The New York Times reports North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on 17th December 2011.
My 2006 Masters thesis was on North Korea’s covert nuclear weapons program (PDF). I found Kim Jong-il to be a shrewd, rational negotiator able to mobilise national myths (including the Juche philosophy).
I gathered half a bookshelf of North Korea-relevant titles during background research for the project. The Kim Jong-il titles include Michael Breen’s Kim Jong-il: North Korea’s Dear Leader (John Wiley & Sons, Singapore, 2004) and Bradley K. Martin’s Under The Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2004).
On leadership profiling, see the work of George Washington University’s Jerrold M. Post.