and propaganda The Kim regime had endured for seven decades by trapping the entire population inside the country and repeatedly drilling into them, starting from kindergarten, the myth that they lived in a socialist paradise and were the happiest people in the world 113.KJU doesn t just remind his people that they should be grateful and scared, he also makes sure that the people closest to him also know they are expendable There s a good reason for terrifying the people at the top Contrary to popular perception, most dictators are not overthrown by an angry populace marching in the streets The vast majority are removed by insiders from the regime The biggest risk to dictators is not the struggle between the privileged and the masses but a struggle among the elites 130 forreading on this, here is Fifield s source The Politics of Authoritarian Rule by Milan W Svolik, 2012 KJU disposed of many of the people who supported him, most famously his Uncle Jang Jang Song Thaek Uncle Jang was executed for a long list of crimes, one of which was dreaming the wrong dreams Another powerful official was publicly killed by anti aircraft guns KJU s message no one is safe, no matter who you are Not even family Although, my further thoughts on this are if the officials closest to KJU believe that none of them is safe no matter how much they kiss his ass, then what do they have to lose by banding together and assassinating him Even one man acting alone might be thanked, and the Kim family may even be grateful, knowing that their heads could potentially be on the block, blood relations be damned Another good example of this is the fairly recent very public assassination of KJU s older half brother Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which is covered in extensive detail in a chapter titled The Unwanted Brother KJU arranged for his assassination publicly to show other family members and officials that he could get them anywhere, anytime He also wanted to be rid of an older brother who was a threat to him because he was the first born son in a country that holds first born sons in special esteem The Great Successor covers the elite of Pyongyang and Pyonghattan and North Korean millennials, a group that KJU particularly wants to make happy under his rule happy young people don t escape Fifield explains the weirdness of the on again, off again bromance between KJU and Dennis Rodman, something no one saw happening and no one wanted to make happen not the CIA, not Washington foreign policy experts and certainly not the Obama administration The Dennis Rodman KJU romance was arranged by HBO s Vice News KJU loves basketball and in particular, the Chicago Bulls The Worm is a former Bulls player boom Love Vice News arranged for Rodman The Worm to go to NK with a few members of the Harlem Globetrotters they were deemed suitably goofy and nonthreatening and after a basketball game and drunken party a Vice News source told Fifield we all got wasted , Dennis Rodman became an unlikely source of information about KJU for Washington The government people were reportedly very pissed off about this KJU s psychological state is discussed Despite our stable genius President Trump s schoolyard taunts that KJU is a madman, Fifield s research and interviews with psychologists suggests he is not mad He is reasonably psychologically stable and is believed to be a classic narcissist All of his actions, which a conscientious person may view as troubling and insane, are not They are all carefully calculated to accomplish the one thing he wants most to stay in power However, Fifield s research indicates that unlimited power causes biological and psychological changes in the brain It stimulates the production of dopamine, the feel good chemical Theyou like something, theyou do it want it, thus drug and chocolate addicts and the adage absolute power corrupts absolutely However, the flipside of this is that an outsized ego is extremely fragile and vulnerable so even the smallest criticisms can provoke huge outbursts or irrational behavior Hmmm why does this sound so familiar Fifield explains that KJU has found creative ways of making money via cyberattacks By one estimate, RGB elite spy agency run by NK military hackers have attackedthan one hundred banks and cryptocurrency exchanges around the world since 2016 and pilferedthan 650 million in the process 195 She goes over the Otto Warmbier detention by NK and said that it is commonplace for NK to take hostages of foreign citizens on false charges and hold them until arrangements are made for their release When important political figures visit NK to negotiate for their release, KJU uses this as propaganda Look at me I m so important that these VIP are traveling here to pay homage to me Fifield raises several questions about the validity of Warmbier s arrest he probably never stole or attempted to steal a sign and even though it is unlikely the truth of that night and what caused his catastrophic injuries will ever be known, Fifield s fact finding suggests that Warmbier died because security forces panicked and rather than seek medical care for him which NK may not even had the expertise to deliver , they covered up Warmbier s serious medical state until it was discovered much later When NK finally agreed to his release, it presented the United States government with a bill for 2 million for Warmbier s medical care Amazingly, Trump hasn t ordered it to be paid Fifield s examination of NK s nuclear weapons program is the most contemporary and scariest information in the book She traces the history of the program back to KJU s father and follows it through to KJU s determination to see it successful which it is She answers quite clearly why NK will never give up its nuclear weapons and why it is futile to even try Negotiators keep demanding that KJU give up his nuclear program in order to have sanctions on the country lifted This approach had always failed It had failed because it overlooked the whole reason why North Korea had pursued nuclear weapons in the first place the nuclear weapon program is a means to defend North Korea against an American attack 277 KJU remembers what happened to Muammar Gaddafi he agreed to give up his nukes, then he was invaded and overthrown KJU sensibly for a tyrant does not wish this to happen to happen to him Fifield also suggests the other problem with dangling economic reform and prosperity, like the reforms that assisted Communist China and Communist Vietnam, in front of NK is although the Communist Party controls these countries, they are not family dynasties there is some competition for leadership roles For the Kim regime, this is not an option North Korea has long considered exhortations for reform to be tantamount to calling for regime change, given that the North Korean economy can t just open up and allow a freer flow of information, money, and people without seriously loosening the Kim family s grip on power 279 So while the Trump administration pats itself on the back for making progress with NK because Trump and KJU shake hands and make kissy faces at each other over a banquet table, KJU is impishly grinning because he is manipulating Trump to get what he wants recognition as a major power player on the international stage and the possible if he plays Trump s ego and stupidity just right lifting of sanctions And he ll never give up his nukes Never The Great Successor is a superb book I cannot possibly review all the fascinating details that author Anna Fifield has packed into this book She writes about the Kim family secrets suicides and alcoholics and the brother who worships Eric Clapton and just wants to play guitar , the growing drug abuse among the population and its police force, the amazing amount of free enterprise aka smuggling of Chinese goods, and how NK is confused by Trump and spends a good bit of time trying to figure him out unlike KJU, who I think is Machiavellian and crazy like a fox, Trump self sabotages and seems to say crazy shit because his mouth and his brain either a rarely work in tandem or b work very well in tandem you decide If you are even the tiniest bit interested in North Korea and how can you not be , read this book Fifield writes well and with a certain amount of sarcasm when necessary The book is packed full of information and includes an index and sources

