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Syngman Rhee (Yi Sûng-man, 1875-1965) is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in modern Korean history. He emerged as the dominant leader in Korea's nationalist struggle against Japan and served as the first president of the Republic of Korea from 1948 through 1960. Rhee's political career as founder and president, however, was not without controversy. While some hailed him as "the George Washington of Korea," others regarded Rhee as "a little Chiang Kai-shek." This first English translation of Rhee's magnum opus, The Spirit of Independence (Tongnip chôngsin), provides readers with an essential key to understanding the breadth and depth of Rhee's thought at a critical juncture in his life and his country's history.
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Han-Kyo Kim is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Cincinnati.
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