Excellent book about North Korea

(20 Posts)
MaitreKarlsson Tue 20-Mar-12 13:08:00

Just wanted to recommend "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick. Happened to pick it up in a book shop & have been glued to it. Didn't know much about North Korea beforehand but it is truly staggering, and fascinating. A real insight into life in a dictatorship.

OddBoots Wed 21-Mar-12 08:13:49

I finished this book on Monday and as you say, it was a real insight. Then by chance a friend linked to this news story too. Absolutely horrific what is going on right now not just in history.

nappymaestro Wed 21-Mar-12 08:15:11

I read part of this book but couldn't finish as it was so sad - blame pg hormones

It is excellent

EightiesChick Wed 21-Mar-12 08:35:41

Thanks for the recommendation. I also read the article OddBoots linked to at the weekend and found it horrifying. Will put it on my reading list.

MaitreKarlsson Fri 23-Mar-12 12:24:45

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen it. Does anyone have any other similar non-fiction recommendations? Not necessarily about North Korea!

MsNorbury Sun 25-Mar-12 21:18:53

Loved it top. Read it a couple of years ago ? Pre kindle anyway

NotInMyDay Mon 16-Apr-12 17:57:56

I've also just finished this. I found it a fabulous read but humbling.

bunjies Mon 16-Apr-12 18:02:28

Would also recommend it as a very good introduction to the sheer horror of what's going on over there.

maples Mon 16-Apr-12 18:08:39

The famine sections are terrifying sad

MrsJohnDeere Mon 16-Apr-12 18:09:50

One of the most interesting books I've ever read. Couldn't it it down, or quite believe what I was reading. I recommend it to everyone.

Ditto what Mrs JD said - our book club just read this and we were all absolutely shock. and sad. and bowled over by it.

Everyone should read this book.

maples Thu 03-May-12 11:17:26

Should we ask MN to do a web chat with the author ?

notyummy Thu 03-May-12 11:21:01

Yes it's amazing - have recommended to all the ladies on the S and B thread I pop into! On other non-fiction I would also recommend Tim Butcher - Blood River and Chasing the Devil - both about Africa and hugely readable. The other one that had me glued was 'Homicide - A Year on the Killing Streets' by David Simon, who later went on to write The Wire. He spent a year following the homicide unit in Baltimore. Some of it is difficult stuff to read, but it is fascinating.

Imperfectionist Wed 16-May-12 13:55:04

Thanks for the recommendation, I've added it to my amazon basket - great price too.

I recommend: I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong

I found I Didn't Do It For You to be a real page turner. Some very interesting history on Britain's colonial conduct - if you didn't know, the UK fought major battles in Eritrea against the Italians in WWII, then ran the country for a decade afterwards before asset stripping it - literally dismantling factories and shipping them around the corner to Kenya - then 'giving' it Emperer Haili Selassie in Ethiopia in the 1960s, after which it fought a 30 year war of independence. It's now a brutal dictatorship with horrendous human rights abuses nicknamed 'the North Korea of Africa'.

Michela Wrong was a well-regarded journalist: Reuters, Economist, FT, who now writes non-fiction books about Africa. She's also written good ones on corruption in Kenya (It's Our Turn To Eat) and a fascinating colonial-to modern-day, history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo).

From Amazon: "If you thought Eritrea was some exotic flower you heard mentioned on a gardening programme this book will tell you something different. It tells the tale of a small group of Africans so despised and trampled by successive foreign occupations that they fought back and after 30 years of war, they became a nation. It is an astounding story packed with tales of the worst – and the best – of human behaviour." Richard Dowden, President of the Royal African Society

franke Thu 17-May-12 14:01:59

I've just ordered the book. I've also just spent a harrowing few hours reading about Shin Dong-Hyuk, the young man from the link above. Horrific and harrowing don't even begin to cover it. I'm interested to see how he gets on - he effectively has to learn how to be a human being. He's done amazingly well in the few years he's been out but is still clearly very conflicted. I hope he's getting the help he needs and deserves.

Nothing like as harrowing but I'm reading Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria, by Noo Saro-Wiwa. She's Ken Saro-Wiwa's daughter, brought up in the UK and travelling in Nigeria as an adult. It's really warmly written, and it reads easily and she has an interesting tourist / native Nigerian perspective.

tethersend Thu 17-May-12 14:24:31

Amazing book.

Am now reading Escape from camp 14, which is brutal but fascinating.

hackmum Sat 16-Jun-12 15:43:14

I'm reading Nothing to Envy now on the OP's recommendation. I agree, it's a very good book, will be recommending it to other people.

NoraHelmer Thu 28-Jun-12 12:32:40

I'm about half way through and am shocked by the awfulness of life in North Korea.

Windsock Sun 05-Aug-12 17:40:25

Gah. Old news. We all rea that years ago ;)

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