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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Fiction Book Of The Year: Sobering, Harrowing & Unputdownable., 25 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (Paperback)
When I was younger I couldn't quite understand how ordinary people could get on with their lives while the Nazis routinely gassed thousands upon thousands of people. It was only many years later, by which time millions had needlessly lost their lives, that the west eventually took rightful action against Hitler. Generations later, as we leave one of Germany's concentration camps as present day visitors, we are reminded that such state sanctioned atrocity must never be allowed to happen again. And now, we have the Democratic People's Rep of NK, where vile acts against humanity are committed as a matter of course, each and every day, while most of us wonder when Cheryl will resume judging the X-Factor etc. This book details not only the tragedy that is NK but also stands as a sickening reminder that we are powerless as individuals to help these poor souls, whose harrowing tales are nothing less than unputdownably disturbing.

Did you know, at any time in 1997 that a whole country full of forgotten people were grinding up tree bark, paper and boiling weeds in an effort just to survive till tomorrow? Its citizens, as starved as they were unspeakably terrified, were indoctrinated from birth into believing that theirs was the best country on earth, and that they must always be eternally grateful to their (psychotically negligent) leader for their very existence. Woe betide anyone who dared to even think otherwise, or even joke about Kim's diminutive height in a drunken moment; At the elder Kim's funderal there were people employed to watch out for persons who weren't crying enough, and then make very sure that they would have every reason to cry when they were arrested. We learn that in every home not only must you keep pictures of both Kims on the walls but persons are visited randomly just to make sure the pictures were polished daily or else you and everyone close to you would end up in a labour camp. Countless injustices of every kind against humanity are recounted in every page of this book and as such it is undoubtedly the most tragically captivating book of the year.

Here are the stories of six people who managed to escape the horror that was their life in NK. ON reading this astonishingly brilliant book, you will also be repeatedly astounded that the regime continues strongly to this day, while its helpless citizens still suffer silently en masse. Let's face it, the west only cares about saving people as long as there is something of use to our free nations. That is a grim realisation. One which also implies that the more people who starved in NK, the more its leader could comfortably bury his head in the sand, turning his back on western aid. And yet we still know that he will sleep soundly at night in spite of everything described in the pages of this most extraordinary book.

We learn of so many draconian curtailments on freedoms which we take as a matter of course in our lives; that for even possessing a foreign book, or even a radio one could end up spending the rest of ones life in a hard labour camp. The true tales in this book are too many to recount now, but suffice to say that this book is a most gruesomely disturbing tale of the effects of a psychotically deranged leadership on the most unfortunate nation on this planet. Please don't miss reading this book, and then tell everyone you know about it, so that at the very least we cannot plead ignorance in our defence. The people of NK deserve far more than our ignorance. 10/10
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Oct 2010 11:45:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Oct 2010 11:51:58 BDT
Mr. T. White says:
People can be so petty. I asked the "Mrs. Hammond" above "why, if she liked the book so much, she only gave it 4 stars?" Next thing my review oh so predictably finds a dissenter.

My point remains - for those who are intellectually capable of taking criticism, that is: as this is a great book, it deserves full marks. And I hope most thinking persons will agree.
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