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The Great North Korean Famine: Famine, Politics, and Foreign Policy

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1929223336
ISBN-10: 1929223331
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In The Great North Korean Famine: Famine, Politics, and Foreign Policy, Andrew S. Natsios (American Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) sneaks past the physical and media barricades the North Korean dictatorship hides behind to explore the tragic events that killed approximately three million people between 1994 and 1999. As a senior administrator of an NGO, Natsios spearheaded an international humanitarian effort to stem the famine's spread but was met with ignorance and indifference by many governments and organizations. Culling information from the testimonies of refugees, from his experiences with North Korean and Western officials, and from his considerable grasp of the interplay between the realms of international relief and foreign policy, Natsios delivers a portrait of an unfeeling North Korean government and the politics of humanitarian aid.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

In the Great North Korean Famine: Famine, Politics, and Foreign Policy, Andrew S. Natsios sneaks past the physical and media barricades the North Korean dictatorship hides behind to explore the tragic evens that killed approximately three million people between 1994 and 1999. . . . Culling information from the testimonies of refugees, from his experience with North Korean and Western officials, and from his considerable grasp of the interplay between the realism of international relief and foreign policy, Natsios delivers a portrait of an unfeeling North Korean government and the politics of humanitarian aid. --Publishers Weekly

Natsios provides the most detailed analysis this reviewer has seen on this massive disaster. . . . The Great North Korean Famine is essential reading for anyone interested in the Korean peninsula. . . . Whether you agree with Natsios's policy recommendations or not, he has written an important and profoundly disturbing book. --Parameters
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: United States Institute of Peace (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929223331
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929223336
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,960,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a professional colleague once said about another author, he got the story right but the facts wrong.
This is a difficult book to evaluate. It basically gets the story of the North Korean famine right, but it is misleading or wrong in many of the specifics, starting with the first sentence of the book "In September 1995 the North Korean government, in a rare admission of vulnerability announced to the outside world that severe flooding had devastated its agricultural regions and that subsequent failure had caused widespread food shortages." Narrowly true, perhaps - the government of North Korea may well have made such a statement in September 1995 - but thoroughly misleading. The government of North Korea had publicly admitted it had food shortages and successfully reached agreements with Japan and South Korea to supply emergency food aid in May 1995 - before the floods hit in June. So unless time moves backwards on the Korean peninsula, floods in June could not be the cause of agreements reached in May. As evidenced by the September statement that Natsios uses to begin the book, the flooding proved politically useful to both the North Koreans (the famine was an act of God and not a combination of their own incompetence and malevolence) and to the donor community (easier to supply aid in response to victims of natural disasters than victims of a thoroughly odious regime).
Much of this book is built on such half-truths. In part, this is due to its author's intended or inadvertent tendency to place himself at the center of all events. This gives the book a certain strength: the first-hand accounts -- I visited this orphanage on this date and this is what I observed -- are compelling. But either Natsios is disturbingly self-promoting or simply doesn't know what he is talking about.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Haven't read all of it but it is really dry. Hard to follow through with it.
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Format: Paperback
I am very impressed with the new USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios's book "The Great North Korean Famine." If you are a student of famine or interested in what is happening in North Korea, you should read this book. A book like this is hard to come by because information from North Korea is so limited. Gathered and compiled diligently, this is a very well written account of causes and conditions of famine in North Korea that may have killed as many as a couple of million or more people, about 10 percent of the population.
According to the Nobel winning author/economist Amartya Sen (whose book on right-based development I have just read recently), no democratic government has ever let famine happen. Famine is preventable if the government cares about its people.
You should read this book if you are interested in North Korea or on the politics of famine.
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Format: Paperback
The Great North Korean Famine: Famine, Politics, And Foreign Policy by Andrew Natsios (administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development) is an erudite, well-researched and compelling examination of the famine crisis in North Korea; its roots, its politics, its economics, and its bitter consequences. Straightforward narration renders college-level international problems in terminology the lay reader can easily understand. An appendix includes an op-ed piece by the author, succinctly titled "Feed North Korea: Don't Play Politics with Hunger." A powerful, eye-opening, highly recommended study, The Great North Korean Famine is also available in hardcover (192922334X, $42.50).
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