Korean Politics: The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development

Synopsis

Extraordinary political and economic changes have rocked the Republic of Korea over the past fifty years. John Oh, a Korean-born political scientist, has written a clear and insightful account of government and politics throughout this turbulent period. His chronological and thematic study analyzes both the conflicts between authoritarian forces and populist/democratic elements and the nation's determined efforts to achieve economic growth. In relating Korea's transformation to a democratic society and an industrial state, Oh explains how the country's politics and economy are interrelated. He covers the launching of the first democratic republic, the emergence of military regimes, and the growth of the middle class and the civil society. He also reveals the causes of collusion between political and economic groups which led to corruption, structural anomalies, and economic crises. Korean Politics is the first English-language book to draw on original Korean-language sources including testimonies from the trials of former presidents in its analysis of their military-dominated governments. The book concludes with succinct discussions on the first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition leader, Kim Dae-jung. Timely and authoritative, it is an ideal classroom text and an indispensable reference on contemporary Korea.

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