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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Following six North Koreans over Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like eBook features: Highlight, take notes, and search. DOWNLOAD LINK: Nothing to Envy ebook epub electronic book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick for iphone, ipad txt format version, file with. Ebooks download Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea DOWNLOAD EBOOK PDF KINDLE Click button below to download or read.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Barbara Demick. Read more. Inside North Korea. Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea.
It gives a lot of insight into the culture generally, as well as the work of the university. View all 47 comments. Defectors have to rediscover who they are in a world that offers endless possibilities. Choosing where to live, what to do, even which clothes to put on in the morning is tough enough for those of us accustomed to choices.
It can be utterly paralyzing for people who've had decisions made for them by the state their entire lives. It was impossible to read this nonfiction book and not be reminded of George Orwell's Demick was a journalist and Bureau Chief for North and South Korea when she gathered information for this book.
It took her fifteen years of research, interviews, and writing to get us these heartrending stories. Forgive me as I dare to suggest that you could read all you want about North Korea, but you will never see it the same after reading the accounts of these people who actually lived there. Nothing you've seen in the media can prepare you for the lives behind the scenes of this regime.
They were not allowed to watch televisions or listen to radios. Daily activity and speech were monitored. They were told that the rest of the world were evil capitalists whose ideas of individualism had them living in seclusion, hiding from each other in fear of being killed.
Speaking up against "the great leader" was a serious crime. Oh Orwell, you psychic genius. What Demick does well here is structure individual stories around facts on North Korea: The research is thorough and the interviews came together like a story that unfolds well. I was particularly stricken by the information about daily diet and the starvation that forced some Koreans to eat grass just to stay alive. My surprise wasn't because I was naive to think that poverty isn't a worldwide problem, but because what I was reading about or rather hearing through the beautiful audio production by Karen White on my iPad was what one would expect in a war torn country.
Yet there I was, reading about the intentional crippling of an economy. There are no words to describe the brave defectors who risked everything to escape to South Korea: There is a couple in love, a matriarch who was once loyal to the regime, a doctor who had to restart medical school when she escaped, a young businesswoman.
Nothing to Envy
Read this and you'll worry about the future of world politics. View all 24 comments. This is an incredible book! I rarely cry for books though am a greedy reader. I can't stop reading it. We are proud of our market and economy, meanwhile making jokes of North Korea partner. But I don't know North Korea people live in such a condition in s, when I was a troubled teenager.
Some of the stories sound familiar, yes, it happened in China and CCCP before, and I can't believe it is still happening. I can't believe there is still a life without electricity, or a smart phone. I am addicted to East Germany and West Germany stories.
I thought that's not the worst version, but close enough. Because you've got people escaping even with blimps. Barbara told me, no. German people are lucky, they put the Berlin Mauer down.
How could a country like this still exist??? When I was reading, a Caterpillar dragging half of Lenin's bronze sculpture across the sky -- a scene from Goodbye Lenin keeps hitting my mind, will North Korean people be able to see that? Previously I don't feel too much from that scene, only get a little bit angry because a writer from HongKong depicts that scene by mistake, and calls the movie "Goodbye Lemon".
Well, a person from Hong Kong, who is always shouting to the authorities, is understandable. Like a kid in US ask "do African kids use Facebook? People change because of small things. People change their minds completely not because of huge event, but trivia. A meal of a dog, a wandering swallow singing a song, an electronic pot for cooking rice, etc.
Small things are triggers for them to make their decisions to leave North Korea, even the true believers of the regime. Small things touch the deepest feeling in their hearts, and give the strongest echoes. CCCP, China, Germany, Korea, four countries, 3 nations, full of stories, tragic enough to tear you apart, but strong enough to pull you together. View all 8 comments. Virginia Messina. I also appreciated the photos.
Each chapter started with one photo, though I wish that that many more photos were included. Why there are so relatively few is certainly understandable though. I found it helpful to read the notes for chapters that are at the end of the book as soon as I read their corresponding chapters. When I read books such as this I go back and look at what I was doing, eating, etc.
I have schedule books going back to Somehow this feels like a perfectly crafted book. The reader really gets to really know the six main people and gets a clear sense of how it was for others mentioned and also for the general populace. I felt a lot of suspense wondering how people were going to manage to escape.
