This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with David Fields. Discussing the lesser known, but foundational early period of Syngman Rhee’s life – South Korea’s first President – they walk through his childhood influences, independence activism, imprisonment, exile and education in the United States, his position as President of the Korean Provisional Government, international diplomacy, and the unintended impact he had on the eventual division of the Korean peninsula.
David Fields earnt his PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017, is a Fulbright scholar at Yonsei University, and editor of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. A leading expert on Syngman Rhee, he edited The Diary of Syngman Rhee (Museum of Contemporary Korean History), and has an upcoming book – soon to be published by the University of Kentucky Press – on the early period of Rhee’s life (Pre-1945).
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