The Great Successor
The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong Un
By Anna Fifield
The behind-the-scenes story of the rise and reign of the world's strangest and most elusive tyrant, Kim Jong Un, by the journalist with the best connections and insights into the bizarrely dangerous world of North Korea.
The Great Successor is an irreverent yet insightful quest to understand the life of Kim Jong Un, one of the world's most secretive dictators. Kim's life is swathed in myth and propaganda, from the plainly silly--he supposedly ate so much Swiss cheese that his ankles gave way--to the grimly bloody stories of the ways his enemies and rival family members have perished at his command.
One of the most knowledgeable journalists on modern Korea, Anna Fifield has exclusive access to Kim's aunt and uncle who posed as his parents while he was growing up in Switzerland, members of the entourage that accompanied Dennis Rodman on his quasi-ambassadorial visits with Kim, and the Japanese sushi chef whom Kim befriended and who was the first outsider to identify him as the inevitable successor to his father as supreme ruler. She has been able to create a captivating portrait of the oddest and most isolated political regime in the world, one that is broken yet able to summon a US president for peace talks, bankrupt yet in possession of nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un; ridiculous but deadly, and a man of our times.
Anna Fifield is the Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post, and was previous the Tokyo bureau chief focusing on Japan and the Koreas. Previously she worked for the Financial Times for 13 years. During her time there, she reported from almost 20 countries, from Iran and Libya to North Korea and Australia. During the 2013-2014 academic year, she was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard, studying how change happens in closed societies and she is the 2018 Shorenstein Journalism Award recipient for her outstanding reporting on Asia. Her work has appeared in Slate, and she has been a regular commentator on radio and television, including NPR.
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- Publication date:
13 Jun 2019
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