Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

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Click for availability and more information Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
An extremely stark photograph at the beginning of Nothing to Envy illustrates so much about the North Korea Barbara Demick describes in her fascinating study of this country. Taken at night of the Korean peninsula, this photograph shows South Korea ablaze with lights while North Korea is just dark, seemingly devoid of life. Demick, who covers Asia for the Los Angeles Times, is one of the few Western reporters granted permission to travel within North Korea, albeit heavily supervised by North Korean watch dogs.

In her quest to write about North Korea, Demick interviewed several North Koreans who fled that dismal nation to South Korea. Through their stories, an exceedingly bleak picture of North Korea emerges. Perhaps the strongest characteristic of North Korea is the total and complete control that the government exerts over its citizens in every segment of their lives. Under the previous dictator, Kim Jung-il, father of the current leader Kim Jung-un, all North Korean citizens were totally indoctrinated into the belief that their "Dear Leader" (Kim Jung-il) was solely responsible for all aspects of their lives. Perhaps the most gripping part of Nothing to Envy covers the horrendous famine in the late 1990's that caused the gruesome deaths of thousands in North Korea.

Demick's writing in this book gives the reader a compellingly vivid inside look of this mysterious country, which has totally isolated itself from the rest of the world. Nothing to Envy is strongly recommended.

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This page contains a single entry published on August 30, 2012 3:21 PM.

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