Archive | My Life That Was Korea: 1990 – ? RSS feed for this section

Shootout in the JSA

We had ourselves a little incident in the Joint Security Area (JSA) this week when a North Korean soldier defected to the South. This was the story reported by CBS News: SEOUL, South Korea — Four North Korean soldiers fired about 40 rounds at a comrade fleeing into South Korea and hit him five times in the first […]

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Nuclear Blues

Bradley Martin, the man who wrote the book on North Korea with his Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, was in Seoul recently at What the Book? Bookstore talking about his new book, Nuclear Blues. His new book is a thriller set in North Korea that has everything from evangelists running around, nuclear missiles, a […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part IV

This is Part IV of a five-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired by Barry Lancet’s geopolitical thriller, The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about the DMZ and JSA. This originally appeared in Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm. “How would you like to fly up to the […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part III

This is Part III of a five-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired by Barry Lancet’s The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about “the scariest place on the earth.” Did someone say road trip to the DMZ? That’s what happened in August 2000 when I was invited back to the JSA, […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part II

This is Part II of a four-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired in part by Barry Lancet’s The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about the DMZ and JSA. Summer 2000. Somehow I had talked myself into writing feature stories about the 50th anniversary of the Korean War for the Korea […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part I

I just finished Barry Lancet’s heart-pounding geopolitical thriller, The Spy Across the Table, and I really enjoyed the scenes which took place in and around the DMZ on the Korean peninsula. Having been there several times, both as a tourist and a feature writer for The Korea Times, I appreciate those authors writing about events […]

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The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation

The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation By Michael Breen Hardcover: 480 pages Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (April 4, 2017) When it comes to writing about Korea—its people, culture, and history—there is no one better up to that onerous task than Michael Breen who has devoted most of his life observing and writing about […]

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Proof Day

You know the adage, “the proof is in the pudding?” Well, that’s how I felt when I received my proof of Bureau 39 in the mail today. It’s a big day when you see the physical copy of your book for the first time. It’s a thrill that never gets old. Even though I had […]

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National Geographic — December 1979

One of my prized possessions is a 1979 issue of National Geographic that I bought on eBay to remind me of what it was like to come to Korea in 1990. It was late summer 1990. Iraq had invaded Kuwait, Die Hard 2 and Ghost were two of the summer’s hottest movies, and I had […]

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A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

Not much of a rainy season in Korea this summer. Had some torrential rain for about three days in mid-June. Hasn’t rained much since. Now that August has arrived, we are entering typhoon season. Had some really wicked typhoon seasons in the late 90s. I remembering coming back to Shinch’on from teaching a class at […]

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