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BEST Korean History Books You Must Read

There are countless Korean History courses, tutorials, articles available online, but for some, having a book is still a necessity to learn. This is an up-to-date list of recommended books.

A History of Korea (Macmillan Essential Histories) (2016)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadPresenting the richness of Korean civilization from early state formation to the jarring transformations resulting in two distinctive trajectories of modern development, this book introduces the country’s major historical events, patterns, and debates. Organised both chronologically and thematically, it explore recurring themes such as Korean identity, external influence, and family and gender.
Author(s): Kyung Moon Hwang

A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present (2016)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadNow in a fully revised and updated edition, this comprehensive book surveys Korean history from Neolithic times to the present. Michael J. Seth explores the origins and development of Korean society, politics, and still little-known cultural heritage from their inception to the two Korean states of today.
Author(s): Michael J. Seth

Sources of Korean Tradition, Vol. 1: From Early Times Through the 16th Century (Introduction to Asian Civilizations) (1996)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadDrawn from Peter H. Lee’s Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, Volume I, this abridged introductory collection offers students and general readers primary readings in the social, intellectual, and religious traditions of Korea from ancient times through the sixteenth century.
Author(s): Peter H. Lee, Wm. Theodore de Bary, et al.

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) (2017)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must Read“There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones.” In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought.
Author(s): Min Jin Lee

The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) (2011)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadA BRACING ACCOUNT OF A WAR THAT IS EITHER MISUNDERSTOOD, FORGOTTEN, OR WILLFULLY IGNORED For Americans, it was a discrete conflict lasting from 1950 to 1953. But for the Asian world the Korean War was a generations-long struggle that still haunts contemporary events. With access to new evidence and secret materials from both here and abroad, including an archive of captured North Korean documents, Bruce Cumings reveals the war as it was actually fought.
Author(s): Bruce Cumings

The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture (2014)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadA FRESH, FUNNY, UP-CLOSE LOOK AT HOW SOUTH KOREA REMADE ITSELF AS THE WORLD’S POP CULTURE POWERHOUSE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURYBy now, everyone in the world knows the song “Gangnam Style” and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song’s international popularity is no passing fad.
Author(s): Euny Hong

Korea: The Impossible Country: South Korea’s Amazing Rise from the Ashes: The Inside Story of an Economic, Political and Cultural Phenomenon (Revised & Expanded) (2018)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must Read“Daniel Tudor covers all the important issues, yet does not simply tell the more familiar stories, but looks deeper and wider to give the full story of Korea today.” In just fifty years, South Korea has transformed itself from a failed state, ruined and partitioned by war and decades of colonial rule, into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. How was it able to achieve this with no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule?
Author(s): Daniel Tudor

Korean Americans: A Concise History (2019)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadKorean Americans: A Concise History tells the untold stories of the pioneering immigrants, the newly discovered tale of the first Koreatown USA, and about the first Korean aviator. The textbook conveys the Korean American experience by highlighting important moments, people, and incidents that defines this small community.
Author(s): Edward T. Chang

This Kind of War: The Classic Korean War History, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (2001)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadSelected for the 2019 Commandant's Professional Reading List  Updated with maps, photographs, and battlefield diagrams, this special fiftieth anniversary edition of the classic history of the Korean War is a dramatic and hard-hitting account of the conflict written from the perspective of those who fought it.
Author(s): T.R. Fehrenbach

The Girl with Seven Names (2016)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERAn extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime.
Author(s): Hyeonseo Lee, David John

A History of Korea (Palgrave Essential Histories) (2010)

 BEST Korean History Books You Must ReadA concise, lively history of Korea, which explores the richness of Korean civilization from the ancient era through to the jarring transformation that resulted in two distinctive trajectories through the modern world. Chapters flow both chronologically and thematically, covering themes such as identity, gender and fami…
Author(s): Kyung Hwang

Best Korean History Books You Must Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some korean history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Voices of the Korean Comfort Women: History Rewritten from Memories

Author(s): Chungmoo Choi, Hyunah Yang
ID: 3540100, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2023, Size: 8 Mb, Format: pdf

Twice Forgotten: African Americans and the Korean War, an Oral History

Author(s): David P. Cline
ID: 3197956, Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press, Year: 2022, Size: 6 Mb, Format: epub

The North Korean Army: History, Structure, Daily Life

Author(s): Fyodor Tertitskiy
ID: 3526047, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2022, Size: 18 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not final. Some books are really record-breakers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are composed by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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