"This book was written right after Psy's 'Gangnam Style' blew up, but before BTS took over Asian pop culture. Even without the most current events, Hong's book is essential for any K-pop fan, and anyone curious about how BTS got on Billboard's charts, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and SNL. Hong adds necessary historical and cultural context, like the authoritarian regime following Korean independence, the costs of rapid industrialization, and how Korean attitudes plays into idol culture. K-pop is more than wacky pretty boy bands, it's a global force and Hong wrote one of the best to explain it."
A FRESH, FUNNY, UP-CLOSE LOOK AT HOW SOUTH KOREA REMADE ITSELF AS THE WORLD'S POP CULTURE POWERHOUSE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
By now, everyone in the world knows the song "Gangnam Style" and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song's international popularity is no passing fad. "Gangnam Style" is only one tool in South Korea's extraordinarily elaborate and effective strategy to become a major world superpower by first becoming the world's number one pop culture exporter.
As a child, Euny Hong moved from America to the Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul. She was a witness to the most accelerated part of South Korea's economic development, during which time it leapfrogged from third-world military dictatorship to first-world liberal democracy on the cutting edge of global technology.
Euny Hong recounts how South Korea vaulted itself into the twenty-first century, becoming a global leader in business, technology, education, and pop culture. Featuring lively, in-depth reporting and numerous interviews with Koreans working in all areas of government and society, The Birth of Korean Cool reveals how a really uncool country became cool, and how a nation that once banned miniskirts, long hair on men, and rock ‘n' roll could come to mass produce boy bands, soap operas, and the world's most important smart phone.