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 Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

by Barbara Demick

"Nothing to Envy is in parts intensely moving, detailing as it does the travails of loyal Communists. None of Demick's defectors had of course any idea of what was happening elsewhere in the world. For theirs was one where transistor radios were disabled and tuned into domestic services only, where there was no internet, no mobile phones and a rigorous system of passes largely forbade internal travel. Nothing to Envy is the first of its kind, an almost photographic description of the near impossibility of keeping a full belly and an inquiring mind during that terrible decade of slow starvation in North Korea in the 1990s. The real shock to any reader is that the world Demick's defectors paint is not taken from the early years of the last century, but from its final decade." -- The Spectator