Deceived, Distressed by the Truth They’ve Been Withholding

Nothing to Envy Book Cover Nothing to Envy
Barbara Demick
Non-fiction
Fourth Estate
2010

nothing_to_envyNothing to Envy is Barbara Demick’s rightly praised history of North Korea in the early to late 1990s, as experienced by North Koreans.  Demick spent years interviewing North Korean defectors living in China and South Korea to compile the book.  Through their stories, Demick follows the crises in the isolated state that started developing with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Many political commentators assumed this would lead to the collapse of North Korea as well.  As of time of writing, this has clearly not yet happened.

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Alternative History: Mojave, 1946

WHAT IFS? OF AMERICAN HISTORYwhatif

Cowley, Robert (Berkley, September 2004, ISBN 9780425198186)

My contribution to the genre:

Mojave, 1946

1050: Fifty years after Leif Ericsson’s discovery of North America, Norse colonists build a permanent settlement on the island of Newfoundland. Continue reading

The Beatings will Continue Until Morale Improves

DEAR LEADER
Jang Jin-Sung (trans. Shirley Lee; Rider, 2014) ISBN: 9781846044212 Dear Leader

Jang Jin-Sung’s* memoir of his time in and flight from North Korea is a valuable and urgent glimpse into the secret state around the turn of the millenium.  It shines a light on the plight of North Koreans within North Korea, and as refugees living under the threat of forced repatriation in China.  Most interestingly, in my opinion, it provides a glimpse into the daily lives of North Koreans through the eyes of a man who was a true loyalist to the Supreme Leader or “General”, Kim Jong-il.

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The Scandinavian Wit

KILLING HOPEkill

Blum, William (Common Courage Press, updated edition October 2008, ISBN 978-1567512526)

In 2009, President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” [1]

Many thought the prize undeserved – on the grounds that Obama appeared too much the enemy of peace. Had he won it, they asked, for prosecuting a war in Afghanistan? Or instead for his proposal to expand the United States military? Or for his plan to send “at least” two additional American combat brigades to Afghanistan? Continue reading

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      I had a google fail recently and thought that The Martian the movie was being released in Australian cinemas in November—and so with this review would be giving you all a good lead time to read the book The Martian before watching the movie. Turns out the Australian release date … Continue reading