Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Hardback

By (author) Barbara Demick

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  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
  • Format: Hardback | 314 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 240mm x 32mm | 599g
  • Publication date: 29 December 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0385523904
  • ISBN 13: 9780385523905
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps, frontispiece
  • Sales rank: 46,678

Product description

A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demick's "Nothing to Envy" is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens "Nothing to Envy "follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years--a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today--an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects--average North Korean citizens--fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them. "Nothing to Envy "is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance.

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Author information

Barbara Demick is the Beijing bureau chief of the" Los Angeles Times. "Her reporting on North Korea won the Overseas Press Club's award for human rights reporting as well as awards from the Asia Society and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Her coverage of Sarajevo for "The Philadelphia Inquirer" won the George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Her previous book is "Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood."

Review quote

"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, awardwinnin