  4. Supreeth says:

    This one doesn t rely on the readers empathy for North Korean citizens to make the book readable, but actually concentrates on the Kim s view, the scant numbered elite, the atrocities and the vision, and of course about the people who ate rats for living, all with a neutral tone It spans the history of three Kims, mostly the third one Given that it s published recently and includes recent Trump Kim meet, this has to be best North Korea nonfiction for now.

  5. Brenda Evans says:

    In August 2014, the world was hoping that 26 year old Kim Jong Un, the newly anointed leader of North Korea would be a reformer His third generation, family dynasty was at risk with a young Kim Jung Un without military or government background The world was skeptical he had the skills to succeed Great Successor provides a detailed history of the three generations of the Kim Dynasty the grandfather, Kim II Sung, his son, Kim Jong II, and his grandson, Kim Jung Un The ruling regime used all i In August 2014, the world was hoping that 26 year old Kim Jong Un, the newly anointed leader of North Korea would be a reformer His third generation, family dynasty was at risk with a young Kim Jung Un without military or government background The world was skeptical he had the skills to succeed Great Successor provides a detailed history of the three generations of the Kim Dynasty the grandfather, Kim II Sung, his son, Kim Jong II, and his grandson, Kim Jung Un The ruling regime used all its wiles to establish Kim Jung Un he accompanied his father to many events he was introduced to schools, and government officials read out lectures throughout which the students were taught to cheer long life Anna s book is a Tour de force she describes a barely functioning economy and an oppressed country whose people had fear in their eyes Anna supports our understanding of how a despotic ruler brainwashes his people beginning at a young age the children are instructed to chant songs which express love for the leader who becomes god like in their eyes North Korean people do not celebrate their own birthdays the whole country celebrates the birthday of the leader Their personalities are entwined with the leaders his triumphs become their triumphs Anna Fifield writes with poignancy and shows the misery and desolation of living in North Korea The regime inherited by Kim Jung Un was merciless, autocratic, and the North Korean people were starving but were required to idolize the Great Commander How could a young, inexperienced ruler manage the politics and the economy without running afoul of the current leadership and the possible hatred of the people The Great Successor relates that Kim Jung Un kept the influential people around him happy by providing a superior standard of living But he over had to identify loyal people with future value and begin to eliminate those who could constitute a danger From Anna s research, he seems to have been eminently capable of this level of strategy He also proved capable of conducting meetings with President Xi of China, President Moon Jae in of South Korea, and President Trump of America Anna provides many, many insights in this book which people will read and appreciate for themselves I can only remain hopeful that America can forge a relationship with Kim Jung Un by walking that fine line to establish a successful collaboration between North Korea and the world The alternative is unthinkable I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars Anna has thoroughly researched the Great Successor and spoken to hundreds of people who could provide any insight at all into the man, Kim Jung Un It is historical going back three generations and offers excellent insight into the inheritance of Kim Jung Un Readers should be aware there is an extremely sinister side to the story and Anna has written in horrific detail about the deprivations of life in North Korea She describes the removal of people who speak against the regime, the still existing labor camps and the no communication policy with the external world I recommend this book to people interested in politics, history, relationships, and unanswered questions about today s world I do not recommend it to people who prefer light reading

  6. Daniel Simmons says:

    Having read with appreciation many of Anna Fifield s WaPo articles on North Korea over the past several years, I was looking forward to her book length take on Kim Jong Un As a result I was disappointed by the surprisingly superficial and distractingly snarky treatment she gives her subject here and although I learned a few fascinating nuggets of new information for example, details about the whereabouts of Kim Jong Nam s long lost sister, or the lengths to which North Korean cleanup crew Having read with appreciation many of Anna Fifield s WaPo articles on North Korea over the past several years, I was looking forward to her book length take on Kim Jong Un As a result I was disappointed by the surprisingly superficial and distractingly snarky treatment she gives her subject here and although I learned a few fascinating nuggets of new information for example, details about the whereabouts of Kim Jong Nam s long lost sister, or the lengths to which North Korean cleanup crews went to remove any trace of KJU s or his sister s DNA from the hotel rooms in which they stayed while abroad in Singapore and South Korea, respectively , there were few genuine revelations To be fair, facts are few on the ground when it comes to the autocratic leader of North Korea, so maybe it was too much to expect adetailed,definitive biography That biography is yet to be written, assuming we are not annihilated by a DPRK H bomb in the meantime

  7. Grumpus says:

    The grumpus23 23 word commentary Unique insight into the North Korean Kim family of dictators with a focus on the life of and brutal ascension of Kim Jung Un.