The way their stories were told did not disappoint. This is an excellent book. I had none of my usual contemplating whether it should be 4 or 5 stars or whether I needed to include a half star.
It would have had to go way downhill for me to give it anything other than 5 stars and that never happened.
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Top notch! Very hard to put down! Very well researched. I already knew a few things about how things were in North Korea, but I learned so much more about the country, and while much of what was described was highly disturbing it was also fascinating.
She certainly chooses interesting and challenging topics. View all 20 comments. How can any book about North Korea and its people not be fascinating? This one is a composite tale of six people who defected from this very bizarre country and were interviewed at length, off and on for a period of years.
Because I read a surreal work of fiction by Adam Johnson called The Orphan Master's Son , a novel that was very well researched and which I highly recommend , there were probably not as many surprises for me as for another reader who knows even less about North Korea.
Because How can any book about North Korea and its people not be fascinating? Because we get very personal histories, it was interesting to find out that a class system is alive and well there, making it impossible for young people in love to marry one another if one has some sort of shame in the family. The shame might be to have relatives living in China or South Korea - this offense taints the family bloodline for three generations, regardless of the intellect or talent or physical status of the person.
If one of your distant relatives had somehow defected to China or to South Korea, his immediate family would be thrown into prison, probably for life. Those related to the defector - but not by bloodlines - could keep their freedom, but the next three generations would be hard pressed to find education or to marry above their station.
The class system also rewards those with good lineage and good service with a bit of extra food or acceptance into university. What was darkly amusing was the experience of one person who had achieved a high level of scholarly pursuit, but when he finally made it to South Korea, he realized that he indeed was very progressive in his knowledge - knowledge tied to the s and 60s!
Everything he knew and instructed university students in had been obsolete for decades. While I had heard of the food shortages in the s, I had no idea how desperate a famine it really was. Like the people in the Siege of Leningrad who were starved for hundreds of days, the North Korean families died of starvation or were stunted in their growth and development for a decade.
By the late 90s, North Korean men only had to reach 5 feet in height to be admitted to the armed services - with the exception of the ulra elite, everyone was underweight. This book was published in , and at that time it appeared that food was still scarce. People could still be seen on their knees by the side of the road, pulling weeds aside to look for edible plants. There are a few stories about the work prisons which were not all that surprising except for the fact that a tiny offense, a joke made about the great leaders height for example, could send you to prison for over a year.
The six individuals that the author interviewed over the years were all from a city close to the Chinese border called Chongjin, and while a couple of them did spend time in prison, most of the story is based on life in the city during the starving times of the 90s. Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il were in power during the timeframe that is covered by this book, so you will not find anything about Kim Jong-Un here.
Who knows what fresh atrocities are happening now? Like his father and grandfather before him, what funds he has goes into weapons instead of providing food for his people.
All three generations of dictators color the Americans as evil, so all of the defectors were stunned to eventually discover that what food did appear came from humanitarian efforts that the US and UN provided. This was an interesting and eye-opening book, however I would highly recommend that you not listen to it by audio as I did. The narrator is extremely staccato in her pronunciation and quite slow to boot.
One thing that occurred to me is that perhaps she is tightly spoken by intention. There may be Korean readers listening to the book in English, and if the words are slowly and clearly spoken, then it would be easier for them to absorb.
The first half of the book reads as a bit dry, and there are a handful of phrases that repeated throughout chunks of the book she had arrived The style of storytelling is not particularly compelling in the first half, but the lives of these ordinary people certainly are. It is absolutely horrifying to know that there are millions of people living in such strange and horrific circumstances, and the irony is that they are so encapsulated in their country, that they believe the entire world is in the same boat with them.
Say a little prayer for the people of North Korea. They are bright and hard-working and dedicated to their families, but are locked in a cult like state with a third generation madman ruling them. God bless them.
View all 19 comments. Author Barbara Demick chose to approach the topic of North Korea smartly--by interviewing at length a handful of North Korean defectors from various walks of life. She presented the kinds of intimate details exchanged between confidants. North Korea is unlike any country on Earth, and the subjects of this book are very unlike the average person. She believes its fall is imminent.
