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"With a political system that is seen as bizarre in the West, and a developing nuclear program, too much of our attention is directed at North Korea as a state. Suzy Kim's book is an important contribution to overcome that bias and to point our attention at the individuals who lived in that country in its formative years. We need more research like this." -- Rudiger Frank, Professor of East Asian Economy and Society, University of Vienna, Austria "This well-researched and innovative book will be welcomed not only by scholars in East Asian and Korean studies but also by a broader audience interested in questions of revolution and everyday life. With a rigorous comparative and historical perspective Suzy Kim presents a compelling and sympathetic look at illiterate tenant farmers swept up in revolution." -- Henry Em, Underwood International College, Yonsei University, author of The Great Enterprise: Sovereignty and Historiography in Modern Korea "Concisely establishing the various lacunae and epistemological ossifications that hamstring studies of North Korea, this book makes a persuasive case for the significance of its subject. Kim argues that the everyday, especially in the formative years of the nation-state (1945-1950), posited a space for contestation, contingency, and construction by both state and society, which led to the formation of what she calls 'socialist modernity.'... Kim deftly mobilizes a range of materials, including statistics, photos, interviews, and official reports.... This is in many ways a pioneering work, the first analysis of North Korean social history in its formative years. Argued with finesse and supported by rich empirical research, it is undoubtedly an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the history of North Korea, everyday forms of socialism, and social history." -- Hyung-Gu Lynn * American Historical Review * "Kim's book is a pioneering contribution to the articulation of a new paradigm. Putting it even more directly, she provides fresh, and often compelling, answers to a most fundamental question: How should the history of North Korea be written, especially in the aftermath of the Cold War? Suzy Kim has written an important book that deserves to be read widely by historians of North Korea, as well as by those of comparative communism and revolutionary processes." * Journal of Korean Studies * "Kim's work stays focused on various 'everyday' people as examples of how the North Korean revolution enabled regular peasants to build a new socialist modernity uniquely theirs. The author relies on oral histories and archival sources to bring these marginalized histories to light. Kim is well read across Korean, Russian, and Chinese sources as well as scholarship on North Korea. Her innovative approach is... a step forward from the typical Cold War approach.... Summing Up: Highly recommended." * Choice * "[On] the whole Kim's argument that the revolution was largely home-grown remains convincing. Especially fascinating are her chapters on the role of women in the revolution, and her exploration of the autobiographies that all adult North Koreans had to draft to show how their individual life stories fitted within the larger framework of Korea's recent history and the revolution." -- Michael Rochlitz * Europe-Asia Studies *Reseña del editor:
During the founding of North Korea, competing visions of an ideal modern state proliferated. Independence and democracy were touted by all, but plans for the future of North Korea differed in their ideas about how everyday life should be organized. Daily life came under scrutiny as the primary arena for social change in public and private life. In Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, Kim examines the revolutionary events that shaped people's lives in the development of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. By shifting the historical focus from the state and the Great Leader to how villagers experienced social revolution, Kim offers new insights into why North Korea insists on setting its own course.Kim's innovative use of documents seized by U.S. military forces during the Korean War and now stored in the National Archives-personnel files, autobiographies, minutes of organizational meetings, educational materials, women's magazines, and court documents-together with oral histories allows her to present the first social history of North Korea during its formative years. In an account that makes clear the leading role of women in these efforts, Kim examines how villagers experienced, understood, and later remembered such events as the first land reform and modern elections in Korea's history, as well as practices in literacy schools, communal halls, mass organizations, and study sessions that transformed daily routine.
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