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As in his 2010 book, was created primarily for the outside world, and that it has never served as a guiding ideology for the North Korean regime.
By promoting what appeared to be a homegrown ideology, the DPRK sought legitimacy both in the West and in South Korea.
The Limitations of Written Sources Myers deserves immense credit for surveying a vast amount of primary source material.
Few other works of North Korean history and politics rest on such a broad source base as , with its bibliography of over fourteen pages of original North Korean sources.
Myers argues that the philosophy was actually well in line with what North Korea’s international benefactors prescribed.
Myers could have engaged and debated available literature on this topic: Sonia Ryang, for example, discusses extensively the different purposes of various publication types in North Korea in her 2012 book, . His claim that speeches and works by North Korea’s leaders are not important in the propaganda is also questionable.
This approach marks a welcome step away from treatments of North Korean history as linear and inevitable.
Myers firmly opposes defining the North Korean state along the lines of Adrian Buzo’s “guerilla state.” While such models often seem to accurately describe North Korea, they too often trace the country’s current character to events that occurred decades ago—as if the regime made no conscious decisions along the way. Myers shows that North Korea’s history is, in truth, a result of concrete choices that have rarely followed a linear historical pattern.
For instance, he writes off some documents as relatively unimportant, including the writings and teachings of Kim Il Sung. He suggests that how Kim lived his life was more important than what he wrote or said.
Meanwhile, he accepts at face value a number of statements by Stalin and others that encourage nationalism and the creative adaptation of Marxism-Leninism to national conditions.