‘Excellent… Former CIA analyst Jung H. Pak cuts through the regime’s opacity and the fog of gossip.’
Becoming Kim Jong Un
Understanding North Korea’s Young DictatorJung H. Pak
‘The young dictator comes under close scrutiny in this intelligent account’ Sunday Times
When Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea in 2011, many expected his rule to be short. Years later, he remains the unchallenged dictator of a nuclear rogue state with weaponry capable of threatening the West.
In this behind-the-scenes look, former CIA analyst and North Korea expert Jung H. Pak reveals the explosive story of Kim Jong II’s third son: the spoilt and impetuous child, the mediocre student, the ruthless murderer, the shrewd grand strategist.
‘Jung H. Pak has managed to shed more light on the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, than virtually anyone… An important book, both for the professional expert and for those who simply want to gain insight into the “hermit kingdom” and its enigmatic leader.’
‘The young dictator comes under close scrutiny in this intelligent account.’
‘[Becoming Kim Jong Un] could be the most definitive account of North Korea’s supreme leader.’
‘[An] expert assessment… An insightful analysis of perhaps the world’s most dangerous dystopia.’
‘How did a lazy, basketball-loving kid become the world's shrewdest tyrant by the age of twenty-six? Jung H. Pak's brilliant analysis strips away Kim's cult, bluster, and caricature to reveal a mind that is quite chillingly rational, with a rat-like cunning for out-smarting his enemies, be they close family members or nuclear-armed states. Easily the most insightful portrait of the man behind the propaganda.’
‘Jung Pak exudes the authority and glamour of the spook.’
‘Jung H. Pak’s sober but absorbing portrait of North Korea’s leader should be the starting point for any scholar, journalist, or policymaker trying to make sense of the most dangerous regime on earth. Pak ties together biography, national security analysis, and policy prescription with the precision one would expect from a scholar and former intelligence officer.’
‘Becoming Kim Jong Un is the most complete account to date of a dictator who has too often been caricatured by the public. Highly readable, thoughtful, and dispassionate, this book offers important insights into an enigmatic leader who will shape the destiny of not only the Korean Peninsula but of the Northeast Asian region and the world. It’s the next best thing to receiving a top-secret CIA briefing.’
‘Cogently and concisely treating a broad sweep of issues central to North Korea, Dr Pak makes an essential contribution to the collective understanding of one of the world’s most dangerous and complex problems. It is must-read for the expert and casual observer alike.’