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About the book
  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9781846045202
  • Imprint: Rider
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $35.00

The New Koreans

The Business, History and People of South Korea


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There can hardly be a country in modern Asia that we need to know more about. This book, written by an expert, explains the history, the business and the culture of South Korea, and where its future lies.





'As good a guide to a fascinating country in transformation as you will get.' Management Today

In the course of a couple of generations, South Koreans took themselves out of the paddy fields and into Silicon Valley, establishing themselves as a democracy alongside the advanced countries of the world. Yet for all their ambition and achievement, the new Koreans are a curiously self-deprecating people. Theirs is a land with a rich and complex past, certain aspects of which they would prefer to forget as they focus on the future.

Having lived and worked in South Korea for many years, Michael Breen considers what drives the nation today, and where it is heading. Through insightful anecdotes and observations, he provides a compelling portrait of Asia's most contradictory and polarized country. South Koreans are motivated by defiance, Breen argues: defiance of their antagonistic neighbour, North Korea, of their own history and of international opinion. Here is an overlooked nation with, great drive, determined to succeed on its own terms.

  • Pub date: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9781846045202
  • Imprint: Rider
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $35.00

About the Author

Michael Breen

Michael Breen is a writer and consultant who first went to Korea as a correspondent in 1982. He covered North and South Korea for several newspapers, including the Guardian, The Times and the Washington Times. He lives in Seoul.


Praise for The New Koreans

“‘Breen is at his best in his anecdotes…[he] tells you all the interesting things about the Korea of today’”

Financial Times

“As good a guide to a fascinating country in transformation as you will get.”

Management Today

“A broad and deep exposition of South Korean history, politics, economy and society that will have even the oldest Korea hands going "I never knew that".'”

DANIEL TUDOR, author of Korea: The Impossible Country

“Not only is The New Koreans magnificent in its sweep and depth; as a bonus, it's...fun to read”

BRADLEY K. MARTIN, author of Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader

“[An] informative, deep introduction to this fascinating (and not well-known) country and, in addition, an engaging read.”

ANDREI LANKOV, author of The Dawn of Modern Korea

“Affectionate, critical, full of anecdotes, this is a constantly astonishing and highly readable exploration of Korea's identity.”

HAMISH McDONALD, former Asia-Pacific Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald

“In an age where everyone is sharply critical of everyone else, The New Koreans is a delightful change of pace, pungent observations of Koreans as they see themselves and as outsiders see them, part history, part story telling, all pieces of a beautiful, frustrating, endearing puzzle fit together in a superb way as only a keen, veteran observer as Michael Breen can do.”

JAMES CHURCH, author of A Corpse in the Koryo

“Michael Breen’s excellent “The New Koreans,” an economic, political and social history, shows how South Korea went “from basket case to emerging market” in a period of 40 years. In the process of telling that story, Mr Breen, a British-born journalist who lives in Seoul, explodes many of the excuses frequently used by economists and historians to rationalize the country’s underperformance.”

Wall Street Journal


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