The first co-author, John H. Cha, is an Oakland-based award-winning translator of Korean literature. The second, K.J. Sohn, is an editor-in-chief for The Daily NK and former secretary to North Korea‘s highest ranking defector, Hwang Jang-yop.
Together, Cha and Sohn have written Exit Emperor Kim Jong-il, a March 1 book release that tells the story of the Dear Leader’s rise through the eyes of Jang-yop. The pair worked from eight years’ worth of gathered defector data. Since Jang-yop was a mentor of Kim Jong-il, his battle against the evolving greed of, essentially, a son who destroyed his dad’s legacy is that much more compelling.
I’m not sure why the authors decided to release a promotional press release on April Fool’s Day. Perhaps the selection of the date was intentional, in the sense that they wanted to convey that the topic of their book is in no way a joke. From today’s missive:
As a young philosopher and later the president of Kim Il-sung University, Hwang believed in the Juche ideals, meaning self-reliance, which was a map to utopia for North Koreans. Unfortunately, the young and ambitious Kim Jong-il turned this Utopian manifesto into an instrument for his own rise to power.
Hwang felt that Kim Jong-il’s greed for power was responsible for the mass starvation in North Korea during the ‘90s and he wanted to tell the world about it.
At the moment, there is no e-book version available of the 192-page tome, just hardcover and paperback editions. Exit Emperor Kim Jong-il is being distributed by Abbott Press, an imprint of Writer’s Digest magazine that helps authors self-publish.