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Archive for August 22nd, 2019


My gosh, I got so engrossed reading another book about Korea that I only opened my WordPress blog for a few minutes this morning.

It’s North  Korea this time. It’s entitled Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea by Barbara Demick.

Nothing To Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. 

By the way, Kim Jong-un became the supreme leader of North Korea in 2011, succeeding his father Kim Jong-il.

The book speaks from the eyes of defectors who are now living in South Korea or China.  Getting a look inside this closed country, seeing the outside world though the eyes of those who escaped. If Pachinko was a riveting tale of how Korea was before the country’s division and during the Japanese Occupation, in this book you get to see how  people lived in North Korea when it was finally divided. It’s like a continuation of where Pachinko left off.

Here’s how the author described a world of those who were indoctrinated since birth.

“North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy, during the fourteen-hour days spent in factory day-care centers; that for the subsequent fifty years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim Il-sung; that the country was hermetically sealed to keep out anything that might cast doubt on Kim Il-sung’s divinity. Who could possibly resist?”

I haven’t actually finished the book yet but it is even more interesting and riveting than the previous book I read about the country.

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