I just devoured four books on North Korea

In a week. By the end of the week, I was dreaming about North Korea. I really got sucked into the world.

First I read:

This was about Kang Chol-hwan, a resident from the Yodok Concentration camp, and his life there, and his eventual defection.

Then I read:

This is about the only man to ever escape from one of the total control concentration camps in North Korea.
Then I went to

Which, as it says, covers six ordinary lives. And lastly I read:

I highly, highly recommend all of these books. They were all recommended here on the Dope and I greatly enjoyed reading them. As I said, I went through all of them in a week.

The last one was probably the hardest to read. The young women who wrote the book, Suki Kim, speaks of feeling sorry for the sons of the elite, but I found myself really hating them. Sure, their lives are severely limited and curtailed but they literally are the parasite feeding off the rest of the country. Everyone else is subject to any number of atrocities so these young men can rule their little corner of the world full of ignorance and hatred against America, despite how much food and money we give them.

Didn’t read them in a week, but I’ve read those four as well.

Also read ‘The Real North Korea’ by Andrei Lankov. He try’s to explain why NK is what it is. I had a hard time with that one at parts. He has a bit too much sympathy for the Kims IMHO.

Facinating stuff isn’t it.

Will have to check some of these out.

Just recently saw a very good documentary set in North Korea - The Red Chapel. A Danish documentary filmmaker takes two Danish-Korean comedians on a tour of North Korea; to the North Koreans he’s presenting it as a cultural exchange, but he’s really planning on making a documentary exposing the absurdity of North Korea (the comedians are in on the plan). The end result is both funny and touching.

Also can recommend one fiction work, The Orphan Master’s Son. Won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago.

Sadly, that web site shows up as only a huge missing plug-in icon on my Android tablet. Whoever designed their web site should be fired. Out of a cannon.

I really enjoyed Nothing to Envy. Seriously tragic book.

I will check out the documentary, thank you. I still have to watch Going Clear. Docs are not my favorite; I vastly prefer to read about it. I’ll also get the Orphan Master’s Son, thank you.

Hoe. Lee. Crap.

What an eerie coincidence. Three days ago I ordered from Amazon those four exact books, plus the Lankov title that enipla recommends. The titles were suggested by fellow dopers in a thread that was running a while back. I’m glad they lived up to their hype. Great minds, etc.

I’m sure we saw the same thread. :slight_smile: My library system had all four, so I just went through them.

I’m really looking forward to reading them. I know very little about North Korea, and lately I’ve been studying Confucianism and how it affects policy in east Asia. I think a lot of the human rights abuses, and the North Korean’s acceptance of them, can be explained—at least in part—by the Confucian idea of reverence toward those in positions of authority.

I’m really looking forward to reading these titles, and I’m glad you started this thread.

May I suggest an order to read them?

Nothing to Envy (you will now be hooked on finding out more)

Aquariums of Pyongyang

Escape from Camp 14

Without you there is no us

The Real North Korea

If you don’t mind reading off the computer screen, you can try A Year in Pyongyang. It’s about an Englishman who spent a year in North Korea translating their propoganda. Definitely worth a read. It’s set in the 80s though.
http://www.aidanfc.net/a_year_in_pyongyang.html

For something a little different, here’s a work of fiction–a detective novel set in North Korea–written by someone who I gather has some expertise in the subject.

I liked it alot.

A Corpse in the Koryo

And there’s like five more in the series, though I’ve only read the first one.

Two other good books about North Korea are B.R. Myers, “The Cleanest Race”, and Victor Cha’s “The Impossible State”, especially Cha’s book. Cha is the director of the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown, and was Director of Asian Affairs on the National Security Council and Deputy Head of the US Delegation for the Six Party talks from 2006-7.