Megan's Reviews > North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea

North of the DMZ by Andrei Lankov
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's review
Oct 27, 2010

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bookshelves: courier, 2010, history, nonfiction, political, adult
Read from October 19 to 27, 2010

This started out strong. It really did. Except for the badly Photoshopped cover, I was enjoying it, and filing facts away just in case I ever find myself becoming the Benevolent Exalted Joyful Leader of some small impoverished nation. (There are so many things to consider, and it's wise to do your dictatorial research ahead of time, or employ a minion to do it. You don't want to flub anything.)

I really enjoyed the level of detail presented in the first half of the book, which, although un-sourced, is interesting and eye-opening. Though the author didn't present as much information about himself as I would have liked, he has a pretty easygoing style and he breaks down the sometimes confusing rules of society in North Korea well.

Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the second half of the book as much, and found myself flipping through the pages, skimming the text. While the first half is devoted mostly to North Korean citizens' average, day-to-day life, the second half concerns itself with politics, economics, and defectors. I didn't really know how relevant or possibly out-of-date the information was, nor am I really interested in economics; also, the length of the articles/chapters seemed to be extended and the author seemed to grow more repetitive.

I think if I were reading this as a weekly article in a newspaper (as most of it seemed to be), I would enjoy it a lot more than trying to sit down and digest so much information about a tiny country in one sitting.
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Reading Progress

10/26 page 131
38.0% "I know so much more about North Korea now than I ever needed to and I'm not even halfway through yet."
08/03 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Megan The cover is so STUPID. Especially since the non-photoshopped version is in the darn book. If you didn't notice it before...

Megan Yep. You missed a good rant that would have taken up your entire break. With visual aids.

message 3: by Msmurphybylaw (new)

Msmurphybylaw So I have a question that you may be able to answer Megan. Is there really a Kam Jong and is he Kim's cousin and douchey dictator of East Korea?
A friend of mine is dressing as Kam for Halloween and I had never heard of him. Google and nothing but Kim???

Megan As far as I know there's no such thing as East Korea, just South and North Korea. And only North Korea has a dictatorship. Maybe your friend is trying to escape the wrath of the Benevolent Leader?

message 5: by Msmurphybylaw (new)

Msmurphybylaw Ha! Sounded fishy to me, but she is always pulling my leg and we play poker often. She won this bluff, the turd. I'll have to come up with something to turn the tables.

message 6: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Msmurphybylaw wrote: "Is there really a Kam Jong and is he Kim's cousin and douchey dictator of East Korea?"

Hilarious! Oh man, your friend did good with that one!

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