She says much less about Kim Jong-il beyond explaining that he was less capable than his father and fairly disliked by the North Koreans. She wrote little about the prison camps not because of any oversight; it was because, as she explained, those prisons are for life. No one is freed or manages to escape to provide a description.
This book is about the people. She wanted her readers, no matter who they are, to relate to her subjects as easily as they do their own friends. These people differ greatly. They range from an overworked doctor to an incorrigible teen thief. The result is a satisfying, full portrait of what life is as a citizen of this country.
Demick was shrewd in her choices, because these stories are equally interesting. Her writing is accomplished but not complicated; she transitioned logically from one story to another; and the book as a whole never gets dry. This technique really works. Focusing primarily on the inhabitants is almost always more engrossing in a nonfiction about a country. Those the least bit curious should open this, look at that shocking map heading chapter one, and try to resist the pull.
If the reading of a classic like the former is perhaps a more powerful reading experience, this nonfiction work proves a more empathetic one.
The details of the rough lives of her six subjects and their resourcefulness in the face of utter hopelessness and danger are novelistic; the book is a page-turner. I became invested in these lives and wished I knew even more of them. One of the defectors is a former university student, a voracious reader, and is given by Demick a copy of View all 17 comments.
Very engaging look at North Korea. You hear so many stories about what happens there but book really brought everything to the front. I have tried to read another book somewhat on North Korea and just could not finish it. Nothing to Envy kept me enthralled from the very beginning. It is hard to believe the things that went on in the country especially in the times we live in today.
It is a heart-breaking read but an eye opening one also. Not to be missed. North Korea reminds me of the old kingdom of the Zulus, in that it seemed only possible for both states that only one man could ever be fat, the nation's strategic fat reserves carried for security on one person, rather as the Merovingians made long hair their distinctive marker of royal status so these modern states had the male pot belly. Journalist Barbara Demick has sown together a narrative account of six North Korean lives from the city of Chongjin in the north west from the s through t North Korea reminds me of the old kingdom of the Zulus, in that it seemed only possible for both states that only one man could ever be fat, the nation's strategic fat reserves carried for security on one person, rather as the Merovingians made long hair their distinctive marker of royal status so these modern states had the male pot belly.
Journalist Barbara Demick has sown together a narrative account of six North Korean lives from the city of Chongjin in the north west from the s through to their defection and settlement in South Korea. Her intention was that the lives told would overlap and verify each other, at least in general outlines.
The broad picture is not surprising view spoiler [ well what do you imagine happens in a rigidly policed state unable to feed itself goes through a prolonged economic crisis?
I reached for it off the shelf for the rather irreverent reason that I am attempting the increase the number of books I read that were written by women and Mme Demick gave every appearance of fitting the bill. I knew very little about Korea and most of that from Steve's reviews, which admittedly don't appear on the surface to have much in common with the contemporary situation. But as is generally the case, even curiously extreme states can have deep roots, or draw on native traditions.
Ultra Confucian might be one way to think of the pre North Korea, focused on a benevolent if Spartan, Paternalistic leader who provided bi-weekly rations and biannual suits of clothing to a doting and dependant subject people. The deep problems were that this basic level of subsistence was heavily subsidised by other communist states, and the country lacks sufficient land suitable for agriculture to meet the population's calorific needs.
The story really begins then with the side into chronic malnutrition and starvation with the authorities gambling such resources as they did have on developing rockets and weapon's grade plutonium presumably in the hope of threatening their neighbours into providing food stuffs.
There was a Darwinistic element to the famine, those who felt that stealing was a sin were among the first to die, those who could digest any ground plant matter were better placed to survive. I was curious that Demick mentioned the stripping of copper from railway lines to be sold as scrap by free marketeering individuals - surely that happens in all countries, or maybe it is a habit peculiar to Britain with its fierce entrepreneurial spirit nourished by the Juche necessities of Brexit that such unconsidered trifles are snapped up by the bold and the free, in any case the point is rather that North Korea didn't have the resources to replace such losses nor provide its soldiers with socks.
