“The New Koreans” – An interview with the author Michael Breen – 12 June 2017

Posted by: Cathy Kim  |  Posted on: June 27th, 2017


Chris Hollands (left) and Michael Breen

An entertaining evening with author Michael Breen and BKS Treasurer Chris Hollands was held at the Korean Cultural Centre UK on 12 June 2017.

Chris interviewed Mike about his new book: “The New Koreans: The Business, History and People of South Korea.”

This was followed by a lively question and answer session with the audience and an opportunity to buy signed copies of the book. The evening ended with a convivial Korean buffet and wine.


Publisher’s Description:

In the course of a couple of generations, South Koreans took themselves out of the paddy fields and into Silicon Valley, establishing themselves as a democracy alongside the advanced countries of the world. Yet for all their ambition and achievement, the new Koreans are a curiously self-deprecating people. Theirs is a land with a rich and complex past, certain aspects of which they would prefer to forget as they focus on the future.

Having lived and worked in South Korea for many years, Michael Breen considers what drives the nation today, and where it is heading. Through insightful anecdotes and observations, he provides a compelling portrait of Asia’s most contradictory and polarized country. South Koreans are motivated by defiance, Breen argues: defiance of their antagonistic neighbour, North Korea, of their own history and of international opinion.
Here is an overlooked nation with great drive, determined to succeed on its own terms.

Review by BKS Treasurer Chris Hollands:

Michael’s first book, “The Koreans”, originally published back in 1998 was a seminal work and a “must read” for all expats going to Korea. It was comprehensive and I wondered how he was going to follow it up.

The clue is in the second part of the title “The business, history and people of South Korea”. Over some 400 pages it explains exactly that and I learnt a huge amount about a country that I thought I understood, although I had lived there for six years, have a Korean wife, an extended Korean family and even a home which I visit two or three times a year. Read more

About the Author:

Michael Breen is a writer and consultant who first went to Korea as a correspondent in 1982. He covered North and South Korea for several newspapers, including the Guardian, The Times and the Washington Times. He lives in Seoul.

One Response

  1. […] The latter review is available for free on the TLS website, and the magazine is available for £3.50 at good newsagents. The British Korean Society is hosting a conversation with Mike Breen on 12 June. […]

Leave a Comment