Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy

Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Book - 2009
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Follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years, a chaotic period that saw the rise to power of Kim Jong Il and the devastation of a famine that killed one-fifth of the population, illustrating what it means to live under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2009, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385523905
0385523904
9780385523912
Characteristics: xii, 314 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm

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mini_moon_pie
Jun 04, 2019

The most interesting part of the book to me happened near the end. Though the people Demick interviewed suffered greatly in North Korea, they all explained how they were waiting impatiently for the regime to collapse, the 38th parallel to simply be a latitudinal line on a map. They want to return to North Korea and help people by going back to their jobs as teacher, doctor, and engineer. It’s 2019, and that hasn’t happened.

Nothing to Envy helped me understand global politics much more, and I highly recommend it to everyone. Dictatorships can happen anywhere.

w
WoodneathReads
Oct 14, 2018

This book follows the lives of six ordinary North Koreans over fifteen years. I am typically not a non-fiction reader, but this one provided so much insight to what it means to be living under a repressive regime. These North Koreans raise families, have ambitions and also struggle for survival. Read this wonderful book to find out why someone would leave, but then return! --Shirlee (See more of my picks by following WoodneathShirlee)

w
WoodneathShirlee
Aug 03, 2018

This book follows the lives of six ordinary North Koreans over fifteen years. I am typically not a non-fiction reader, but this one provided so much insight to what it means to be living under a repressive regime. These North Koreans raise families, have ambitions and also struggle for survival. Read this wonderful book to find out why someone would leave, but then return!

s
sharylkalal
Mar 23, 2018

This book was honestly a very good read. I thought that the story each of the six characters in their North Korean life and describing what it's like is what intrigued me and made for an interesting book. It is sad how they live compared to us and how they are restricted to what they can do and if one bad thing happens, it could affect the entire bloodline of a family.

cals_readers Dec 13, 2017

Personal narratives of six defectors from the Republic of North Korea. Contrasts the reality of daily suffering and famine under tyranny with the grandiose images of their propaganda.

h
horthhill
Nov 01, 2017

"Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick is an oral history of North Koreans who managed to settle in South Korea. It's reads as a biography of about a dozen people whom we first meet in the early '90s. The cohort experience the severe North Korean famine of the mid-90s. They then leave North Korea in the late '90s and early 2000s. Demick collected the stories from interviews conducted in South Korea from about 2005 to 2010. Worth the read.

h
Hvevans
Sep 21, 2017

Heartbreaking stories from defectors of North Korea. This book is really great if you are interested in learning about the country and the true lives of people under a complete Dictator.

b
becker
Jun 13, 2017

This book takes us into the lives of 6 North Koreans during the great famine of the 90's. This is something that everyone could benefit from reading; if only to be made more grateful for the lives we have. The book is inspiring and shocking.

r
rationallady
Jan 02, 2017

Outstanding! I read it in four days. This is Orwell's "1984" in nightmarish detail-and it's real.

NinaAlt Sep 24, 2016

An upcoming trip to south korea urged me to read up on the country's history and I am so glad I did. This is a fascinating book giving you a glimpse into what it was like during the famine in the 90's and what it probably still is like to live in north korea in 2016. it's heartbreaking to read people's stories and inspiring that despite their circumstances, they managed to turn their life around completely. an absolutely inspiring read!

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