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Asian Studies Scholar's Book Listed Among Best for 2012

Victor Cha

Victor Cha

February 12, 2013 Foreign Affairs magazine has selected Georgetown professor Victor Cha’s book on North Korea as one of the most important books on Asia and the Pacific published during the last year.

Cha’s book, Impossible State: North Korea, Past Present and Future (Ecco, 2012), was named one of the Best Books of 2012 for delving into North Korean society, economy, politics and foreign policy.

“Cha explains, among other things, why the much-abused North Korean people seem to love the ruling Kim dynasty,” says Andrew Nathan, a political scientist at Columbia University, in his review of Cha’s book, “[and] why life in Pyongyang looks normal despite a long-running famine, why the West underplays human rights when negotiating with North Korea and why Beijing supports Pyongyang despite tensions between the two governments.”

Cha says he wrote Impossible State for a more general audience, based in serious scholarship but minus the jargon, and related his experience in government. Before Cha became the D.S. Song-KF Endowed Chair in Goverment and International Affairs, he served on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. 

“There are many good scholarly journals in our field that Ph.D. students and professors read, but in terms of what policymakers, financiers and opinion makers read in international relations, it is Foreign Affairs,” says Cha. “So it was a real honor to see them choose my book.”

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