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Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy

Author(s): Barbara Demick

Location(s): Chongin, North Korea

Genre(s): Biography

Era(s): Modern

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North Korea is Orwell’s 1984 made reality: it is the only country in the world not connected to the internet: Gone with the Wind is a dangerous, banned book: during political rallies, spies study your expression to check your sincerity. After the death of the country’s great leader Kim Il Sung in 1994, famine descended: people stumbled over dead bodies in the street and ate tree bark to survive. Nothing to Envy weaves together the stories of adversity and resilience of six residents of Chongin, North Korea’s third largest city. From extensive interviews and with tenacious investigative work, Barbara Demick has recreated the concerns, culture and lifestyles of North Korean citizens in a gripping narrative, and vividly reconstructed the inner workings of this extraordinary and secretive country.

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‘These stories, very effectively told here in all their human detail, are immensely touching’ –Daily Mail

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