By Michael J. Seth
North Clarendon, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing, 2019
288 pages, ISBN: 978-0804851022, Paperback
Reviewed by Franklin D. Rausch
Michael Seth of James Madison University has a great deal of experience writing textbooks. His A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic to the Nineteenth Century was first published in 2006. It was revised and broken into two volumes: A Concise History of Modern Korea: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present (2009) and A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present (2010). Those volumes, published by Rowman & Littlefield, are still in print. In addition, Seth recently published his North Korea: A History with Redfield Press in 2018. Despite having studied Korea for more than two decades, I have always found reading Seth’s work to be rewarding, as I’m sure to learn something new and gain fresh perspectives. His most recent original work, A Brief History of Korea: Isolation, War, Despotism, and Revival: The Fascinating Story of a Resilient but Divided People, the subject of this review, continues this excellent tradition. This text is especially welcome for its approachable style, making it ideal for classroom use or for instructors who want to learn a lot about Korea in a short amount of time that they can integrate easily into their classes.