Book Review: The Great Successor

Tae Keung Ha’s The Great Successor attempts to describe the life and person of Kim Jung Un. What makes Ha’s book different from all the other North Korean histories is that it is written in a most fitting form, a comic book. The country’s history would make fine dystopian fiction, if it was not such a tragedy and threat. 

The Great Successor tells the story of the rise of Kim Jung Un. Kim Jung Un it the youngest of three sons of Kim Il Jung. Kim Jung Nam the oldest (and of a different mother) was the early favorite Nam is a reformer and his friends paid the price for that. He falls out of favor after being caught entering Japan with a false passport to go to Disneyland. He is currently in exile in China. Kim Jung Chul fell out of favor after being filmed at an Eric Clapton concert. He was generally seen as weak and a supporter of peace. Kim Jung Un won by default. 

Kim Jung Un seemed to appear as a kid with a bad haircut and not capable of much. In fact, he was behind several plots and quite ruthless. He was behind the Denial of Service attacks against the Untied States and South Korea as well as assassination attempts in South Korea and attacks South Korean naval vessels. He is ruthless and definitely not a flunky. This kid also has nuclear weapons. 

This graphic novel does a good job of describing North Korea without going into several hundred pages of text. It also offers a little hope as people no longer believe in the infallibility of their supreme leader. Cracks are developing in the blind support as hunger and poverty continue into another decade. It is well worth the read as an introduction to North Korea and its newest leader.

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