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The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters

The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters - B.R. Myers there's something slightly unhinged about Professor B.R. Myers, whose vitriolic takedowns of North Korean 'juche' philosophy have the character of a personal attack--until you learn that Professor Myers is a long-time Korea expat, and surrounded by a culture that notoriously comes off as 'highly emotional' to many Americans and certainly almost all Japanese, Myers himself resorts to loyalty-demonstrating 'takedowns' of unKoreanness in N.K. propaganda as well as forces in his adopted country he despises. the strange mood-swinging dysphoria in Myers' writing ironically echoes the weirdness of North Korea itself, and although Myers' long-standing feud with leftist Bruce Cumings is well known, I'm not sure Professor Cumings deigns to respond. it's the flea raging against the tiger, and the tiger can't be rid of the flea, but the tiger is still looking where to find its next ibix.

Although CLEANEST RACE has plenty of nice propaganda photos and reads fluently, in many ways it comes a distant third to Cumings or even the right-of-centre [a:Barbara Demick|785914|Barbara Demick|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1325069453p2/785914.jpg]. Part of the problem is that Demick is at least trained in journalism, but Myers did all his graduate study in Soviet studies and didn't even work in the East Asian field after getting his degrees. it's cold war geopolitical approaches mixed in with some german and japanese thinking about Korea culture, and while fascinating in its own way, lacks the academic rigor of others in this field.

although a useful edition to the north korea literature, this brief work can't be considered ground-breaking scholarship. there is truth in madness, sometimes, but I'm not sure I'd want to be locked in a room with either a group of north korean soldiers or Professor Myers.