Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy
Author: Barbara Demick
Publisher: Random House
Total Pages: 338
Release: 2010-09-21
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 0385523912

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books) FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD • FINALIST FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD WINNER OF WINNERS AWARD In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them. Praise for Nothing to Envy “Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times “Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal “A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books “Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle “The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate “At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader
Author: Bradley K. Martin
Publisher: Macmillan
Total Pages: 880
Release: 2007-04-01
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781429906999

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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader offers in-depth portraits of North Korea's two ruthless and bizarrely Orwellian leaders, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. Lifting North Korea's curtain of self-imposed isolation, this book will take readers inside a society, that to a Westerner, will appear to be from another planet. Subsisting on a diet short on food grains and long on lies, North Koreans have been indoctrinated from birth to follow unquestioningly a father-son team of megalomaniacs. To North Koreans, the Kims are more than just leaders. Kim Il-Sung is the country's leading novelist, philosopher, historian, educator, designer, literary critic, architect, general, farmer, and ping-pong trainer. Radios are made so they can only be tuned to the official state frequency. "Newspapers" are filled with endless columns of Kim speeches and propaganda. And instead of Christmas, North Koreans celebrate Kim's birthday--and he presents each child a present, just like Santa. The regime that the Kim Dynasty has built remains technically at war with the United States nearly a half century after the armistice that halted actual fighting in the Korean War. This fascinating and complete history takes full advantage of a great deal of source material that has only recently become available (some from archives in Moscow and Beijing), and brings the reader up to the tensions of the current day. For as this book will explain, North Korea appears more and more to be the greatest threat among the Axis of Evil countries--with some defector testimony warning that Kim Jong-Il has enough chemical weapons to wipe out the entire population of South Korea.

Escape from North Korea

Escape from North Korea
Author: Melanie
Publisher: Encounter Books
Total Pages: 368
Release: 2014-05-13
Genre: Political Science
ISBN: 1594037329

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From the world’s most repressive state comes rare good news: the escape to freedom of a small number of its people. It is a crime to leave North Korea. Yet increasing numbers of North Koreans dare to flee. They go first to neighboring China, which rejects them as criminals, then on to Southeast Asia or Mongolia, and finally to South Korea, the United States, and other free countries. They travel along a secret route known as the new underground railroad. With a journalist’s grasp of events and a novelist’s ear for narrative, Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the story of the North Koreans’ quest for liberty. Travelers on the new underground railroad include women bound to Chinese men who purchased them as brides, defectors carrying state secrets, and POWs from the Korean War held captive in the North for more than half a century. Their conductors are brokers who are in it for the money as well as Christians who are in it to serve God. The Christians see their mission as the liberation of North Korea one person at a time. Just as escaped slaves from the American South educated Americans about the evils of slavery, the North Korean fugitives are informing the world about the secretive country they fled. Escape from North Korea describes how they also are sowing the seeds for change within North Korea itself. Once they reach sanctuary, the escapees channel news back to those they left behind. In doing so, they are helping to open their information-starved homeland, exposing their countrymen to liberal ideas, and laying the intellectual groundwork for the transformation of the totalitarian regime that keeps their fellow citizens in chains.

Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy
Author: Barbara Demick
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Total Pages: 314
Release: 2012
Genre: Korea (North)
ISBN: 9780732292843

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WINNER OF THE 2010 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION What if the world imagined by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-four was real? What if everything around you was black and white except for the red letters on propaganda signs? Where spies like Orwell's Thought Police studied your facial expressions during political rallies to make sure you were sincere in your expressions and your thoughts? If you couldn't turn the dials of your radio away from the government station? In fact, there is such a place: North Korea, the only country not connected to the Internet by choice. Ruled over by a dictator, visible only in carefully controlled images, it's a mysterious, even sinister country. But it's also a place where 22 million people live, work, and dream of a different life. Journalist Barbara Demick spent a decade covering North Korea's strange politics and regulations. Then one day she met a young woman defector, Mi-ran, who told her about growing up there; about the cinema she used to go to when the country still had electricity, and about the teenage romance which blossomed there. Through Mi-ran's story Demick glimpsed another, more human side of North Korea.In Nothing to Envy, Demick re-traces the life of Mi-ran and of five other North Koreans, taking us into the heart of an elusive society. We see her subjects fall in love, nurture ambitions, and struggle with survival and betrayal. Their stories form a haunting portrait of a bizarre society and the cost it exacts on its citizens.

Comrades and Strangers

Comrades and Strangers
Author: Michael Harrold
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Total Pages: 432
Release: 2004-08-19
Genre: History
ISBN: 0470869844

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In 1987 Michael Harrold went to North Korea to work as English language adviser on translations of the speeches of the late President Kim Il Sung (the Great Leader) and his son and heir Kim Jong Il (then Dear Leader and now head of state). For seven years he lived in Pyongyang enjoying privileged access to the ruling classes and enjoying the confidence of the country’s young elite. In this fascinating insight into the culture of North Korea he describes the hospitality of his hosts, how they were shaken by the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and many of the fascinating characters he met from South Korean and American GI defectors to his Korean minder and socialite friends. After seven years and having been caught passing South Korean music tapes to friends and going out without his minder to places forbidden to foreigners, he was asked to leave the country.

