The rise and fall of Jang Song-thaek, son-in-law of the North Korean theocracy – Part 1

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In late 2013, Jang Song-thaek, an uncle of Kim Jong-un was taken to the Gang Gun Military Academy in a Pyongyang suburb. Hundreds of officials were gathered there to witness the execution of Mr. Jang’s two trusted deputies in the administrative department of the ruling Workers’ Party. Jang, widely considered the second-most powerful figure in the North, fainted during the ordeal, according to a new book published in South Korea that offers a rare glimpse into the secretive Pyongyang regime.

“Son-in-Law of a Theocracy,” by Ra Jong-yil, a former deputy director of the National Intelligence Service, is a rich biography of Jang Song-thaek, the most prominent victim of the purges his young nephew has conducted since assuming power in 2011.

Mr. Jang was convicted of treason in 2013, and was executed at the same place and in the same way as his deputies, the South Korean intelligence agency said.

The book asserts that although he was a fixture of the North Korean political elite for decades, he dreamed of reforming his country. “With his execution, North Korea lost virtually the only person there who could have helped the country introduce reform and openness,” Mr. Ra said during a recent interview.   Continued

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4 thoughts on “The rise and fall of Jang Song-thaek, son-in-law of the North Korean theocracy – Part 1

  1. CAROLE LAFOND on said:

    i’d like to read this book and am unable to locate it on the west coast through my library.

    I’ve read many books about north korea and like to follow the country and it’s history. this is not a study, simply an interest of mine as a retired librarian.

    thank you, carole lafond

  2. Bill Joseph on said:

    Has the book been translated into English yet? My communication with a South Korean publisher led me to believe an American publishing house was interested in the work. Any information would be appreciated.

    • I have not yet seen “Son-in-Law of a Theocracy” in print.
      Do any other readers have any insights on the book being published in English?

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