Books About North Korea

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North Korea is a little known country. It is perceived to be isolated, secretive and volatile. Perhaps it has something to do with its sour relationship with the west. This however makes it an interesting subject of study. There is a whole library of books illuminating the enigma that is North Korea. Some of the book the books covering about North Korea are listed below.

Books about North Korea.

  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

This book by Barbara Demick is an account of six North Korean defectors. The six were citizens of the city of Chongjin at the time when the great leader Kim Il-sung died and was replaced by his son Kim Jong-il.

The book traces their experience through a bad famine and how they struggled to survive through it. Barbara gives a vivid description of the situation in North Korea. The book promises to be a good read.

  • Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden

Escape from camp 14 is Shin Dong-hyuk testimony, told by an American journalist Blaine Harden. Shin Dong-hyuk was born and brought up in a gulag. When his mother and brother plotted to escape the gulag, he reviled their plot to the authorities. The pair was executed right in front of him. Later, he meets a fellow prisoner and together they plot a successful escape.

Blaine, in this book takes readers into one of the North Koreas concentration camps. He documents the plight of the prisoners and the atrocities done to them to keep them in subjugation.

  • The Orphan Master’s Son By Adam Johnson

This is a fiction story of Pak Jun-do. He was born of an orphan master, he has never met his mother. When he is of age, he joins the army as a fighter. He quickly rises through the ranks. From an army fighter, he becomes a kidnapper on the beaches of Japan. He later rises to become a naval spy in Texas. He comes back to North Korea to take on Kim Jong-il to save the woman he loves.

Adam Johnson has gone on to win the Pulitzer prize for this book. It has been credited for capturing the essence of North Korea and telling tales of some realities in North Korea.

  • Dear Leader By Jang Jin-sang

Jang Jin-Sang was a poet tasked in writing poetry that praised the leaders of North Korea and pacify the plight of North Koreans. His poetry was so good that he got endorsed by the supreme leader Kim Jong-il. Jang, lived a privileged life in Pyongyang until he visited his home town. In his home town, people lived in abject poverty. This led him to question the regime.

The book tell a tale of how a pro-government elite was turned to being one of the biggest government critic.

  • Aquariums of Pyongyang By Kang Chol-hwan and Pierre Rigoulot

Aquariums of Pyongyang is the story of Kang Chol-hwan imprisonment in the Yodok concentration camp on suspicion of living in Japan. Although his family had money, they languished at the gulag for 10 years. All the family wealth was taken from them by the Workers’ Party of Korea. The book is part political tract, part historical document and part horror.

  • North Korea: State of Paranoia by Paul French

In this book, Paul French writes a detailed examination of North Korea’s history and politics. He examines the country’s foreign relation with China, South Korea, Japan and America. In his expose, he considers the implications of the implications of North Korea’s secretive nature and the increasingly belligerent rule their supreme leader. It is a frighteningly provocative detail that alludes to near nuclear repercusions.

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