Even as its rise as a nuclear power unfolds on the nightly news, North Korea remains arguably the most mysterious country in the world. A virtual blackout of statistical information coming from the reclusive regime has shrouded the day-to-day lives of its inhabitants in secrecy. This groundbreaking study--which relies on rare U.N.-assisted household data and carefully scrutinized propaganda materials--offers the first comprehensive examination of the social and economic history of North Korea from its founding in 1948 to the present day. Included are a chronicle of the political formation of the two Koreas, an exploration of the social aspects of life in North Korea, a discussion of the country's economic structure and development, and cutting-edge anthropometric analysis that reveals how life in seclusion has affected the physical development of North Koreans. A concluding socioeconomic forecast predicts what lies ahead for the "hermit kingdom." Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Daniel Schwekendiek holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and has been a scholar at the University of Oxford, Seoul National University, and the University of California at Berkeley. He has published widely on the histories of the two Koreas and their diasporas.