The country was literally asset stripping itself in an effort to survive in the s. There is then for all Demick's sources a side into hunger, poverty and loss, circumstances that lead them to do something relatively exceptional for North Koreans according to Demick, which is to defect over the river border with China and from thence to South Korea, via Mongolia or airports. Malnutrition really saps a person's abilities to do anything including committing thought-crimes, and this a close approximation to a state, with the leadership rewritting history all the better to control the future, so the small number of defections is not to be sniffed at.
I was curious at the relation of women turning to prostitution because it was hard within the scope of this account to imagine many men having access to the spare cash or food to purchase said services, equally one woman was sent out from her factory to collect dog shit shortly after Demick had told us how rare dogs were in North Korea as food source or pets leaving me to imagine one might be more likely to happen across a lump of ambergris on the beach than a piece of canine excrement in North Korea, perhaps this simply underlines the futility of the exercise.
Demick says: Many were pushed into leaving not only because they were starving, but because they couldn't fit in at home. And often the problems trailed after them, even after they crossed the border" p , every society has its winners and its losers, Demick's informants were mostly for a variety of arbitrary, if meaningful in a north Korean context, marginalised people.
The interesting and sad part of the story was their difficulties in adapting to life in the South, were the authorities have even developed a half-way house campus complex to train defectors for their new lives in the hope of developing expertise and the necessary techniques in the event of national reunion.
Their endings are happyish, survival in harsh circumstances is not the most pleasant business, and somebody always has to pay for the lunch. Feisty Harriet. This nonfiction book written by journalist Barbara Demick was published in It follows the lives of six North Koreans actually more if you count family members who manage to defect to South Korea. One could say the stories they tell might be biased against the North as they are the ones who chose to leave. On the other hand, as Demick explains, western reporters she works for The Los Angeles Times are not allowed any free access to Northern Koreans while they are in North Korea.
There a This nonfiction book written by journalist Barbara Demick was published in There are always government workers escorting reporters, who are never allowed to speak to ordinary people privately. In addition, to her interviews of the defectors in South Korea, Demick has done extensive reporting on Korean history, government, and culture. The readers are never left without background or context. Both books focus on a few individuals in order to make vivid the stories of a culture and a movement and both books offer solid backgrounds based on years of research.
Wilkerson had the great advantage here as she was able to interview thousands of people about their experiences of the Northern Migration and had open access to a wide variety of research resources. Demick, on the other hand, was able to interview only about a hundred defectors from North to South Korea and focused on six, originally from the Chongjin, who had managed to escape to South Korea.
That narrow but deep focus makes it easier for us to envision the place. The stories she tells are totally compelling as is the picture she paints of the conditions in North Korea up through One woman, who was a kindergarten teacher, started her first year teaching with 50 students. By the end of the year, 35 had died from starvation; the remaining 15 were listless and tiny.
A college meal was soup made of water, salt, and leaves. Students were privileged; others had nothing. We watch as Chongjin, an industrial city in the far north of North Korea, shuts down its factories and stops delivering food to people.
People who do work such as the kindergarten teacher and a doctor are not paid—for years. With stories like these, I see how a tyrannical government managed to keep such a tight rein on its people for seventy years.
Everyone feared the government and in order to survive would fight to be accepted as Party members. As I read today in the newspaper that North Korea is saying they will be shortly testing an ICBM capable of delivering an atomic bomb as far as to the United States, I have to try and square that ambition with a population that has been starved and abused for decades.
I have to fear that without a healthy population or current technology other than nuclear bombs , North Korea might feel it really has no future and nothing to lose. Is there no way anyone out here can do anything about any of this?
I loved this book. I really knew next to nothing about North Korea before I read it, and it was a great introduction. Basically the North Korean regime is like one of those psychos who's kidnapped a bunch of little kids and keeps them chained in the basement their whole lives so they never know anything of the outside world, only unlike when psychos do this everyone else in the global neighborhood basically knows what's going on in that creepy house.
Demick's book relies on extensive interviews w I loved this book. Demick's book relies on extensive interviews with defectors, and tells the story of six North Koreans' lives in the northern industrial city of Chongjin and of their defections to South Korea. The thing that's so great about Nothing to Envy is that it presents its subjects as so easy to relate to and to care about, that it avoids the compassion fatigue, detachment, and defensive lack of empathy that can accompany reading about such horrors.
