La Petite Américaine's Reviews > This is Paradise!

This is Paradise! by Hyok Kang
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's review
May 23, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: kicked_ass, north-korea, biography
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by: Picked it up in Switzerland 2 days ago
Recommended for: Intelligent People
Read in May, 2008

Despite the hilarity of "Do you have any idea how fuckin' busy I am, Mr. Hans Blix?" there is no one I'd rather see hanging from a rope than Kim Jong-il ... and I'm against the death penalty!

I admit, I have a strange fascination with North Korea, and I love reading the autobiographies of those who lived there. It's fascinating material, an Orwellian nightmare in existence today. Consider:

--Some 23,301,725 people believe that the USA started the Korean War and that North Korea won, thanks to the heroics of one man, Kim il-Sung

--There is no religion, but the Kims are worshiped like gods; even as famine rages through the country killing millions, the citizens truly believe that they are in paradise and are willing to die for the Great and Dear leaders ... and that this same brainwashed country with nothing to lose is producing nukes that can easily reach Japan, South Korea, and the West Coast of the USA

--A million man/woman army; a radio with one state controlled channel; a TV with state controlled channels; no cell phones; no internet; no truth, only lies about the history of the world that are told from the time children are two weeks old and in state-run day cares

--Fear of the "South Korean puppets" who are "impoverished," "starving," and "corrupt" in their "hell on earth," with no real idea how their neighbors just a few miles south are really one of the most modern countries on the face of the planet

--Public executions and Holocaust-style labor and prison camps for such infractions as expressing one's opinion or arousing another's suspicions

For a 20-something, Kang describes life in North Korea with unique eloquence and honesty. Kang is far from perfect, but he lived through the worst terrors of North Korea, escaped forced repatriation in China and Cambodia, and currently lives with the harsh reality of being an ethnic minority (while also facing the humiliation and anger of being lied to his entire life by North Korean propoganda) in South Korea.

All books about North Korea make me wish that Kim Jong-il would be brought to justice and that NK would become a free nation. This NK crap has gone on long enough. But until that happens, books like this are of the utmost importance because of the truth that they contain.

Kang's story is told with courage and dignity, and one can't help but wish him the best for him in his future ... while also hoping that instead of shit like "A Million Little Pieces," works of truth and importance begin appearing on bookstore shelves.
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