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  • Published: New York : Spiegel & Grau, c2010.
  • Year Published: 2010
  • Edition: 1st ed.
  • Description: xii, 314 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9780385523905
  • 0385523904


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Nothing to envy : ordinary lives in North Korea

by Demick, Barbara.

There are currently 2 available

Where To Find It

Call number: 306.095 De

Available Copies: Downtown 2nd Floor, Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

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.

Community Reviews

Informative, easy to read, wonderful

At book club last night, someone said, "Holy crap, reading this was like reading one of our dystopian YA books, except this is actually happening!"

The book isn't meant to be a comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the history of North Korea (although it gets into pieces of that). It looks at recent history through the personal lens of six individuals from one particular region, at the political aspects of life, social dynamics, family relations, fear of the government, employment, famine, community. Did you know North Korea has a caste system as strong as any other in the world? It's just more hidden to us than, say, the Hindu religion's.

I think the small details that peppered the book were what drew me in the most. That the army lowered its height requirement as the famine affected nutrition for years. When someone visited to South Korea and thought, "I've never seen anything as advanced as nail clippers. We in North Korea don't stand a chance on the world stage. We are not as powerful as I have been told." That those who followed the rules died early in the famine, and only the rule breakers could survive, in a country that demanded obedience.

Heartbreaking. Informative. Personal. Drew me in. Educational to boot.


Ha! Quite a title, Huh? This is all true, I think. I never been in North Korea! Cause I'm South Korean! ^^
And North Korean are all want to come OUR land. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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