Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Benjamin R. Young's "Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader"

Benjamin R. Young is an Assistant Professor in Cyber Leadership & Intelligence at Dakota State University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Strategy & Policy at the U.S Naval War College from 2018-2019 and received his PhD in 2018 from George Washington University. He was also a member of the 2018-2019 CSIS NextGen Korea Scholars Program. His research primarily revolves around East Asian studies, Cold War international history, security studies, and international relations.

Young applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader: North Korea and the Third World, and reported the following:
So if you open up to page 99 of my book, readers will come across a North Korean propaganda poster that celebrates the anti-colonial solidarity of the Third World (see attachment, inset below left). This image is my favorite in the entire book as it encapsulates several dimensions of North Korea-Third World relations. Firstly, the poster champions anti-imperialism and independence, which were pillars of Pyongyang’s foreign policy. Secondly, the poster features a multicultural and multiracial coalition of Third World youth. Despite North Korea’s information blockade, the government promoted the idea domestically that the DPRK was just one part of a global revolutionary movement that opposed capitalism, white supremacy, and colonialism. Finally, the image features Arabic writing, which was uncommon in North Korean propaganda posters. Overall, the page 99 test works well for my book because it reveals an aspect of North Korean history - the visual culture - that is often overlooked. Visual culture is an important element of North Korea’s political system and ideology. It was used to mobilize and motivate citizens in the construction of North Korean communism. In my book, I use a number of North Korean propaganda posters because they are important parts of the DPRK’s political culture.
Learn more about Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader at the Stanford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue