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What is Bureau 39?

What exactly is the infamous Bureau 39? This is what Wikipedia says: “Room 39 (officially Central Committee Bureau 39 of the Korean Workers’ Party, also referred to as Bureau 39, Division 39, or Office 39) is a secretive North Korean party organization that seeks ways to maintain the foreign currency slush fund for the country’s […]

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Bureau 39: The Beginning

Many people have asked me how did I come up with the story for my latest novel, Bureau 39. The story of Frank Mitchum chasing down an old Army buddy in Korea while trying to cut-off North Korea’s funding for its WMDs started out as a story about a murder in Itaewon, which was based […]

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Bureau 39 — An Excerpt

WRAPPED IN LAYERS of threadbare rayon and vinylon, Kim Min-hee shivered on the shore of the frozen river and hoped she wouldn’t have to wait too long. After traveling for almost two days to get there, she had lain low for another day to watch for military patrols, and had been unable to light a […]

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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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Book Review: Letters from Joseon

Korea in the late nineteenth century was a turbulent time. John Mahelm Berry Sill, the American Minister to Korea from 1894-1897, couldn’t have asked for a more difficult posting. In that time there would be the Sino-Japanese War, the Gabo Reforms, the murder of a Korean queen, and the subsequent refuge of King Gojong in […]

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Hot Summer in Daejeon

It’s sure been hot in Daejeon this summer. As summers have come and gone for me these past twenty-four years in Korea, this summer has been a brutal one. This past Saturday was ipchu, which according to the Korean Lunar Calendar, is the beginning of autumn. The nights have started to get a little cooler, so […]

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Book Review: An American MP in Korea

An American MP in Korea 416 pages Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Synopsis: When Richard Cezar is drafted into the army in the fall of 1965, trained as a military policeman and shipped off to South Korea, he believes that fate has spared him the horrors of a burgeoning war in Vietnam. But instead, he’s […]

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2014 SolBridge Asian Thought Leaders Case Competition

The first-ever SolBridge Asian Thought Leaders Case Competition got underway on Monday, January 20th, featuring twenty-two students from seven universities (SolBridge included) around Asia.

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Picture of the Day: Portrait of an Artist

Seoul’s palaces are a magnet for artists and photographers, especially in autumn and winter. I snapped this photograph ten years ago on one of my visits to Kyongbok Palace which was not far from where I was teaching at the time, Yonsei University. I thought this would make for a nice photo commentary in the […]

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Long Train Runnin’

Sitting here in my apartment on a Tuesday night in Daejeon trying to finish my novel for the 2013 NaNoWriMo contest; in the distance I hear a Korean freight train rumbling through Daejeon Station (about a quarter of a mile away) and just like that I am teleported back to the Illinois Valley, back to […]

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