Upon its release in 2019, Anna Fifield's The Great Successor became essential reading for academics interested in North Korea. Fifield, now the Washington Post's Beijing bureau chief, provides the first English-language book on Kim Jong Un's life prior to becoming leader and describes his first seven years in power. Researching any topic related to North Korea is no simple task. However, using several previously unearthed primary sources, as well as a range of secondary materials, Fifield provides a convincing narrative of Kim Jong Un's life and offers multiple original insights into the country's supreme leader.

The Great Successor is structured in three parts that tell the chronological story of Kim Jong Un, alongside a historical overview of contemporaneous North Korean politics. The first part focuses on Kim's life before he became leader, with the most attention given to his childhood in North Korea and his education in Switzerland. Kim...

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