He retraced the route taken by the first known Europeans to see Korea, seventeenth century Dutch seamen and merchants who had been shipwrecked and were virtual prisoners but who nevertheless left a written record. A primary source, albeit from a deeply British viewpoint Koreans speaking English and their ability described as 'execrable'--ouch! The price of steel plate and the costs of fuel oil, the insurance rates for the Strait of Hormuz and the cumbersome tables of freight rates for the North Atlantic Conference remain among the arcana that I could never hope to master. And, sadly, no one wears hanbok any more. Maybe it's just Winchester's delivery, or his British background, but, for example, he never details significant language barriers with anyone he meets. Winchester uses intriguing and creative prose; I most enjoyed the portraits of people and landscape that he illustrated. Through his career at The Guardian, Winchester covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal. Every woman he met was reduced to her appearance, yet nary a mention was made of the misogyny that permeates Korean culture.
If you're interested in the culture, I'd definately suggest it--you might even experience a little bit of wanderlust, which is always good. Great style, and great way of describing a country. And I think there was a messy war in the fifties that led to partition; the South became prosperous; the North became weird. Even granting how long ago the book was written, it's striking how little Winchester comments on the desperate plight of women. Winchester also spends a great deal of time talking about the people he met, from farmers to Buddhist monks and nuns, Irish Catholic priests, businessmen, and guides. In exchange for mere facts, he has broad stroke opinions and views undifferentiated from the general Western perception of the country at the time to regurgitate with a pretense of introspection. Simon Winchester has written about a wide range of historical subjects and has produced bestseller after bestseller.
We do not offer a refund if you change your mind. Only once does he descr Alright, but I actually don't believe much of the book. In the late 1980s, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester set out on foot to discover the Republic of Korea -- from its southern tip to the North Korean border -- in order to set the record straight about this enigmatic and elusive land. He made one remark aluding to the American colonization of Korea, that did make me chuckle when I think back on the British Empire's former holdings, including the U. It's hard to believe that in the country I know such things happened and such a short time ago.
Looking back, Korea had perhaps always seemed a rather ominous place. Alright, but I actually don't believe much of the book. That would be a young Simon, a brilliant young man, but with a tendency to ruffle some feathers here and there. Thus, the contrast with the North wasn't near as striking as today. So much so that one observer expresses the view that, while North Korea is an ugly way to run a country, its people have retained their sense of respect for each other and resisted the Coca-Cola-nisation embraced by the South.
It has small platforms woven into the wire at random, and on each platform stands a Coca-Cola bottle or a pile of pebbles with a device painted in white on them, so finely balanced as to tumble down if ever the fence is disturbed. Its been interesting to see how much has changed since this book was published in 1988. While doing some due diligence on the book before diving into it, I found in one review someone describe it as being similar to a long article in a periodical, lacking in that essential style that makes or breaks a piece of travel literature, it being concerned, principally in my mind, with the relation of the author to the place at hand, not with the place itself per se. Accessible material about the country is hard to come by. One Monday morning an editor came up with the not-unreasonable scheme from my point of. I would, I vowed, go straight for the kokoro, the often-ignored, rarely understood heart of modern Korea.
The trick of detachment while remaining involved in the story is something that eluded the author at this point, but the stories in this book are of a more personal nature than the historical narratives in later volumes. He seems a little too forgiving of that regime, and says nothing about starvation or prisoners, which of course he didn't see. It's a lot like reading the spark notes before the Dostoyevsky. Winchester's gift for capturing engaging characters in true, compelling stories provides us with a treasury of enchanting and informed insight on the culture, language, history, and politics of this little-known corner of Asia. Well, now the fog has cleared, and it's all thanks to Simon Winchester's absorbing and entertaining journey through this fascinating land. From a standing start, I can now say my knowledge of Korea has increased by a hundred thousand per cent, and although I might never get there, this book was the next best thing to experiencing the heart and Seoul of Korea.
I read this book out of a curiosity to see where one of my favorite authors started out, and was pleasantly surprised to find it quite well-written and educational. I have no ground on which to dispute that interpretation of events, but it's annoying. There are still relatively few non-fiction books written about Korea, but this one by New York Times Bestselling author Simon Winchester, has been on the bookshelves since the 1980s. With a roar of drag chains and a muted roar of pride from her Geordie builders, the Esso Northumbria was let go. While it took some getting used to recognizing the old Romanization of names he apologizes beforehand, and obviously it's not his fault , I learned so much about the peninsula's history- perhaps more so than I have learned living in the Once when I became very ill in the Peace Corps, the Medical Officer handed me Winchester's Krakatoa, and ever since I have been a huge fan of his writing. Yes the book has some dodgy parts, but they are thought-provoking in their own way. Kindly be on hand to receive him.
There are people in this world crazy enough to embrace ideas like walking around an entire country retracing the steps of some obscure historical figure. Somehow Simon Winchester had the temerity of doing it in the 80's, from Jeju to Panmujeon, and I hate him for that. There is a more recent foreword in which he talks of traveling to North Korea and of being fond of the people there, too, despite the regime. The Korea he describes is twenty five years old as of this writing, but, is very similar to the Korea I was exposed to from my travels not nearly so wide spread as his. I was torn between rating this book two or three stars.
Remnants of the authoritarian but prosperous Park Chung-Hee era are everywhere, echoes of the Korean Civil War are under every stone, and the beginnings of democracy in the South are on the horizon. Moreover, then the author gives a remarkable means through which the dictionary was written, compiled and published. This confusion extends even to the preface of the second edition, where he mentions his visits to the dictatorship after the book has been published and how he felt it was vaguely more Korean than it's democratic counterpart. Winchester obviously loves Korea and found most of the Koreans he met fascinating. And alas, my wife informs me that barbershops like the one where Winchester enjoys a lengthy massage are no longer to be found.