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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Hardcover – Dec 29 2009


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Customers buy this book with Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West CDN$ 17.87

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea + Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Dec 29 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523905
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AvidReader on July 28 2013
Format: Paperback
Excellent book; I read it together with The Orphan Master's Son (novel), and the two of these paint a pretty awful picture of NK.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Normand Shearer on Aug. 31 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read it in one day and could not put it down. What a great storyteller. It could have been dry like some other books I have read about North Korea but she made all these people come alive and I found myself rooting for these defectors and I do hope that they found happiness in South Korea or elsewhere. I'm only sorry that I read it so fast rather than a little a day to make it last!
Normand Shearer, Waterloo, Québec, Canada
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colleen Johnson on June 19 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very thought provoking as North Korea is not a place that one hears about often. Ms. Demick portrays the lives of several people in-depth and very human. It is hard to believe the lengths to which the North Korean government tyrannizes its people. Eye-opening to say the least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Firestar on April 8 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish we could help them somehow! A VERY interesting read - and currently so relevant (as they point their weapons in our direction...) The author introduces us to several families and we get to know their struggles well. Most shocking: these events occurred while I was growing up safe and snug in Canada and worrying about hairstyles and home decor! The author cleverly weaves their stories seamlessly with the politics of the country and of the rest of the world in recent history - often jolting me to awareness with such recent dates that I only associated with things such as college in the 90's, my first job - all my glorious freedom to worry about stupid things.

At times the book reads like a spy thriller full of danger and betrayal; At other times, like a tragic romance novel. The many details about everyday life and human ingenuity give light to shocking insight into human behavior (read "Life of Pi" before we judge the survival instinct), social structure, abusive government control, and systemic abuse. Difficult to read at times, but SO rewarding (a great book to toss at any discontented teenager for a quick lesson in gratitude for what we have and what we have the responsibility to protect). Makes me want to re-read V. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning".

And by the way: is anybody going to do anything about this? I thought we cared about human rights...I guess it's too bad there isn't any oil in North Korea or we'd have beaten the Russians there and prevented this whole mess. *despondently rolling my eyes*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SM on Dec 12 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was looking for something that would give me a feel for life in North Korea. This book really delivered. Very well researched, complete (I think) and objective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JoJo on July 9 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Demick documents the before and after-defection lives of 6 former North Koreans who tried to exist in that unbelievably cruel and twisted regime. Some people in that country continue to believe the propoganda and many still do not know that options are indeed available to them across the barbed wire borders!
I read this after reading Escape from Camp 14; now I have a much better understanding of what has been going on in that country.
Good reads.
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By Marie on June 16 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gives you info about politics, history and also the day to day lifen in North Korea. You learn a lot about the way people thought when they were still in the country.
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By Eran Barash on Feb. 10 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book covers recent North Korean history in a factual, objective way, and personal stories by North Korean defectors at the same time. It makes the book very readable, and gives some important incites on this very different place called North Korean.
Great for anyone who wants to broaden their horizons and get more familiar with different places in the world.
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