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Best North Korea Books Worth Your Attention

Looking for the best North Korea books? Browse our list to find excellent book recommendations on the subject.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (2010)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your Attention  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.
Author(s): Barbara Demick

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West (2013)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionNorth 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.
Author(s): Blaine Harden

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom (2016)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionYeonmi 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.
Author(s): Yeonmi Park, Maryanne Vollers

North Korea: A History (2018)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionIn this key textbook, Michael J. Seth offers an excellent synthesis of existing scholarship, including a thorough examination of contemporary sources. Seth masterfully traces how North Korea gradually transformed itself from a Soviet-style socialist state to an ultra-nationalist, dynastic one, illuminating this journey with an engaging understanding of the political, ideological, economic and social forces at play.
Author(s): Michael J. Seth

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea (2018)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionHalf-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste.
Author(s): Masaji Ishikawa , Risa Kobayashi , et al.

Discovering Joy: Ten Years in North Korea (2018)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionA surprising discovery in the unlikliest of places Joy Yoon and her husband spent more than ten years as humanitarian NGO workers in one of the world’s most mysterious and closed societies. In this book she shares observations and insights, offering readers the chance to re-evaluate understandings of the so-called “Hermit Kingdom.”
Author(s): Joy Yoon

Rocketbone’s Guide to North Korea (2019)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionJoin Rocketbone, an inter-galactic explorer from the planet P3T0N, in a quest to discover the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea, one of the most mysterious places on Earth. Rocketbone uncovers the truth about everything from Kim Jong-un to kimchi in a land very few have visited.
Author(s): J.R. JaBone

The Girl with Seven Names (2016)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERAn extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime.
Author(s): Hyeonseo Lee, David John

I Escaped North Korea! (2019)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your Attention14-year-old Dae has been taught that North Korea is the best place in the world. Yet the painfully skinny boy can’t help wondering why all his family has to eat is watery porridge made from grass. At school, Dae and his friends bow before the giant portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, their clothes flapping around their bony limbs.
Author(s): Scott Peters, Ellie Crowe

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea (2018)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionThe Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships.
Author(s): Bandi, Deborah Smith

My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth (2016)

 Best North Korea Books Worth Your AttentionMost people want out of North Korea. Wendy Simmons wanted in.In My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy shares a glimpse of North Korea as it’s never been seen before. Even though it’s the scariest place on Earth, somehow Wendy forgot to check her sense of humor at the border. But Wendy’s initial amusement and bewilderment soon turned to frustration and growing paranoia.
Author(s): Wendy Simmons

Best North Korea Books Worth Your Attention

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some north korea books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Hinge Points: An Inside Look at North Korea's Nuclear Program

Author(s): Siegfried S. Hecker
ID: 3420012, Publisher: Stanford University Press, Year: 2023, Size: 20 Mb, Format: epub

Among Women across Worlds: North Korea in the Global Cold War

Author(s): Suzy Kim
ID: 3628451, Publisher: Cornell University Press, Year: 2023, Size: 39 Mb, Format: pdf

While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector's Search for Freedom in America

Author(s): Yeonmi Park
ID: 3679213, Publisher: Threshold Editions, Year: 2023, Size: 3 Mb, Format: epub

Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are truly record-breakers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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