Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
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Random House Publishing Group 2009
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Format
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date
12/29/2009
Language
English
ISBN
9780385529617
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APA Citation (style guide)

Demick, B. (2009). Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Demick, Barbara. 2009. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Demick, Barbara, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Random House Publishing Group, 2009.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Demick, Barbara. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Random House Publishing Group, 2009. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work IDd8f011f6-994e-5a07-e627-3a4d31a175e8
Full titlenothing to envy ordinary lives in north korea
Authordemick barbara
Grouping Categorybook
Last Update2020-04-01 16:46:36PM
Last Indexed2020-04-03 10:21:30AM

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keywords
      • value: human rights
      • value: Asia
      • value: politics
      • value: South Korea
      • value: society
      • value: Communism
      • value: oppression
      • value: isolationism
      • value: North Korea
      • value: starvation
      • value: 1990s
      • value: current affairs
      • value: Korea
      • value: 20th Century
      • value: China
      • value: communist
      • value: Russia
      • value: famine
      • value: Investigative Journalism
      • value: refugees
      • value: Poverty
      • value: Current Events
      • value: History
      • value: dictatorship
      • value: Oral History
      • value: Totalitarianism
      • value: International
      • value: Soviet Union
      • value: defection
      • value: Kim Il-Sung
      • value: Tyranny
      • value: Kim Jong Il
      • value: history books
      • value: defectors
      • value: totalitarian regime
      • value: North Korean history
      • value: hermit kingdom
      • value: north korean books
      • value: north korean famine
      • value: totalitarian dictatorship
creators
      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Demick, Barbara
      • bioText:

        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.

      • name: Barbara Demick
imprint
Spiegel & Grau
publishDate
2009-12-29T00:00:00-05:00
isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Nothing to Envy
fullDescription
An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a "tour de force of meticulous reporting" (The New York Review of Books)

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
  • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

    In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

    Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.
    Praise for Nothing to Envy
    "Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author's deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details."The New York Times
    "Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail."The Wall Street Journal
    "A tour de force of meticulous reporting."The New York Review of Books
    "Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad."San Francisco Chronicle
    "The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction."—John Delury, Slate
    "At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology."The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • reviews
        • premium: False
        • source: San Francisco Chronicle
        • content: "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."
        • premium: True
        • source: Publisher's Weekly
        • content:

          Starred review from February 22, 2010
          Following six North Koreans over the course of 15 years, Demick offers a haunting portrait of life in North Korea. Her subjects are instantly relatable—they fall in love, raise families—but as their country grows increasingly isolated, totalitarian, and repressive, and is ravaged by unemployment and famine, they risk everything to leave. Karen White delivers a stunning reading; her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience. Powerful without becoming overwrought, White handles the harrowing material with sensitivity and intelligence. An unforgettable listening experience that will resonate long after the final sentence. A Random hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 28).

        • premium: True
        • source: Publisher's Weekly
        • content:

          Starred review from September 28, 2009
          A fascinating and deeply personal look at the lives of six defectors from the repressive totalitarian regime of the Republic of North Korea, in which Demick, an L.A. Times
          staffer and former Seoul bureau chief, draws out details of daily life that would not otherwise be known to Western eyes because of the near-complete media censorship north of the arbitrary border drawn after Japan's surrender ending WWII. As she reveals, “ordinary” life in North Korea by the 1990s became a parade of horrors, where famine killed millions, manufacturing and trade virtually ceased, salaries went unpaid, medical care failed, and people became accustomed to stepping over dead bodies lying in the streets. Her terrifying depiction of North Korea from the night sky, where the entire area is blacked out from failure of the electrical grid, contrasts vividly with the propaganda on the ground below urging the country's worker-citizens to believe that they are the envy of the world. Thorough interviews recall the tremendous difficulty of daily life under the regime, as these six characters reveal the emotional and cultural turmoil that finally caused each to make the dangerous choice to leave. As Demick weaves their stories together with the hidden history of the country's descent into chaos, she skillfully re-creates these captivating and moving personal journeys.

        • premium: True
        • source: Kirkus
        • content:

          October 15, 2009
          A detailed, grim portrait of daily life under the repressive North Korean dictatorship, where schoolchildren are taught to sing anthems in praise of their leader asserting that they"have nothing to envy in this world.`

          Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Demick bases her account on seven years of interviews with North Koreans who escaped to South Korea. She focuses on individuals whose stories began in the 1990s and continue to the present, including Mi-ran, a lower-class girl who became a teacher; Jun-sang, a university student who eventually got a glimpse of outside life through books, radio and television; Mrs. Song, a middle-aged true believer, and her defiant daughter Oak-hee; Dr. Kim, an idealistic female physician; and Kim Hyuck, an orphan boy surviving alone on the streets. Along with their personal stories, Demick includes background information on the Korean War and the dictatorships of Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il. The author also examines the great famine that killed millions of North Koreans in the 1990s. She paints a stark, vivid picture of reality in an industrial city with no electricity and almost no industry, where workers no longer get paid, men are conscripted into military service for ten years, grass, bark and corn husks are considered food, and death by starvation is all too common. In one unforgettable scene, Dr. Kim, having crossed a river into China, sees that dogs in China eat better than human beings in North Korea. In addition to the physical hardships is the psychological stress of living under a rigid totalitarian government where a chance wrong word overheard and reported by a neighbor can mean imprisonment or death. Demick shows the state of mind of each of her subjects, what their daily life was like, how they coped and eventually how each escaped. She also reveals her subjects struggling, sometimes unsuccessfully, to adapt to life in South Korea.

          Meticulous reporting reveals life in a country that tries hard to keep its citizens walled in and the rest of the world out.

          (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

        • premium: True
        • source: Library Journal
        • content:

          January 15, 2010
          For most Americans, North Korea, one of the last Communist dictatorships, is a totalitarian menace but socially a great blank space. Demick, a "Los Angeles Times" reporter based first in Seoul and now in Beijing, fills this void with well-rounded life stories based on seven years of interviews with individuals who escaped to South Korea or China. Mi-ran, for instance, as the daughter of a political outcast, could meet with her young man only after dark, when they would take advantage of the complete absence of electric lights to walk for miles and miles unobservedwithout, however, going even so far as to hold hands. She could not let him know of her plans to leave for fear that the authorities would hold him responsible or that he would need to inform on her to protect his family. This and other life stories form a welcome portrait of "ordinary" lives in an extraordinary society. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in North Korea who want to supplement their political studies or simply enjoy the personal approach.Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL

          Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    shortDescription
    An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a "tour de force of meticulous reporting" (The New York Review of Books)

    NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
  • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

    In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

    Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us...
  • sortTitle
    Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea
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    awards
        • source: National Book Foundation
        • value: National Book Award Finalist
        • source: The National Book Critics Circle
        • value: National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
        • source: Notable Books Council
        • value: Notable Books for Adults
    subtitle
    Ordinary Lives in North Korea
    publisher
    Random House Publishing Group