New book on Paekche

News comes, via the Korean Studies mailing list, that Jonathan Best’s history of Paekche is now out. I wouldn’t normally use this blog to advertise a single book, but I’m personally quite excited about this one, since a book in English on an ancient Korean kingdom is a very rare thing*. I’m looking forward to seeing this in our library.

From the blurb:

This volume presents two histories of the early Korean kingdom of Paekche (trad. 18 BCE-660 CE). The first, written by Jonathan Best, is based largely on primary sources, both written and archaeological. This initial history of Paekche serves, in part, to introduce the second, an extensively annotated translation of the oldest history of the kingdom, the Paekche Annals (Paekche pon’gi). Written in the chronicle format standard for the traditional official histories of East Asia, the Paekche Annals constitutes one section of the Histories of the Three Kingdoms (Samguk sagi), a comprehensive account of early Korean history compiled under the editorial direction of Kim Pusik (1075-1151).

*Actually I can’t think of any others, except possibly Kenneth Gardiner’s book The early history of Korea: the historical development of the peninsula up to the introduction of Buddhism in the fourth century A.D., which I believe is based on his PhD thesis on Koguryŏ. Perhaps we can persuade fellow Frog contributor Noja to translate his thesis on Kaya into English one day.


  1. You could try nagging the publisher if you like. Failing that, your best bet is probably to get it at the library. If you’re near to Seoul then I’m not sure about good lending libraries, but if you just want access to a copy then I expect the Social Science library in Sajik-dong, the National Library in Soch’o or the Korea Foundation cultural centre at the Joongang Ilbo building will have copies before long.

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