Axis of Evil World Tour: An Americanýs Travels in Iran, Iraq, and North Korea Paperback – December 10, 2006
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About the Author
- Publisher : iUniverse; 0 edition (December 10, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 258 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0595416047
- ISBN-13 : 978-0595416042
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.65 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,921,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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North Korea's Pyongyang airport via Beijing in an old Koryo airplane was the way into the country with a tour group. The author figured this would be the best way to go and to tour. There were Japanese tourists among the group and some Germans as well. Scott Fisher was assigned a tour guide who was with him from the time he got up and ate breakfast until he went to his hotel to sleep at night. It was a fairly hectic schedule where they went from one site to another with the guide always saying, "Hurry, hurry, hurry." One thing that Mr. Fisher noticed was how spotlessly clean the country appeared. Of course he was taken to the huge Tower of the Juche Idea. Juche is the ideology that Kim il-sung developed that stresses self-reliance and independence. This takes the burden off the governnent to feed its people and puts the people on their own to find food while the money goes for towers and huge statues of leaders (and weapons development). He also was taken to the statue of Kim-il-Sung where the protocol is very strict for honoring him with flowers and the correct kind of bow. North Korea has an Arch of Triumph which the guide pointed out that it was much bigger than the one in Paris. One of the most sobering parts of the tour was the trip to the DMZ with its million soldiers and its closeness to where Mr. Fisher lived on the other side of it.
This part was very interesting because the author did not get to meet or talk to many local people in North Korea even though he spoke Korean. They are very wary of Americans since we are terrorists and killers to them ( brainwashed into them by the regime) and many are afraid of Americans. After reading this first part of The Axis of Evil I would love to go to North Korea, but I'd be afraid of making some little mistake that would land me in jail. It doesn't take much.
In another year or two, the author went to Iraq as a non-military government worker via a military cargo plane as part of the group looking for weapons of mass destruction. This was after the fall of Saddam Hussein, so Fisher's office was in a part of the wrecked palace that used to house the Baath party for R & R... The palace was surrounded by a moat and other water and he makes a good observation that in the desert those in control are the ones who have water. Mortar fire was a routine daily and nightly occurrence that he soon became used to since it was coming from the other side of Baghdad and he was on a military base. Home was a shabby trailer with nothing on top to protect them from mortars. Other countries' military lived in trailers that were built up on top with protection. He sat at a desk all day and as the project wound down he had less and less to do. He had very little interaction with the Iraqi people since he was almost exclusively on the base. At this point after 3 months in Iraq at a desk, the author resigned. Nothing was getting better in Iraq.
Scott Fisher arrived in his third and last country via Iran Air flight 801 in Tehran. He was met promptly by his guide who took him around the country to see both modern and ancient sites. I liked this part of the book best of all. Everywhere that he went, Fisher was greeted and welcomed to the country by the most friendly people he had yet to meet. The Iranians told him how friendly a people they are and that they don't hate Americans, just our government. Due to U.S.sanctions they cannot watch U.S. movies and have only a few Iranian channels and a couple of international channels to watch. As the guide took the author around, he was met with only smiles and welcomes. It made me realize that we have to meet the real people of a country or a society before judging them as the enemy or as someone who hates us because their government said so.
I would like to read more of Scott Fisher's books, especially about North Korea. He has a nice casual style of writing and inserts a good bit of humor. He speaks Korean and shocked a few people who didn't know and he also learned a good bit of Farsi while in Iran. Great book.