  8. Peter Beck says:

    Trump s North Korean BoyfriendDonald Trump has demonstrated a clear preference for strongmen like Russia s Vladimir Putin over strong women like Germany s Angela Merkel, but the only dictator Trump boasts that he fell in love with is the most ruthless of all North Korea s Kim Jong un Don t let our snarky titles fool you The Great Successor is the most important book on North Korea published in years Backed by interviews with defectors and shadowy intel types, the Washington Post s Anna Trump s North Korean BoyfriendDonald Trump has demonstrated a clear preference for strongmen like Russia s Vladimir Putin over strong women like Germany s Angela Merkel, but the only dictator Trump boasts that he fell in love with is the most ruthless of all North Korea s Kim Jong un Don t let our snarky titles fool you The Great Successor is the most important book on North Korea published in years Backed by interviews with defectors and shadowy intel types, the Washington Post s Anna Fifield has given us a lively account of the rise of Kim Jong un and his consolidation of power since his father died in 2011 However, even a great reporter like Fifield is unable to avoid some of the pitfalls and perils of writing about a leader who remains as mysterious as he is totalitarian The only person I know who has gotten to jet ski with Kim, Michael Spavor, is rotting in a Chinese jail along with Michael Korvig, my successor at the International Crisis Group Their crime Being Canadian.Writing about North Korea is invariably like the Indian parable about the blind men and the elephant Given that Kim Jong un happens to be the most sensitive part of the pachyderm, Fifield is forced to rely on a down and out Japanese sushi chef and a washed up basketball star with a drinking problem for information about her subject Yet, we still know almost nothing about what Kim did from the time he was suddenly ordered to leave his Swiss high school in 2001 until he is introduced to the North Korean people as their next leader nearly a decade later We don t even know how many children he has or his actual birth date, but Kim is believed to be about the same age as Facebook s Mark Zuckerburg 35 After piecing together Kim s childhood, Fifield recounts Kim s chief exploits over the past eight years, which should be well known to readers of the Washington Post Every major news outlet covered the funeral of Kim s father, his execution of his uncle, his summits with his basketball idol Dennis Rodman, the assisination of his half brother in Malaysia and his two meetings with Donald Trump The best long term coverage of Kim remains in the New York Times Choe Sang hoon has been writing consistently excellent articles on North Korea for over 20 years Fifield s most important interviews are with Kim Jong un s relatives who have defected to the U.S and former North Korean officials Her biggest scoop The half brother Kim had assassinated in Malaysia was working for the CIA Fifield is also at her best when she is describing her on the ground experiences in North Korea Actually, I wish she had includedof them All five of my visits were frustrating, but my final visit was extremely unpleasant My crime Taking pictures on the street without a minder If the strongest chapter in the book is Better to Be Feared than Loved Ch 7 , which describes Kim Jong un s consolidation of power, then the weakest is Dictatorship 101 Ch 4 Fifield provides almost no information about the three key institutions Kim uses to wield power the military, the party and the intelligence apparatus Andrei Lankov s The Real North Korea 2014 remains the best book for understanding how the regime actually works The Great Successor does not suffer from the rampant errors of fact and assessment that plague Victor Cha s The Impossible State 2012 However, two of Fifield s errors are worth noting At the outset, she states, Cha was maybe the most unequivocal in his predictions, but he was hardly alone Most North Korea watchers thought the end was near p 4 Actually, the vast majority outside of government at least thought the opposite The University of Chicago s Bruce Cumings and I immediately published articles challenging Cha The only question was how long it would take Kim to consolidate power Later in her book, when Fifield explains America s nuclear policy toward North Korea and the meaning of CVID the Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement of the North s nuclear program , she states that the D stands for disarmament p.268 This may seem trivial, but she fails to point out that this extreme and unrealistic