By Barbara Demick
A awesome view into North Korea, as visible throughout the lives of six traditional voters
Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic interval that observed the dying of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged upward push to strength of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the inhabitants.
Taking us right into a panorama such a lot people have by no means earlier than noticeable, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to existence what it capacity to be residing below the main repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian global that's through selection no longer hooked up to the web, within which radio and tv dials are welded to the only govt station, and the place monitors of love are punished; a police nation the place informants are rewarded and the place an offhand comment can ship somebody to the gulag for life.
Demick takes us deep contained in the nation, past the achieve of presidency censors. via meticulous and delicate reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, elevate households, nurture objectives, and fight for survival. one after the other, we event the moments once they notice that their govt has betrayed them.
Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening examine a closed international that's of accelerating international importance.
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Extra info for Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
It is strikingly beautiful in places—from an American frame of reference, it could be said to resemble the Pacific Northwest—but somehow devoid of color. The palette has a limited run from the dark greens of the firs, junipers, and spruce to the milky gray of the granite peaks. The lush green patchwork of the rice paddies so characteristic of the Asian countryside can be seen only during a few months of the summer rainy season. The autumn brings a brief flash of foliage. The rest of the year everything is yellow and brown, the color leached away and faded.
I wrote a series of articles for the Los Angeles Times that focused on former residents of Chongjin, a city located in the northernmost reaches of the country. I believed that I could verify facts more easily if I spoke to numerous people about one place. I wanted that place to be far from the well-manicured sights that the North Korean government shows to foreign visitors—even if it meant I would be writing about a place that was off limits. Chongjin is North Korea’s third-largest city and one of the places that were hardest hit by the famine of the mid-1990s.
The lush green patchwork of the rice paddies so characteristic of the Asian countryside can be seen only during a few months of the summer rainy season. The autumn brings a brief flash of foliage. The rest of the year everything is yellow and brown, the color leached away and faded. The clutter that you see in South Korea is entirely absent. There is almost no signage, few motor vehicles. Private ownership of cars is largely illegal, not that anyone can afford them. You seldom even see tractors, only scraggly oxen dragging plows.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick