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Little Madmen: Correspondents' Tales

Caught between huge conflicting forces, people look with foreboding on the gathering clouds of war
1.Points of Crisis
The rise of Kim Dae Jung and the high price of his failed drive for reconciliation with North Korea
Three contributions on Korea -- North, South and Kim Dae Jung -- for this massive five-volume work on human rights issues worldwide
Dispelling myths about the sinking of the South Korean navy corvette the Cheonan in March 2010
Memories of the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the arrival of U.S. forces to the release of the last U.S. POWs
The Vietnam War as it spread through Cambodia and Laos into northern and northeastern Thailand
Washington's pact with Pyongyang won't help the starving children
2.Covering Korea
Q&A, Asia-Pacific Businss & Technology Report
Looking back to the Old Days: A Correspondent's Field Manual; A Reader’s Guide to Real News:
Korea through the eyes of correspondents who were there, 1871-2006
Following the story
How the news goes in and out of the Hermit Kingdom
3. Business and Economy
The Rev. Moon's empire bouncing back in South Korea
Play-by-play account of the meltdown that nearly bankrupted the South Korean economy
The story of North Korea's 105-story white elephant
An unauthorized study of Korea's largest business group, its triumphs and failures, and the peasant's son who founded it.... "Korean Dynasty is a must read for business people and students of business and the social sciences learning about the socio-economics of Asia." Business Book Review Library; 1995, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p1
The ultimate business reference to the Philippines, providing practical advice from leading experts
Iraq and South Korea face contrasting economic problems and issues, as seen in these articles for Institutional Investor
4. Seoul-Searching
I.--Heart and Seoul: From the ashes of war, Korea's capital rises like a phoenix to world-class. II.--Three Perfect Days: Wining, dining, sightseeing and strolling around one of the world's oldest and greatest capitals


Yangon, birds of a feather, together

Topic: North Korea

Talking about North Korea, BBC's "World Have Your Say," India Gate, New Delhi, in background

Looking Back

Donald Kirk, based in Washington, first visited Seoul in 1972 as Far East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and has covered major events in Korea from the assassination of President Park Chung Hee in 1979 and the Kwangju revolt in 1980 to every presidential election since adoption of the “democracy constitution” in 1987. He has visited North Korea nine times.

From 1988 to 1994, he focused on business, economics and labor, writing Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung, a critical study of Hyundai, Korea’s largest chaebol, and its founder. Back again in Seoul, he wrote Korean Crisis: Unraveling of the Miracle in the IMF Era, published in 2000. After that, he worked on Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine, published in hardcover in 2009 and again in paperback in 2011.

'Living Dangerously'

After reporting from Indonesia in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” 1965-1966, Don based in Saigon and Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. He produced two books from that period, Wider War: The Struggle for Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, 1971, and Tell it to the Dead, published in 1975, after the fall of the U.S.-backed regimes in Indochina, and again, updated and enlarged, in 1996. Two of his articles, "Who Wants To Be the Last American Killed in Vietnam?" (The New York Times Magazine, August 1971), and "I watched them saw him 3 days" (Chicago Tribune, July 1974), the story of a Khmer Rouge execution, appear in Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1969-1975, Library of America, NY.

Don has been a reporter beginning in school and college and then in Chicago and New York before moving on to Asia. Returning to the U.S. in 1982 after covering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Don spent eight years at USA Today as an editor and correspondent in Washington and abroad from the paper’s start-up through the 1990-1991 Gulf War, which he witnessed from Baghdad. Don revisited Baghdad for several months in 2004, writing magazine articles and filing for CBS. In Seoul, he continues to focus on the looming crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Awards and Grants

In the 1960s and 1970s, Don wrote from Southeast Asia for The New York Times Magazine, The New Leader and The Reporter, among others, winning George Polk, Overseas Press Club and Edward Scott Beck awards and three OPC citations for articles in The New York Times Magazine from Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia. With the Chicago Sun-Times in the early '60s, he received the Chicago Newspaper Guild’s page-one award for a first-person account of a holdup.

Don spent most of 2013 as a Fulbright-Nehru senior research scholar, affiliated with the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. (That was half a century after he first went to India as a junior Fulbright scholar in 1962.) He spent a month in Islamabad in early 2015 in the Fulbright regional specialist program.

Over the years he's been a Ford fellow, advanced international reporting, Columbia, 1964-1965; Edward R. Murrow fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, 1974-1975, at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School; visiting fellow, Southeast Asia program, Cornell, 1986-1988, and Fulbright senior scholar, Manila, 1995-1996, researching Looted: the Philippines After the Bases, 1998. A graduate of Princeton, he holds a master’s in international relations from the University of Chicago and the honorary degree of doctor of letters for "scholarly attainments and distinguished service" from the University of Maryland University College.


At the Cu Chi tunnel complex, northwest of Saigon, old U.S. weapons and shells are a tourist attraction






Out and About

Old lady on farm, Punakha, Bhutan


Monkeys, Myanmar


In Cambodia,
A Masssacre Remembered

In Korea....

....and Vietnam