negotiating position contributed greatly to the breakdown in negotiations during the Bush, Obama and Trump Administrations If you want to know what it really takes to negotiate with North Korea, I cannot recommendhighly Joel Wit s Going Critical 2005 Like the book she cites as her gold standard for writing on North Korea, Barbara Demick s powerful Nothing to Envy 2010 , Fifield relies heavily on interviews with North Korean defectors which she insists on calling escapees Indeed, all of the most popular books on North Korea are by or about defectors Unfortunately, defectors are problematic sources for several reasons For describing life in North Korea in a particular place at a particular time, they are perfectly fine The problem is, the average defector is the furthest thing from a typical North Korean The vast majority come from an extremely narrow demographic Young women from the sparsely populated northeast border with China J.D Vance s Hillbilly Elegy 2016 became so relevant because Appalachia could help elect Trump president The region the vast majority of defectors come from is the geographic equivalent of Guam In terms of proximity to political power, it may as well be the moon The one notable exception is Jang Jin sung s Dear Leader 2014 but like most defectors, his information is already outdated Fifield herself recognizes that Kim Jong un keeps his regime stable through the support of relatively few well rewarded people while letting the rest of the population languish p.129 Thus, it really doesn t matter what the average defector thinks about Kim Jong un Kim Jong un is widely seen as a madman, but if he is crazy, it is like a fox Fifield interviews Scottish Psychologist Ian Robertson, who pronounces Kim to have acquired situational narcissism fame went to his head but Kim remains a reasonably psychologically stable individual p 190 Fifield does not put Donald I m a very stable genius Trump on the couch, but most mental health professionals who have weighed in believe Trump is suffering from malignant narcissism Future book title A Tale of Two Narcissists Hinged and Unhinged This does not strike me as a match made in heaven The Trump Kim coupling islikely based on a Tinder rather than Match.com algorithm Of course exchanging love letters is far better than trading insults and threats The second trap Fifield falls into is wishful thinking Victor Cha is just one in a long line of North Korea watchers who were certain the North Korean regime s days were numbered In August, the New York Times published an op ed entitled, Kim Jong un s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year by Nicholas Eberstadt Really Kim has never heard thousands chant Lock him up on the very same day of his greatest military accomplishment The Times failed to inform its readers that Eberstadt is the same person who authored The End of North Korea That book just celebrated its 20th anniversary A second variety of wishful thinking is the opposite notion that a breakthrough is just around the corner Fifield writes, Maybe these two unconventional leaders were just the right people to try something unorthodox p 259 Even after the Trump Kim Singapore debacle, I retained a sense of optimism that this time could be different p 279 Now that the impeachment flames are getting ever closer to Trump, will he be obsessed with trying to contain them or evendesperate to cut a deal Let s just say I m not holding my breath.My advice to Korean leaders on both sides of the DMZ Placate and wait Then again, the Brits prove that you can actually select a leader worse than America s Commander Chaos Vulgarian in Chief I know The North and South could talk to each other minjok kkiri Sadly, this has proved to be a bridge too far for the Lube King the most bizarre picture of Kim Jong un is hands down his lube factory visit.Speaking of images, given that this book is intended for a general audience, I was surprised that there was not a single picture, particularly since Fifield frequently mentions images that I have never seen The family tree is great, but it would also be most helpful to include a chronology as well as suggested readings given that Fifield covers so much ground in 300 pages with limited and often vague footnotes Fifield is a great writer, but particularly in her closing pages, I wish she would provideinsight and analysis and fewer summit dinner menus I am muchconcerned with achieving a lasting peace than what the leaders ate or in the case of Singapore didn t eat It is only a matter of time until we face our next crisis with North Korea This breakup is bound to be messy

