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Becoming Kim Jong Un: Charting the dictator's ruthless record in power

Biography Becoming Kim Jong Un Jung H Pak Penguin Random House, 336 pages, hardback €20

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Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un

Becoming Kim Jong Un begins with a brief history lesson. North Korea emerged after World War II when the US and the Soviet Union provisionally divided control of the Korean Peninsula along the 38th parallel and Kim Il-sung was installed as the leader of the northern half by Moscow.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was founded in September 1948 when Kim Il-sung declared complete independence from his Soviet comrades. With his "Juche" idea of self-reliance driving the country's unique brand of socialism, Kim Il-sung made it clear he was no Moscow puppet.

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first hot war of the Cold War. There was no real winners. Five million soldiers and civilians lost their lives, but Kim Il-sung emerged with his country's independence secured.