- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; Reprint edition (September 21, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780385523912
- ISBN-13: 978-0385523912
- ASIN: 0385523912
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,724 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Reprint Edition
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“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Los Angeles Times correspondent Barbara Demick’s Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. . . . Elegantly structured and written, Nothing To Envy is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”–Slate
“Excellent . . . lovely work of narrative nonfiction . . . a book that offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”–New York Times
“A deeply moving book.”–Wall Street Journal
“Superbly reported account of life in North Korea.’’–Bloomberg
“There’s a simple way to determine how well a journalist has reported a story, internalized the details, seized control of the narrative and produced good work. When you read the result, you forget the journalist is there. Barbara Demick, the Los Angeles Times’ Beijing bureau chief, has aced that test in “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea,” a clear-eyed and deeply reported look at one of the world’s most dismal places.’’–Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The ring of authority as well as the suspense of a novel.’’–Washington Times
“Excellent new book is one of only a few that have made full use of the testimony of North Korean refugees and defectors. A delightful, easy-to-read work of literary nonfiction, it humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad that North Koreans are often compared to robots. . . . The tale of the star-crossed lovers, Jun-sang and Mi-ran, is so charming as to have inspired reports that Hollywood might be interested.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“In a stunning work of investigation, Barbara Demick removes North Korea’s mask to reveal what lies beneath its media censorship and repressive dictatorship.”–Daily Beast
“In spite of the strict restrictions on foreign press, awardwinning journalist Demick caught telling glimpses of just how surreal and mournful life is in North Korea. . . . Strongly written and gracefully structured, Demick’s potent blend of personal narratives and piercing journalism vividly and evocatively portrays courageous individuals and a tyrannized state.”—Booklist
“These are the stories you’ll never hear from North Korea’s state news agency.”–New York Post
“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology. Demick . . . takes us inside the minds of her subjects, rendering them as complex, often compelling characters—not the brainwashed parodies we see marching in unison in TV reports.”–Philadelphia Inquirer
“The last time I read a book with something truly harrowing or pitiful or sad on every page it was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and those characters had the good fortune to not be real.”–St. Louis Magazine
About the Author
Barbara Demick is the author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize in the U.K., and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Demick is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, and was recently a press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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But I’m an American, I have no idea what it’s like to be afraid to criticize politicians. In truth, I don’t think anyone who hasn’t lived under the Kims could know how disparaging it is. It’s ‘1984’ come true in all the worst ways.
The news covers a regime, a country and the mad man who runs it. We hear of nuke testing, missle launches and sancuntions. But we don’t hear about the mothers trying to care for their families, the homeless, starving children or the men who are forced to work for no pay. This book is an eye opener. It focusing on those who really matter and it’s not the Kims, it’s the people who are trapped in his hell.
At the end of the day, I get to put down the book and return to my life. There is nothing that can be done to reach those who are suffering. But I’d like to think that just knowing that they are suffering helps in some small way. I am certainly more grateful for everything in my life.
This story is well researched, well told, and fleshed out so that we come to know the people involved. We share their fears and struggles, though their daily lives, shaped by specific legalities, is different than our own. We see them as human beings, regardless of the governmental system they happened to have been born into, or even subscribed to.
Now that several books are coming out about daily life in North Korea (mass starvation and collapse has made defection easier, though by no means easy) we have, not only information about a secretive and totalitarian country, but more points of reference for what human dignity is NOT, and can and should be.