When George W. Bush took office in 2001, North Korea's nuclear program was frozen and Kim Jong Il had signaled he was ready to negotiate. Today, North Korea possesses as many as ten nuclear warheads, and possibly the means to provide nuclear material to rogue states or terrorist groups. How did this happen? Drawing on more than two hundred interviews with key players in Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing, including Colin Powell, John Bolton, and ex-Korean president Kim Dae-jung, as well as insights gained during fourteen trips to Pyongyang, Mike Chinoy takes readers behind the scenes of secret diplomatic meetings, disputed intelligence reports, and Washington turf battles as well as inside the mysterious world of North Korea. "Meltdown" provides a wealth of new material about a previously opaque series of events that eventually led the Bush administration to abandon confrontation and pursue negotiations, and explains how the diplomatic process collapsed and produced the crisis the Obama administration confronts today.