Dear Leader

Dear Leader
Author: Jang Jin-sung
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 368
Release: 2015-01-27
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 1476766568

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"In this rare insider's view into contemporary North Korea, a high-ranking counterintelligence agent describes his life as a former poet laureate to Kim Jong-il and his breathtaking escape to freedom. "The General will now enter the room." Everyone turns to stone. Not moving my head, I direct my eyes to a point halfway up the archway where Kim Jong-il's face will soon appear... As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life. Never before has a member of the elite described the inner workings of this totalitarian state and its propaganda machine. An astonishing expose; told through the heart-stopping story of Jang Jin-sung's escape to South Korea, Dear Leader is a rare and unprecedented insight into the world's most secretive and repressive regime"--

North Korea's Hidden Revolution

North Korea's Hidden Revolution
Author: Jieun Baek
Publisher: Yale University Press
Total Pages: 263
Release: 2016-11-15
Genre: Political Science
ISBN: 0300224478

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“A crisp, dramatic examination of how technology and human ingenuity are undermining North Korea’s secretive dictatorship.”—Kirkus Reviews One of the least understood countries in the world, North Korea has long been known for its repressive regime. Yet it is far from being an impenetrable black box. Media flows covertly into the country, and fault lines are appearing in the government’s sealed informational borders. Drawing on deeply personal interviews with North Korean defectors from all walks of life, ranging from propaganda artists to diplomats, Jieun Baek tells the story of North Korea’s information underground—the network of citizens who take extraordinary risks by circulating illicit content such as foreign films, television shows, soap operas, books, and encyclopedias. By fostering an awareness of life outside North Korea and enhancing cultural knowledge, the materials these citizens disseminate are affecting the social and political consciousness of a people, as well as their everyday lives. “A fine primer on the country, based on extensive interviews with defectors.”—Times Literary Supplement “A fascinating book.”—The New York Times “[A] timely and cogent book.”—Los Angeles Review of Books “A fascinating and intelligent overview of the ways that information is liberating North Koreans’ minds.”—Robert S. Boynton, author of The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project “A fascinating, important, and vivid account of how unofficial information is increasingly seeping into the North and chipping away at the regime’s myths—and hence its control of North Korean society.”—Sue Mi Terry, former CIA analyst and senior research scholar at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute, Columbia University

North of the DMZ

North of the DMZ
Author: Andrei Lankov
Publisher: McFarland
Total Pages: 358
Release: 2014-01-10
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 0786451416

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The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea for over 60 years. Most of that period has found the country suffering under mature Stalinism characterized by manipulation, brutality and tight social control. Nevertheless, some citizens of Kim Jong Il’s regime manage to transcend his tyranny in their daily existence. This book describes that difficult but determined existence and the world that the North Koreans have created for themselves in the face of oppression. Many features of this world are unique and even bizarre. But they have been created by the citizens to reflect their own ideas and values, in sharp contrast to the world forced upon them by a totalitarian system. Opening chapters introduce the political system and the extent to which it permeates citizens’ daily lives, from the personal status badges they wear to the nationalized distribution of the food they eat. Chapters discussing the schools, the economic system, and family life dispel the myth of the workers’ paradise that North Korea attempts to perpetuate. In these chapters the intricacies of daily life in a totalitarian dictatorship are seen through the eyes of defectors whose anecdotes constitute an important portion of the material. The closing chapter treats at length the significant changes that have taken place in North Korea over the last decade, concluding that these changes will lead to the quiet but inevitable death of North Korean Stalinism. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

The Real North Korea

The Real North Korea
Author: Andrei Lankov
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Total Pages: 350
Release: 2015
Genre: History
ISBN: 0199390037

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In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state. Based on vast expertise, this book reveals how average North Koreans live, how their leaders rule, and how both survive

North Korea Confidential

North Korea Confidential
Author: Daniel Tudor
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Total Pages: 225
Release: 2015-04-14
Genre: History
ISBN: 1462915124

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**Named one of the best books of 2015 by The Economist** Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors. North Korea is one of the most troubled societies on earth. The country's 24 million people live under a violent dictatorship led by a single family, which relentlessly pursues the development of nuclear arms, which periodically incites risky military clashes with the larger, richer, liberal South, and which forces each and every person to play a role in the "theater state" even as it pays little more than lip service to the wellbeing of the overwhelming majority. With this deeply anachronistic system eventually failed in the 1990s, it triggered a famine that decimated the countryside and obliterated the lives of many hundreds of thousands of people. However, it also changed life forever for those who survived. A lawless form of marketization came to replace the iron rice bowl of work in state companies, and the Orwellian mind control of the Korean Workers' Party was replaced for many by dreams of trade and profit. A new North Korea Society was born from the horrors of the era--one that is more susceptible to outside information than ever before with the advent of k-pop and video-carrying USB sticks. This is the North Korean society that is described in this book. In seven fascinating chapters, the authors explore what life is actually like in modern North Korea today for the ordinary "man and woman on the street." They interview experts and tap a broad variety of sources to bring a startling new insider's view of North Korean society--from members of Pyongyang's ruling families to defectors from different periods and regions, to diplomats and NGOs with years of experience in the country, to cross-border traders from neighboring China, and textual accounts appearing in English, Korean and Chinese sources. The resulting stories reveal the horror as well as the innovation and humor which abound in this fascinating country.