Kim Il Sung and Korea’s Struggle

An Unconventional Firsthand History


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About the Book

In 1910, Japan took control over Korea by military and political force. Then, in 1945, Korea was arbitrarily divided by the Soviet Union and the United States into North and South Korea. The Soviets impeded all United Nations efforts to hold elections and reunite the country under one government. Korea has been struggling for independence and reunification ever since.
In this memoir, Won Tai Sohn recollects the unusually harsh Japanese treatment of Korean people in Korea, Manchuria, China and Japan, and remembers his close relationship with North Korean president Kim Il Sung from their boyhood to President Kim’s sudden death in 1994. According to Dr. Sohn, President Kim devoted his entire life to the liberation of Korea, starting with fighting against the Japanese stationed in North Korea and China. He became the first premier of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea when it was established in 1948, and led his nation in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. In 1993, President Kim’s nuclear program and defense policy became a great concern for the United States when intelligence analysis estimated that North Korea was less than two years away from being able to strike South Korea and Japan with nuclear missiles. President Kim died two months after talks with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter about ending North Korea’s nuclear program.

About the Author(s)

The late Won Tai Sohn, M.D., was a physician and professor and lived in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bibliographic Details

Won Tai Sohn, M.D.
Forewords by G. Cameron Hurst ; and In Kwan Hwang, ; Introduction by Samuel S. Song
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: photos, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1589-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by In Kwan Hwang      1

Foreword by G. Cameron Hurst III      5

Preface (by Won Tai Sohn)      11

Introduction by Samuel S. Song      15

Part I : My First Relationship with President Kim Il Sung

1. My Childhood      21

2. My Father, the Reverend Sohn Jong Do      28

3. Jilin, China      42

4. The Association of Korean Children in Jilin      51

5. My Thoughts on the Soul of the Nation      58

6. An Unfading Picture in My Mind      66

7. A Campaign to Get Ahn Chang Ho Released from Detention      71

Part II : Hearing the Legendary Tales of General Kim Il Sung

8. The Crossroads of Our Lives      81

9. An Article Carried in the Shanghai Dagongbao      89

10. In the Nagasaki Prison      97

11. Love Overcomes My Depression      103

12. To Testify to the Truth of History      110

13. The Road to Pyongyang      120

Part III : My Reunion with President Kim Il Sung

14. “Where Have You Been Only to Come Now?”      131

15. With the Mind of My Own Brother      138

16. A “White House” on the Mountain      152

17. For the Benefit of the People      159

18. Applying the Truth of Independence to Practice      165

19. Genuine Patriotism      174

20. A Noble and Clean Country      181

21. Unchanged Friendship      188

22. On the River Taedong      193

Part IV : President Kim Il Sung Is Immortal

23. Overcome with Shock by Unexpected News      205

24. My 80th Birthday Celebrated in Pyongyang      211

25. Leader Kim Jong Il      218

26. For Eternal Friendship      224

27. My Brother, Won Yil, Is Memorialized      232

Index      237

Book Reviews & Awards

“a fascinating snapshot of Kim’s early life in Manchurian exile…demonstrates what Kim meant for many Koreans…manages to explain much about the sheer longevity of the North Korean experiment”—Korean Quarterly.