Skip to main content


The Hereditary Succession Politics of North Korea

By Kim Hakjoon

Scholar and journalist Kim Hakjoon’s latest book on North Korea is a timely analysis of the rise of the Kim Il Sung family dynasty and the politics of leadership succession in Pyongyang. It includes coverage of the death of Kim Jong Il and the advent of his young son Kim Jong Eun as the new supreme leader.

Drawing on official North Korean statements and leaked confidential documents, journalistic accounts, defector reports, and the observations of foreigners, the book synthesizes virtually all that is known about the history of the secretive family and how it operates within a bizarre governing system. Particularly valuable for a Western audience is the author’s extensive use of South Korean studies of the Kim family, many of which have never been translated into English. Dynasty is insightful reading for officials, journalists, scholars, and students interested in the Korean Peninsula and its prospects.

Get daily updates from Brookings