Reconstructing Ancient Korean History by Stella Xu evaluates how different national entities viewed the Tan’gun creation myth, Ko Chosŏn, and particularly the Koguryŏ Kingdom (part of the original Three Kingdoms Period in Korea, “Gaogouli” in Chinese records) at different points in time. The book is a bold undertaking, as it required in-depth access to many of the primary and secondary sources published not only in Korean and English, but Chinese and Japanese as well. Few such texts have attempted such an enormous task. In this regard, particularly for such a complicated topic, Xu does an excellent job synthesizing how different political entities changed their views and interpretations of Tan’gun, Ko Chosŏn, and the Koguryŏ Kingdom throughout time.

As Xu notes in the opening of Reconstructing Ancient Korean History, “Historians often lamented the fact...

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