Photo with 11 notes
It’s been many years since I read Lee Ki-baek’s “A New History of Korea.” In need of a refresher course, I recently turned to the 2006 book “Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea” by Keith Pratt, professor emeritus at Durham University. What a lucky choice — it was exactly what I was looking for.
The book doesn’t provide an exhaustive inventory of names, dates and key events. Instead, it almost reads like an extended essay as it touches on the major highlights of Korean history while emphasizing well-informed, opinionated analysis over comprehensive coverage.
As Pratt explains in the preface, “This is not the kind of in-depth study that comes from concentrated research and a well-earned PhD thesis. Rather it is a personal impression of a country, formed over a half a lifetime’s subjective and loving (if sometimes frustrated) acquaintance with it.”
The author also notes that he originally wanted to subtitle the book, “The Role of Culture in the Evolution of Korea,” which gives you a sense of where he’s coming from.