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Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy (New Cold War History)by Gregg Brazinsky
Synopses & Reviews
"[One of] the most interesting books about South Korea. . . . For those who wonder how Korea came to be so heavily influenced by the U.S., historian Gregg Brazinsky has some answers. The author presents South Korea as a successful example of American nation building during the Cold War."
-Wall Street Journal
"A major contribution to the study of a crucial period of South Korean development. . . . A particularly important and timely book, as it not only details the close US-South Korean co-operation and the extent of US assistance in this period, but it also underscores the difficulties that external assistance faces in the process of nation-building."
-International History Review "A fine example of the new international history. . . . An excellent analysis of a bilateral relationship."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society "Brazinsky has produced a highly original and provocative study."
-Chen Jian, Cornell University "Offers a complex and compelling narrative of the multilateral social, cultural and political connections between Americans and South Koreans during South Korea's formative years."
-Pacific Affairs "Iluminates [a] complex dynamic in U.S.-South Korean relations."
-Korean Quarterly "Brazinsky's fluency in the Korean language and tremendous research efforts allow him to present the voices of the people of the South and the formative role they played in their own evolution in more depth and sophistication that those who have written before him. . . . International history at its very best."
-Journal of American History "A refreshing, insightful look at nation building via South Korea. . . . Highly recommended."
In this ambitious and innovative study Gregg Brazinsky examines American nation building in South Korea during the Cold War. Marshalling a vast array of new American and Korean sources, he explains why South Korea was one of the few postcolonial nations that achieved rapid economic development and democratization by the end of the twentieth century. Brazinsky contends that a distinctive combination of American initiatives and Korean agency enabled South Korea's stunning transformation. On one hand, Americans supported the emergence of a developmental autocracy that spurred economic growth in a highly authoritarian manner. On the other hand, Americans sought to encourage democratization from the bottom up by fashioning new institutions and promoting a dialogue about modernization and development.
Expanding the framework of traditional diplomatic history, Brazinsky examines not only state-to-state relations, but also the social and cultural interactions between Americans and South Koreans. He shows how Koreans adapted, resisted, and transformed American influence and promoted socioeconomic change that suited their own aspirations. Ultimately, Brazinsky argues, Koreans' capacity to tailor American institutions and ideas to their own purposes was the most important factor in the making of a democratic South Korea.
Brazinsky explains why South Korea was one of the few postcolonial nations that achieved rapid economic development and democratization by the end of the twentieth century. He contends that a distinctive combination of American initiatives and Korean agency enabled South Korea's stunning transformation. Expanding the framework of traditional diplomatic history, Brazinsky examines not only state-to-state relations, but also the social and cultural interactions between Americans and South Koreans. He shows how Koreans adapted, resisted, and transformed American influence and promoted socioeconomic change that suited their own aspirations.
About the Author
Gregg Brazinsky is assistant professor of history at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.
Table of Contents
1. Security over Democracy
2. Institution Building: Civil Society
3. Institution Building: The Military
4. Toward Developmental Autocracy
5. Development over Democracy
6. Engaging South Korean Intellectuals
7. Molding South Korean Youth
8. Toward Democracy
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History and Social Science » Asia » Korea