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June 12 , 2011

The Korea & Her Neighbours


In Korea and Her Neighbours, written in two volumes between 1894 and 1897, Isabella Bird documents one of the most critical and interesting periods of Korean history. Violently torn from centuries of seclusion, this fragile nation awoke to find itself confronted on all sides by an array of powerful, ambitious, and aggressive countries clamoring for commercial and political concessions - a rivalry which, at this time, made Korea the battlefield of the first Sino-Japanese war. In the midst of political turmoil and international intrigue, the author offers an extraordinarily accurate description of almost every facet of the country covering such topics as the climate, geography, the living conditions of the people, the structure of government, indigenous religions, customs, and foreign trade treaties. Included is a chilling description of the assassination of Korea's queen, and an account of Isabella Bird's undaunted travels in Manchuria, China, and Russia, where she reported on the military tension at the Korean borders.

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