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Inside North Korea Hardcover – March 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Edward Harris has traveled and photographed in more than 70 countries. He lives in Los Angeles.

Bruce Cumings is the author of North Korea: Another Country and Korea's Place in the Sun, and the two-volume Origins of the Korean War, and is a professor of history at the University of Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811857514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811857512
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author




Mark Edward Harris has traveled and photographed in 80 countries. His awards include a CLIO Award and an Aurora Gold Award for his photographic work and an ACE Award for television directing. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work which won the prestigious New York Book Show Photography Book of the Year and Best of Show awards; The Way of the Japanese Bath, winner of a Premier Print Award; Wanderlust which led to him being named Photographer of the Year at the 2004 Black and White Spider Awards and the book itself being named the people/photography book of the year at the International Photography Awards and the Prix del la Photographie Paris; in 2007 Chronicle Books published Inside North Korea and in 2008 Inside Iran; in 2009 an expanded 2nd edition of The Way of the Japanese Bath was released.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on April 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I recently reviewed Philippe Chancel's excellent photographic book North Korea and Mark Harris in his book has filled in more of the jigsaw. The Chancel book essentially covered the capitol Pyongyang and Harris contributes twenty general shots, too. Additional capitol coverage includes the amazing Arirang Mass Games, the Children's Palace, the Korean film studio and five shots of the USS Pueblo.

The strength of this book is the coverage outside of the capitol. No doubt under strict supervision Harris visited Kaesong, Geumgangsen, Sinuiju, Paektusan and the Tumen River along the northeast border region. The photos show the countryside and rather bleak looking cities and towns. Everywhere bikes seem the principal means of transport and everywhere there are the slogans of good cheer to inspire the masses. On page 135 there is photo of a hillside above the town of Sanbong with huge letters spelling out: 'Bravo Mr Kim who is the Greatest Sunshine of the 21st Century!' No doubt it keeps hillside typographers busy.

The last section covers the countryside along the Demilitarised Zone with its two and a half mile wide strip of land 151 miles long. The photos here are a mixture of military presence and agricultural folk existing (on either side) in this volatile flashpoint. One photo shows the world's tallest flagpole, 525 feet high, towering above the village of Kichong-dong (wouldn't such a structure make a super espionage something or other?).

I liked the book with its mixture of travel and politics (SS Pueblo, DMZ and Panmunjeom) presented in slightly raw, gutsy photos whereas Chancel's style is photographically softer and his book is the more elegant of the two.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
North Korea's always in the news and so a book like INSIDE NORTH KOREA is essential not just to college-level holdings with books on North Korea, but to general-interest collections as well. The public library will especially appreciate this book's format: an oversized photo exhibit which pairs well-researched essays and commentary by North Korea experts with images of North Korean peoples and places. Perfect for any collection seeking a solid introduction.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cory Geurts on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently purchased two North Korean photo books, "Inside North Korea" (which is this one) and "North Korea" (North Korea). Both books are excellent but the two are actually quite different.

This book is the more comprehensive of the two books. While the other book ("North Korea") stays primarily within Pyongyang, this book covers various regions of the country. This book also has more detailed photo captions, including English translations for many of the propaganda posters that can be found everywhere.

This book is comparatively more verbose than "North Korea." The Foreword is by Bruce Cumings, and each chapter also begins with an introduction of usually a couple of pages. Some people may find this useful; I usually just go straight to the photos.

There are many photos of the yearly Arirang Festival presented here. It looks like they're trying to portray the panels flipping from one side to the other, which creates a larger, composite image of the Great Leader. About half of the Arirang photos may seem redundant (unless you've never seen video footage of this before).

If you want to learn more about the country and could only buy one photo book, this is the one I would buy. If you're looking for a more esthetically pleasing coffee table book, then I would recommend "North Korea" (North Korea), but keep in mind that book stays predominately within Pyongyang.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
North Korea is an odd, isolated, and dangerous nation, largely closed to the outside world for over 50 years. The book largely consists of photos taken during 2005 and 2006. The military is North Korea's predominant attribute, with over one million always in the military, out of 27 million total. There are over 15,000 underground military/civil defense structures. Citizens are told that the U.S. started the Korean War - not true, of course. Nights are mostly dark, except for the foreign section of Pyongyang - energy shortages. Patriotic music plays from loudspeakers each morning, and occasional air raid drills are conducted as a defense against potential American air raids.

Harris' collection of photographs covers N.K. as well as one can in such a strict regime with 'minders' to control outsiders' activities. He covers Pyongyang, the DMZ, the annual Mass Games, and several other cities. Everywhere there are statues and photos of the Great Leader and his successor son, Dear Leader. Imitating their positions, taking photos of just their feet, destroying their photos (eg. tossing a newspaper with a Kim photo, discarding an extra photo of one of the statues) is a serious offence. Quotations from Great/Dear Leader are also pervasive. Rooms where either has visited have plaques over the door showing the dates of those visits. Streets are mostly empty, due to fuel shortages and few privately owned cars. Advertising is also absent. Only 4-5 flights/week leave the Pyongyang airport. The city's subway carries 300,000/day; each station is immaculate and depicts various heroic situations.

Each year's mass gymnastic games involve 20-40,000 colored card performers in a 1.5 hour display, and up to 100,000 others that put on various gymnastic displays. Performers practice from 2-10 hours/day.
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