The Impossible State by Victor Cha


6 Critic Reviews

A useful, pertinent work for understanding the human story behind the headlines.


Former White House official Victor Cha has written the definitive volume on North Korea, arguably the world’s most menacing and mysterious nation. In The Impossible State, Cha, a singular expert on the region, exposes North Korea’s veiled past; sheds light on its culture, economy, and foreign policy; and explores the possibilities of its uncertain future in the post-Kim Jong-il era. A timely and engaging insider’s look at a volatile, and isolationist Asian juggernaut, The Impossible State will carry readers far deeper into this frighteningly adversarial country than they’ve ever traveled before.

About Victor Cha

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Victor Cha is the former Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, where he served as an advisor to the President from 2004-2007. The recipient of two Outstanding Service commendations during his tenure at the White House, Cha is also the award-winning author of Alignment Despite Antagonism and Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Security, and Political Science Quarterly among other journals. He currently holds the D.S. Song Chair in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Published April 3, 2012 by Ecco. 557 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Impossible State
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1


Mar 01 2012

A useful, pertinent work for understanding the human story behind the headlines.

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The Washington Post

Reviewed by Krys Lee on May 18 2012

“The Impossible State” is a clearheaded, bold examination of North Korea and its future...

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City Book Review

Reviewed by Kevin Winter on Jun 12 2012

...we need books like this that bring everything together... This book will help Americans understand more about the Hermit Kingdom.

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Town Hall

Reviewed by Daniel Doherty on Apr 04 2012

The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future is a ‘must read’ for any thoughtful citizen with an interest in Asian affairs.

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The Heritage Foundation

Reviewed by Bruce Klingner on Apr 18 2012

...Victor Cha provides the best look yet at North Korea's history, the rise of the Kim family dynasty, and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them.

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In Search of the End of the Sidewalk

Below average
Reviewed by Michelle Ross on Jun 01 2012

I feel that it was too textbook-y, but maybe I just wasn’t the intended reader.

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Akshat Shrivastava

Akshat Shrivastava 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list