There are portions of this book that are harrowing to read and difficult to imagine, but we can process the idea of witnessing a nation starve to death because we see it through the eyes and the reactions of people we've come to feel we know and understand. The book seems very well-researched and is certainly not a fluff piece by anyone's standards, but for me it was this triumph of the human interest angle that made it so effective.
I felt that Demick really got to know her subjects and that she presented them as interesting and complex people, without shying away from an acknowledgment -- familiar from stories of Holocaust survivors -- of how those individuals with the wits, strength, and courage to survive and defect often differ from the general population in sometimes unattractive ways.
I was hugely moved by their stories and impressed by their bravery, but also saw them as real human beings with both good and bad traits, which is part of what made the book work so well. In short, this book is interesting and engaging and I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone with even a casual interest in North Korea up to , when it was published.
Some links I've come across that are helping me understand and digest this book better: Vice on Youtube: View all 6 comments. If only that were true, my brother. They were bad ass women because they were illegally making money on the black market AND criticizing the government.
In public, no less! Korea was free from thirty-five y "Some see the truth the proof only when the liar dies. Korea was free from thirty-five years of Japanese occupation after the country pulled out after losing WWII. They hated the Japanese and rejoiced at the chance to build their country again for themselves. Oh wait, what is this territory? I'll exchange your park place for my dark purple ones whatever that Monopoly property no one wants is.
I can't remember went the US and so Russia got the less desirable half if you like to eat rice, anyway. It happened before I was born, and there is nothing I can do about it.
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Still, reading that I have to go "Oh no! It's heartbreaking. History will never run out of that helpless assembly line going through the conveyor belt into the firey factory that is hell. I know what happened next. President Truman wanted to play war and he didn't have to get congressional permission first just like the American presidents these days. History happened and it's over. Oh wait, it's not because people are still fucked. I don't have a favorite war.
I don't believe there was ever any such thing as a just war. Good outcome, yes, but fought purely for benevolent reasons?
Divvying up Korea and Poland like kids over toys Korea was done the same as Germany, and Korea was not an enemy , running refugees in the hundreds of thousands back into Russia to get shot, Japanese internment camps, atomic bombs, reparations, rape, homogenization, attacks on victims of the joy divisions.
It goes on and on. England gave Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany. I don't think it was something the involved countries could have stayed out of, but no way was it a war to save Jews any more than the American civil war was about freeing slaves. It was also about people getting rich. A History of Europe Since I'm no where near the end so I haven't reached his conclusion if people are better off facing up to ALL of the horrors of a war, or if they should go on pretending the only victims were the Jews.
I'm more than a little curious about what he is going to decide. I wouldn't want to say if people could or couldn't move past something like that if everyone talked and talked about who did what to whom. I hope no one ever has to live all politics even though I know that many don't have that option. Official written history that lies or ignores is probably written to benefit someone in particular.
Some history is still talked about, remembered by people, right? If you can't avoid that then wouldn't it be better to at least attempt to approach closer to the truth of what really happened? Why tell it at all if you are only going to admit to a part of it? What also happened is that the US and Russia fucked over a lot of people in the aftermath of Hitler's world domination bust up. I would have hated the US for that rather than some ideology about capitalist pigs.
I guess there's no point in my wishing that the author would have admitted that North Korea isn't communist. The usa also isn't capitalist. Welfare for the state and welfare for the corporations. Since I'm talking about lies that's a pretty big one right there. Unlike Europe, North Koreans didn't get to see the light after the iron curtain was lifted in The light like scurry back under the bed.
The light like that's too damned bright I'm trying to get some sleep here. Sometimes it might be a relief to just admit what you had been afraid to face. China started making deals with South Korea and North Korea didn't have any longer protection from comrades in communism.
The electricity was going out. The food distribution centers were empty. Factory workers had nothing to produce. That's not, of course, what the people heard. North Korea is the best country in all of the world. We have nothing to envy. China and South Korea are poor, dammit! I have to say that I am stuck on something that came up over and over again with the defectors interviewed by Barbara Demick for her book.
When confronted with news from the outside world it was that China and South Korea were not destitute that confounded them. Our country lied to us?! I would have though that the millions dead by famine would have meant something more than the competitive success rate of their neighbors.
