Kim Il-song's North Korea

Greenwood Publishing Group
Free sample

Hunter provides a glimpse inside North Korean society, detailing the everyday life of people living in perhaps the most isolated, secretive society of the 20th century. In this declassified CIA study, she describes the world's most extreme cult society under the charismatic totalitarian leader, Kim Il-song, who ruled his people for 45 years--longer than any other leader of the 20th century.

Kim Il-song's totalitarian cult society comes closest to George Orwell's 1984 than any society yet contrived. Hunter brings to life what it is like to live in a thoroughly thought-controlled society--which also is the world's most class-conscious society. Based on all the sources available to the CIA at the time, this book is the most comprehensive look at North Korean life ever published. It is essential reading for foreign policy officials, Asian Studies scholars, and the general public interested in world affairs.

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About the author

HELEN-LOUISE HUNTER is an attorney who has engaged in private practice with an large international law firm in Washington, D.C. and has served as Permanent Law Clerk in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland./e For more than 20 years, she was a Far East specialist at the CIA. In the late 1970s, she served as the Assistant National Intelligence Officer for the Far East.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 1999
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Pages
262
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ISBN
9780275962968
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic Conditions
History / Asia / Korea
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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North Korea has survived the end of the Cold War, massive famine, numerous regional crises, punishing sanctions, and international stigma. In A Most Enterprising Country, Justin V. Hastings explores the puzzle of how the most politically isolated state in the world nonetheless sustains itself in large part by international trade and integration into the global economy. The world's last Stalinist state is also one of the most enterprising, as Hastings shows through in-depth examinations of North Korea’s import and export efforts, with a particular focus on restaurants, the weapons trade, and drug trafficking. Tracing the development of trade networks inside and outside North Korea through the famine of the 1990s and the onset of sanctions in the mid-2000s, Hastings argues that the North Korean state and North Korean citizens have proved pragmatic and adaptable, exploiting market niches and making creative use of brokers and commercial methods to access the global economy.North Korean trade networks—which include private citizens as well as the Kim family and high-ranking elites—accept high levels of risk and have become experts at operating in the blurred zones between licit and illicit, state and nonstate, and formal and informal trade. This entrepreneurialism has allowed North Korea to survive; but it has also caused problems for foreign firms investing in the country, emboldens the North Korean state in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and may continue to shape the economy in the future.
Raymond Aron's "In Defense of Decadent Europe" was first conceived at a time of great uncertainty for the Western democracies. The postwar economic boom had been interrupted by "stagflation," while communist and socialist parties in Italy and France were powerful factors in Europe's political landscape. Aron's book has a threefold purpose: the analysis of the Soviet Russian regime and its Marxist-Leninist theoretical foundation; the detailed empirical comparison between liberal democracies and collectivist regimes of the East; and, above all, the exploration of what might be termed the "problem" of democracy the tendency of democratic regimes to undermine themselves unless checked in their most extreme tendencies.

Aron denounces the clash between democracy and the Marxist-Leninist mystification and explains how Marxism leads to Soviet-style ideology. The second part of the book constitutes a defense of liberal Europe. The author makes comparisons in terms of productivity, technical innovation, living standards, scientific progress, and human freedom. But Aron also notes there are important ways in which the West must put her house in order by cultivating authority in the church, in universities, in business, and even in the army. This paradox is conveyed by the title of the book, the juxtaposition of the words "In Defense of and Decadent Europe."

In the new introduction, Daniel Mahoney and Brian Anderson discuss the disenchanted conservative liberalism of Raymond Aron that set him apart. Among the topics they cover are: the challenge of ideocracy, the decadence of democracy, and Aron as a civic philosopher. "In Defense of Decadent Europe" combines ideological debate with economic and social analysis. Its thorough examination of Western freedom versus the Eastern communism of the recent past extends well beyond parochial debates into a basic vision of Western societies. The book will be compelling for historians, political scientists, economists, and philosophers.

On September 30, 1965, six of Indonesia's highest ranking generals were killed in an effort by President Sukarno to crush an alleged coup. The events of that were part of a rapidly growing power struggle pro and anti-communist factions. The elimination of the generals, however, did little to increase and preserve Sukarno's power, though, and he was stripped of the presidency in 1967. Hunt's work is a unique and original examination of the events that culminated on that night in September, 1965. It is the first detailed account of the Indonesian Coup that reveals the previously unknown workings of the PKI's ultra-secret Special Bureau, a clandestine organization within the Communist Party that may be the prototype of other similar entities that flourished around the world in the mid-50's and 60s. No such expose of secret communist organizations committed to covert killings of the top military or political leaders of the country has ever been published. She establishes beyond any doubt that the PKI, under Chairman Aidit's direction, using the capabilities of a secret organization within the PKI that only Aidit and a handful of trusted high-level members of the Communist Party even knew about, and, most importantly, acting with President Sukarno's full knowledge and approval, planned and then-dramatically-failed to execute a bold plan to kill the top leadership of the Army and proclaim a new socialist state under President Sukarno's leadership with PKI Chairman Aidit as his proclaimed successor. At the time of the coup, government analysts as well as non-government scholars were of two minds. Some, like the group at Cornell University, were convinced that the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) had not been involved, that the coup was the action mid-level army officers against the top leadership. That was the official line at the time. Others were convinced that the PKI alone had planned and executed the coup in its long-held desire to remove the pro-U.S. army leadership. No one at the time saw the hand of Indonesia's world-famous President Sukarno in the affair.
With a New Foreword

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. 

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.

In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.

The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.

Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books)
 
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
 
In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
 
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.

Praise for Nothing to Envy

“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times

“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books

“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”

Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.

Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life.  By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, “I convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.”

In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.

Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever know—and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country.

Park’s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
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