Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
From Random House Group
From a first-rate journalist, the first book to penetrate the mind-set of ordinary North Korean citizens and to present a never-before-seen view of daily life in the world's most repressive regime.
Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years--a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today--an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to government stations, where displays of affection are punished and an offhand remark can send you to the gulag for life. Demick follows six subjects--a party loyalist and her rebellious daughter, a disillusioned young doctor, a hungry young orphan, and a pair of lovers from different classes--as they raise families, nurture ambitions, struggle for survival, and ultimately realize that their government has betrayed them.