Or the , in prisons! They wouldn't tell them that anything was wrong. So the official truth was never true. It was an extreme version of what goes on in the United States. There's a public school in High Springs, Fla that failed kids despite the correct answers on tests so that they could "bring up their grades" to get the bonus money allotted for improvements. Education is a cluster fuck of corruption and people falling through the cracks.
Crime is down! That's what the report says so it must be true. Juking the stats is one way to describe it. The great leader looks reassuring on tv and sound bites are distributed to all. Hey, as long as he says his heart is heavy that's good enough for me. Everyone is fed propaganda over how well things are going in the face of a people brought to their knees. People too weak to goose step to their deaths. People going to unpaying jobs when they could have been looking for precious food because if they miss too many days they'll go to prison.
I wasn't too surprised by a lot it from what I know about other communist countries. You can't trust anyone.
One out of four people were informants. Kim Il-sung cherry picked for what parts he liked from the Mao and Stalin playbooks. North Korea seemed somehow more kept down than the others, despite the similarities. It wasn't just because there were more spies per person than even the Stasi had. The people seemed to believe the dear leader bull shit more? I mean, people banged their heads on the ground in grief when Kim Il-sung died.
There were reports of mass suicides some may have been from those who didn't want to live under his son. It could be the Confucian holdovers from their past. The sins of the father were passed down to three more generations.
One who was considered to have betrayed the state would take the rest of their blood relatives down with them. I am very much stuck on the life time prison terms. Barbara Demick's book, however, is considered with "ordinary lives" in North Korea. I know, it's in the title. Those who were the natural victims of this regime would have been in the "hostile" class and considered far below ordinary, which would be the core or wavering classes. I don't even know what's normal when you organize people's worth in this way.
It seems to be that any so-called socialist state is going to homogenize itself as fast as it can. THESE people aren't good enough for the common support for all. So much for the well-meaning big hand of the USA, eh? The Marielitos kicked out of Mariel, Cuba remain to this day in federal prison after Cuba put their cripples, retards and other unwanted people on a boat with no where to go. North Korea did trot some of theirs out to their showcase city of Pyongyang for the special Olympics.
I fear for what happened to them when all of that was over. They don't want anything less than "perfect" in their prized city. If they really didn't want you you were likely to end up in prison some time or another. You would starve to death unless you were very, very lucky in the place of many others who were anything but. I couldn't help but wonder about the scores of orphaned boys who scavenged like homeless cats outside train stations.
Some would be the last survivor of a family that went totally without to preserve their youngest lives and continue the family name. Where were the girls?!
I can guess. Maybe I don't want to prostitutes or dead, or in jail, or sold into slavery in China. Demick writes that the people she interviewed were those who could not find their place in North Korea. The problems they had fitting in North Korea didn't always go away in South Korea. One old lady, Mrs. Song, was a true bleeding believer in communism and their leader until they didn't have anything to eat. She doesn't have an awakening so much as an everyone else is doing it moment.
I can't and don't want to say that this would be true of everyone in North Korea that the rumbles in their tummy was what finally drowned out the gongs of go to work, sleep, now you are allowed to get rations. Not everyone had the option. It wouldn't last forever but for this time in the s some North Koreans benefited from the tragedy of their countrymen.
Older women who could get out of mandatory work got to work for themselves. Some women had freedom outside of the home for the first time in their lives.
Song didn't choose to defect, though. Her eldest daughter Oak-Hee has her kidnapped. Her own story is getting rounded up in China after three years of an arranged marriage. She was luckier than other North Korean women who became indentured servants or slaves.
When she returns she goes to prison. Because she had money from her illegal cookie vendor job, Mrs. Song is able to buy her daughter's way out of prison with cigarettes. Oak-hee gets mixed up with some bad broker types and is in debt almost as soon as she makes it to South Korea the South Korean government gives a cash settlement for defectors and this leaves many easy prey to scam artists.
I was a little annoyed when Demick says "She had arrived" about Mrs Song's plastic surgery around her eyes she didn't choose to defect. She fit in North Korea too. Going along with what everyone else is doing? I didn't care for the capitalist joy versus communist misery angle too much.
