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Nothing to Envy: Love, Life and Death in North Korea

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Nothing to Envy

Love, Life and Death in North Korea

By Barbara Demick

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Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Published In: Australia, 02 February 2010
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.

About the Author

Barbara Demick is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has worked in the Middle East, Europe, China and North Korea for the Los Angeles Times. She teaches journalism at Princeton University and is the author of Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighbourhood.

EAN: 9780732286613
ISBN: 0732286611
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.7 x 2.4 centimetres (0.36 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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This is one of the most compelling books I've read. I couldn't put it down. Both my dad and sister read it too and they couldn't put it down either. The book gives a harrowing, detailed account of six individual lives in the 'hermit kingdom'. Throughout the book it is clear that Demick has done her research, although she is honest in admitting research into North Korea is limited due to its reclusiveness. While many other books on North Korea provides a more political view, this one gives a more personal (and heartbreaking) insight on how individuals survive - or didn't survive - under the sociopathic tyranny of Kim Jung Il. Absolute must read whether one has any interest in politics or Asia.

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