  9. Madeline says:

    I was curious to learnabout Kim Jong Un, since he is quite a mysterious character Even so, I m not really sure what I expected from this. maybeof a character study However, this is a very detailed and expert account of Kim Jong Un s life, from birth up to the 2018 19, as he begins his next phase for North Korea, after they achieved nuclear weapons This is a great option if you want to learn about North Korea and the regime, since Fifield goes through a lot of history, and is very I was curious to learnabout Kim Jong Un, since he is quite a mysterious character Even so, I m not really sure what I expected from this. maybeof a character study However, this is a very detailed and expert account of Kim Jong Un s life, from birth up to the 2018 19, as he begins his next phase for North Korea, after they achieved nuclear weapons This is a great option if you want to learn about North Korea and the regime, since Fifield goes through a lot of history, and is very detailed in her explanations I enjoyed her detailed recounting of her own experiences, and her interviews with those who knew Kim Jong Un, or were affected by his rule those exiled from the ruling class, or those who ran illegal businesses on the border between North Korea and China However, all of the detail piles up and makes this a rather slow read After a while, I found the endless interviews and details to be a bit much, and at times, repetitive Some bits of interviews or pieces of Kim s origin story were repeated, and I felt that I was hearing the same thing over again I ll give this four stars for scholarship and the amount of knowledge poured into it, since I think it is a strong work in that sense, but as a casual reader, it was a bit too serious for me

  10. Casper Veen says:

    One of the best books on North Korea I have read in years Very well researched and as complete as a biography of Kim Jong Un can get Based on many interviews and a lot of research, recommended to anyone interested in the North Korean leader.

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