It wasn't about stuff! At least, it shouldn't be. I found it moving when North Koreans in South Korea talk about how they wish they could set up a system in North Korea that would care for the elderly. At least they were thinking about the day-to-day lives of people from home. That speaks to me of thinking about them as real people, not someone to follow orders.
I'm glad that Mrs Song is able to be happy in South Korea. But they leave behind her other two daughters. They could have gone to prison for what their mother and sister did. Mrs Song didn't remember she had daughters until after her husband and son die of starvation.
She lived her life giving everything she had to the state. Fifteen hour days. She misses the good times with her husband, when they still had food.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
I was moved by her love for her husband and also pissed off that her daughters were forgotten. They knew damned well what happened to people the government were pissed off about. What thoughts did they have for the people who did not have a penis and does that have anything to do with the reverent worship of the Kim family who has done them all so much harm?
Another defector, Mi-ran one of the first, as it happens , finds out about six months after they make it to South Korea that her two sisters are in prison with life sentences because of what she, her mother and brother had done by escaping. How could they just leave them like that? I don't want to impose survivor's guilt onto them, believe me.
I have a bad feeling that I am doing that with my worry about how "ordinary lives" means forgetting those who are not as lucky as you in North Korea. Karen White delivers a stunning reading; her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience. Powerful without becoming overwrought, White handles the harrowing material with sensitivity and intelligence.
An unforgettable listening experience that will resonate long after the final sentence. A Random hardcover Reviews, Sept. All rights reserved. Kim Ki-eum could do nothing to help her dying patients. Song, a model citizen, was finally forced to face cruel facts. See all Editorial Reviews.
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Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified Purchase. This book has a different format compared to many North Korea books.
In this book, the author starts with telling the story of the lives of several North Koreans in various walks of life. Of course, we know from the beginning, that regardless of how unlikely it seems, at some point all of these people are going to escape North Korea in order to be able to tell their story. We learn the story of how these individuals grew up and lived in North Korea, their thoughts about their government and now Eternal Leader Kim, how they lived through the starvation years of the 90's, and the long road leading to why they decided to defect or in 1 case, was tricked by a family member into defection, and how they finally were able to defect to South Korea.
We learn what happened to some of their family members left behind, about their attempts to rescue family members trapped in North Korea some successful and some not , and the sometimes harsh adjustment to the freedom and capitalism of South Korea. The author details the difficulty and perils involved for North Koreans to defect and safely make it sanctity in South Korea. We learn about a young man left an orphan whose father had been Party member, a pediatrician whose greatest dream was to be allowed to join the Party, a housewife with 2 young children and an abusive husband, a young woman and her "forbidden" boyfriend, a factory worker who had absolute loyalty to the regime, and several more.
The stories are poignant and heartwarming, showing vividly the humanity of people trapped in North Korea. This book also covers the operation of the government and its regimentation over people's lives from a historical viewpoint, how this all changed slightly for the better during the starvation years of the 90's, and the newer changes for the worse under Kim Jong-un.
Also covered are the issues and problems involved as former North Koreans adjust to a life of capitalism and freedom in South Korea. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to go beyond the history of and current living situation in North Korea, to hear the stories of real people surviving in and then escaping from North Korea. When Kim Jung-il died, I remember seeing a photo of a young woman dressed in black and sobbing.
The news covers a regime, a country and the mad man who runs it. We hear of nuke testing, missle launches and sancuntions. This book is an eye opener. At the end of the day, I get to put down the book and return to my life. Russian Roulette.
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I really responded to the romance in this book, as it traces the lives of 6 North Koreans, including 2 who separately defected and reunited on the outside, with a result that surprised both of them. Highly, highly recommended. Through stoies of individuals the author enables you to imagine and feel.
You're there. I had no interest in going to North Korea, now feel like I've already visited. This book is how I envision good education, statistics and history brought to life. Highly recommended. It gripped me. I couldn't put it down. An excellent read, excellent research. A first hand account of the travesty of possibly the worst place on the planet. The story of nine individuals and there adventure in stealing away from the prison life style of North Korea.
A must read. How many ways can I say that? This book is shocking and sad and hopeful and beautiful and the best I've read this year. I could not put it down! How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot.
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