£28.99 | $36.95

15 July 2007
ISBN: 9781842779057
352 pages
234 x 153mm

Economics, History, Politics

North Korea

The Paranoid Peninsula: A Modern History

By Paul French

This reissue of Paul French's acclaimed introduction to North Korea provides an up-to-the-minute overview of the politics, economics and history of the DPRK, with added chapters dealing with recent events. A new foreword examines why North Korea remains an issue in world politics and argues that an understanding of the country is more important now than ever. A new in-depth postscript offers analysis of recent years, why Pyongyang felt compelled to test a bomb and revert to blatant nuclear diplomacy, and how the crisis can be resolved peacefully.


'This longer historical view is essential, if one is to grasp not only what drives the North Korean regime but what it shares (to the growing irritation of the Americans) with the South.' - John Gittings, Guardian

'French certainly knows his stuff, and there is no shortage of good arguments and facts as he details this thesis and its worrying implications. This is a book packed with information without being emotional or rhetorical as the subject tends to make people.' - Asia Times

'North Korea stuck with the Stalinism and is now on the point of collapse, with millions suffering from starvation and the remainder overworked and underfed. Explaining how and why this has all come about and what might happen in the future is French's task in this book.' - John Walsh, Professor at Shinawatra International University, Bangkok, Asian Review of Books

'Throughout the book, French is careful to consider the role of historical events and outside state actors in shaping North Korea...'North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula - A Modern History serves as an excellent introduction for anyone hoping to develop an understanding of why the world deals with this isolated regime the way it does, and how the regime continues to survive despite failures that seem obvious from the outside.' - The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

'French's new book on North Korea should help educate and entertain anyone interested in this subject.' - Journal of Asian Studies


'Fact-packed and readable, this is a fine introduction for the general reader to a troubling land. Once again at the cutting edge of a post-colonial hot spot, trust Zed to tell it like it really is.' - Aidan Foster-Carter, Leeds University, UK; Author of Korea's Coming Reunification and many other works on the peninsula

'Paul French has written a thorough and erudite book that offers many intriguing insights about the world's most mysterious country led by an equally mysterious regime. The book's main merit is that the author ignores empty "axis-of-evil" rhetoric in an effort to concisely inform his reader.' - Lutz Kleveman, author of The New Great Game:Blood and Oil in Central Asia (2003)

'Paul French's book on North Korea is a comprehensive look at one of the world's most secretive countries. It is a miracle that he has been able to find out so much about a country that publishes no data, highly restricts visits by foreigners and bans its people from talking to them without official approval. I praise his objective and documentary style, about a country that lends itself easily to polemics.' - Mark O'Neill, Shanghai correspondent for South China Morning Post

'Paul French has provided a well-researched A-Z primer on the history, politics, culture and even day-to-day life of North Korea.' - Peter Gordon, Editor, The Asian Review of Books and Chairman, Russian Interest Group, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce

'A useful introduction to this most opaque nation. The reportage and historical perspectives are illuminating.' - Joe Studwell, Editor in chief, China Economic Quarterly (CEQ) and author of The China Dream

'Rich in detail, well researched, Paul French's thorough yet readable book is a fascinating and valuable addition to our scant knowledge of this singularly secretive, country.' - Catherine Armitage, China bureau chief, The Australian

'A profound and comprehensive analysis of the DPRK’s political and socio-economic peculiarities'
'A dispassionate analysis.' - Acta Koreana

Table of Contents

Abbreviations, Spellings and Figures
Part 1: The Juche Nation - Beloved Leaders, Brilliant Thoughts, Power Cuts and Empty Shelves
1. A Normal Day in Pyongyang
2. The Juche State - Political Theory in North Korea
3. The Revolutionary Dynasty - Leadership in North Korea
Part 2: The Economics of North Korea - Chollima, Speed Battles, Collapse and Famine
4. Economics Pyongyang Style - Command and Control
5. The Worst of Times - Food, Famine & the Arduous March
6. The Start of a Sort of Reform - Change & Regime Survival
7. The Reality of Reform - A Case Study of Sinuiju
Part 3: Diplomacy and Military - Foreign Relations, Nuclear Crisis and Self-Defence
8. Don't Poke the Snake - US-DPRK Relations
9. Nuclear Ambitions Revealed - Bluster, Brinkmanship or Battle?
10. Something Different Emerges - Military-First
Part 4: Change, Collapse and Reunification
11. One Korea - The Dream of Reunification
12. The End is Nigh - How Will the Story of the DPRK Finish?
13. Conclusion - The World's Most Dangerous Tripwire
14. Postscript

About the Author:

Paul French is the Chief China Representative of Access Asia, a market research and business intelligence company specialising in China and North Asia's economics and markets. He was educated in London and at the University of Glasgow. He is the co-author of One Billion Shoppers - Accessing Asia's Consuming Passions (1998) and author of Carl Crow - A Tough Old China Hand: The Life, Times, and Adventures of an American in Shanghai (2006). He lives in Shanghai.