The Making of the First Korean President

Lew-Making1stKoreanPresThe only full-scale history of Syngman Rhee’s early career in English was published nearly six decades ago. Now, Young Ick Lew uncovers little-known aspects of Rhee’s leadership roles prior to 1948, when he became the Republic of Korea’s first president. In The Making of the First Korean President: Syngman Rhee’s Quest for Independence, 1875–1948, Lew delves into Rhee’s background, investigates his abortive diplomatic missions, and explains how and why he was impeached as the head of the Korean Provisional Government in 1925. He analyzes the numerous personal conflicts between Rhee and other prominent Korean leaders, including some close friends and supporters who eventually denounced him as an autocrat.

Based on exhaustive research that incorporates archival records as well as secondary sources in Korean, English, and Japanese, The Making of the First Korean President meticulously lays out the key developments of Rhee’s pre-presidential career. This richly illustrated volume is essential reading for anyone with an interest in modern Korean history and will serve as a lasting portrait of one of the pivotal figures in the evolution of Korea as it journeyed from colonial suppression to freedom and security.

November 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-8248-3168-4 | $68.00 | Cloth