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Eating with the Enemy: How I Waged Peace with North Korea from My BBQ Shack in Hackensack Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An enlightening, and precarious, experiment in the ways opposing cultures can merge and acquiesce.”
       —Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus Reviews)

“In this engaging, off-the-wall memoir, Egan . . . demonstrates the power that individual friendships formed across ‘enemy’ lines can have.”
       —Library Journal
(Library Journal)

“A jaunty narrative of one man’s sometimes self-indulgent escapades in the face of government ambivalence.”
       —The New York Times
(New York Times)

“Narrator Traber Burns has a down-home style that sounds like he’s sitting on his porch telling us this unique personal story.”
       —AudioFile
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

ROBERT EGAN has owned and run Cubby’s, a barbecue restaurant in Hackensack, New Jersey, for the past twenty-five years. He has served as an “unofficial ambassador” for the government of North Korea and is the chairman of a trade group that has worked to improve ties between that country and the United States. 

KURT PITZER is a former commercial fisherman who has reported from some of the world’s most turbulent regions for The Boston Globe, The Sunday Times of London, the Los Angeles Times, and People magazine. He cowrote The Bomb in My Garden with Saddam Hussein’s nuclear mastermind, Mahdi Obeidi, after helping him escape from Baghdad in 2003.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312571305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312571306
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Edwards on April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
You've heard the expression "truth is stranger than fiction"? Well, it was coined for a page-turner like EATING WITH THE ENEMY. You simply could not make up the true story of Bobby Egan, the quasi-wiseguy New Jersey goomba barbecue shack owner who befriended North Korea's diplomatic mission to the UN and became "our man in Pyongyang" (or theirs in NYC--depending on who you believe). This book is equal parts "The Sopranos," "Catch-22," and Graham Greene. But not even Greene could have invented a senior North Korean diplomat who becomes best friends with a working class Italian American burger cook and starts going with him to Giants games, or deep sea fishing, or deer hunting......not to mention Bobby traveling to North Korea (where he is drugged with sodium pentothal), or arranging dental work for his friend Mr. Han that makes Han the envy of the DPRK, or trying to open a franchise of his bbq shack in Pyongyang, or--most incredibly--eventually consulting w/the North Koreans on their nuclear weapons program. The cat-and-mouse with the FBI and the State Department--who were furious that Egan had achieved a degree of penetration they never could, and repeatedly harassed him even as they relied on him to act as go-between--are priceless as well. But what really gives the book lasting impact is that beneath the surreal black humor is a very moving tale of an extraordinarily unlikely friendship, and of a somewhat damaged but always sympathetic man searching for meaning and purpose in his life. Beautifully captured in Bobby's distinctive voice, EATING WITH THE ENEMY is an unforgettable story and a great read. (Hollywood: take note!)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Arias on April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I found the book a delicious blend of funny and serious, all delivered with an edgy, absolutely credible, Wise Guy tone of voice. It's food, geopolitics and a wild trip behind the mystery curtain surrounding North Korea.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Main on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sandwiched between the FBI and North Korean diplomats, lone patriot, Bobby Egan stuck his neck out in attempts to create peace between two enemy nations. He did it on his own terms and on his own dime, putting himself, his family and his livelihood in danger. He put his principles first and lived by them. And had some wild adventures along the way. Check this book out. It'll surprise you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Nishida on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eating with the Enemy really makes you wonder about the wisdom of Washington and it's policies. When a potentially nuclear-armed nation has to turn to a burger chef from Hackensack for dialogue and insight about our country, it's time to rethink our foreign policy. The book is a thought provoking and fun read. You won't be able to put it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pamela S. Fischer on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Talk about unlikely bedfellows: a burger chef from Hackensack, NJ; Kim Jong Il; the FBI; the mob; Ross Perot; the New York Giants and the NSC. Makes you want to get into the center of it all, just like Bobby Egan did. Read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cpt matt VINE VOICE on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love BBQ and have been reading up on North Korea of late, so this title caught my eye. No recipes here though, Bobby Egan is a restaurant owner in Hackensack, NJ but the subject here is politics, not food. He describes his blue collar upbringing; wanna be mobster life of crimes and drugs into leading into his hobby of international diplomacy - with the North Koreans, no less.

So whatya learn? People is people, all over da world. If only da government diplomats would listen to guys like Bobby, there'd be no problems. The author is many things - bombastic, conceited, over reaching, naïve, arrogant, but also funny, irreverent, ambitious, honest and quite right in many instances. At times, this book reminded me of the Sprint commercial "what if firefighters ran the world". Of course people are people all over the world, even those from totalitarian, repressive regimes such as North Korea.

Bobby was the average Joe trying to make a difference. Did he succeed? Perhaps not in the scope of what he was trying to do, but in smaller ways certainly. And it is an entertaining book. A good read, a fun read, but certainly not a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JoeyInArlington on March 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm an avid reader of non-fiction. Old history, current events, politics etc. Not often do I come across a book that draws me in and keeps me attentive to the details. This book is an amazing read. The author's humor and personality resonate throughout the entire book.

The story line is fantastic. To do what this man has done not just for our country but for all humanity the world over is an amazing feat. His cause is energetic his actions are unbelievable.

I would call Robert Egan first a patriotic and just man but more than that I would call him a hero!

I read this book in a day. I've told all of my friends and coworkers to read it. You will LOVE this book,
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A Faverty on July 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the most delightful, funny, thought-provoking, and surprising books I've read in many years. I laughed so hard. knowing all the while this subject is deadly serious.

The writing is clever, witty and highly readable.

The whole story is almost too preposterous to be true, and yet, it is.

I loved this book. It was hard to put down. And when I did, I missed Bobby Egan and the whole crowd. I'm routing for a sequel. Soon.

Patricia Faverty
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