Author: Kim Dae-jung
2-vol. set | Hardcover | 234*158mm
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|>>>This book is written in Korean.|
About This Book
Late Kim's autobiography chronicles life of big man
The late President Kim Dae-jung was a man who symbolized the checkered modern Korean history.
He lived through it, defined it and very often suffered it. The 2000 Nobel Peace Prize winner known as the "Nelson Mandela of Asia" left a lengthy legacy and controversies, including an autobiography coming out Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of death.
"We don't know what President Kim was foreseeing," said Park Jie-won, the Democratic Party floor leader and one of Kim's closest aides, during a press conference at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library in Seoul Thursday."But he'd always told us to publish his autobiography after he passed away. We regret that his wish has somehow come true." Park noted that the members working on the autobiography and the publisher wanted the book to get published while Kim was living.
The "Kim Dae-jung Autobiography" marks the conclusion of a 6-year endeavor to chronicle the late president‘s life. Kim started preparing for the book in 2004, one year after leaving the Blue House. He completed 41 interviews with his publication team from 2004 to 2006. Kim Taeg-kyen, an editorial writer at the Kyunghyang Daily News, whom the late president chose to be the writer of the book, wrote the first copy based on the interview transcripts.
Throughout 2008 and right up to his hospitalization in July 2009, Kim polished the drafts and verbally requested to add missing information. His wife, Lee Hui-ho, then finalized the text and wrote the introduction, as a letter to her late husband.
"I think of the 47 years we‘d shared everyday," Lee wrote. "I've always loved you and respected you. I will love you and pray for you till the day I die."
The former first lady appeared calm and collected at the press conference. "If this book can inspire many people, especially the young children, that would make my late husband very happy," she said.
"I hope to see this book being translated into many different languages, make differences in more people‘s lives, and especially contribute to the world peace," she added.
The autobiography consists of two parts. The first part deals with his early life as a country boy under Japanese colonial rule to his unyielding political journey for Korea's democratization. It includes his kidnapping at the hands of KCIA agents for his criticism of President Park Chung-hee's authoritarian rule in 1973, and the death sentence he received in 1980 under the Chun Doo-hwan administration.
Kim Sung-jae, executive director of Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library, said modern Korean history is incomparable. "President Kim had gone through the colonial Japanese rule, Korean War, military authoritarianism and even economic crisis," he said at the press conference.
"For the young, the book will be a guide of hope. For the academics, it will be a rare historical material. For politicians, it will be a political handbook. And for the international public, it will be a treasure that reminds them of what it really means to protect democracy and human rights."
The second part of the book reflects on Kim's Blue House years from 1998-2003, and the remaining years till his death. Kim's handling of the economic crisis, the "sunshine policy" of engagement toward North Korea, the historic summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000 and hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup fill the pages.
Kim's personal accounts of his mother and wife, nostalgic thoughts on his hometown, critical view of the Lee Myung-bak government and memories of meeting Kim Jong-il both humanize Kim.
"President Lee visited me when he was a presidential candidate," Kim wrote in the book. "He told me a few times that he agreed with the sunshine policy. I saw him as a pragmatic person, and believed he wouldn‘t go against the broad general thought. It seems like he doesn't understand what ‘pragmatic' means, which is for the larger good for the public, universally."
The book is currently being translated into Japanese. It will be translated into English, Chinese and many other European and South East Asian languages.
The conference ended with a screening of video footage of Kim giving an interview.
The book will be available in stores starting July 31.
By Claire Lee (email@example.com)
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