Top 10 Books about Korea

 

Korea has been a subject of controversy because of the infamous dictator of the 21st Century, Kim Jong-un and his country, North Korea. Apart from that is also the nuclear threats that he poses to the world and the clash between him and President Trump. To know more about the details of Korea, here are the top 10 books to read.

 

Nothing to envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

 An account of 6 North Koreans for a period of fifteen years living in North Korea through famine, the death of Kim Il- sung and the rise of Kim Jong-Il. The journalist who has written this book takes us through North Korea as never seen before and confirms some of the news we might have heard of the dictator run country these past few years.

Read it For:
The true story of the suffering and reality of living in North Korea under the rule of a dictator and a failing country.
Don't Read it For:
Read it.No reason not to read it. Everyone today must know the reality of living under a dictator and truly understand the privileges of democracy and equality.
What makes this book stand out?:
The depth, emotions, and incidents conveyed by the writer, especially surrounding the six normal North Koreans in the book

Escape from camp 14: one man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

This is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, one of the people who were lucky enough to escape the political prisons of North Korea and live to tell the tale. He has never seen a normal democratic civilization as we are living in today and was forced to live in dreadful conditions. The man even had to see the execution of his own family.

Read it For:
The insider’s perspective on the dreaded and horrible prison camps of North Korea
Don't Read it For:
The story will be stomach churning for some people. It is in fact, completely a true story. Proceed with discretion.
What makes this book stand out?:
The story of his escape, the truth behind the inhuman conditions of living in the camp, politics of Korea and so on.

The orphan master’s son

Here is a novel set in North Korea during the rule of Kim Jung-Il. The lead character Pak Jun Do goes through a series of events, including running a work camp for orphans owned by his father. His mother was a singer who had disappeared to Pyongyang. Here, we are taken through the depths of North Korea through a novel.

Read it For:
The story alone is a good reason to read this book. Along with that, the author takes you through the harsh reality of North Korea through a fictional story.
Don't Read it For:
Not much insight into the dictatorship and the country. The main focus is the story.
What makes this book stand out?:
The story is perfect for the setting in a country run by a madman.

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten years in the North Korean gulag

North Korea follows a dictatorship that is all too fierce to be opposed. However, the ones who do oppose it get sent to the concentration camps or ‘gulags’. Most of them do not survive the harsh conditions and treatment. Kang Chol-Hwan did and wrote his story about his survival and escape to the outside world.

Read it For:
The facts you didn’t know about the country are exposed here.
Don't Read it For:
The slightly bad writing is a letdown.
What makes this book stand out?:
the author being able to tell his story and give insight to people on the outside.
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without you, there is no us: My time with the sons of North Korea’s elite

This is a memoir of the English teacher who taught the elite of North Korea for the period of six months at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology before the death of Kim Jong-Il

Read it For:
The story of how she worked and lived in North Korea during those last few months and her students
Don't Read it For:
the reason that it is a poor memoir in itself
What makes this book stand out?:
The story and account of Suki in this book while she taught her students.

In order to live: a North Korean Girl’s Journey to freedom

Yeonmi Park is a human rights activist who fled North Korea at the age of 13 and made it South Korea. She wrote her story in hopes of creating inspiration to people everywhere and to find her sister who escaped before she did and disappeared in China.

Read it For:
The exceptional story of her life and the incidents faced by her and her mother.
Don't Read it For:
The story’s harsh reality.
What makes this book stand out?:
It stands out for being moving and yet at the same time placing facts before readers.

The cleanest race: how North Koreans see themselves and why it matters

Unlike other books, this author tries to show North Korean society beyond the stories of survival. He analyses them as a society and shows their ideals in this short book.

Read it For:
A different view of a society run by a dictator
Don't Read it For:
It is accurate and opens up different ideals. You should read this to see things differently.
What makes this book stand out?:
An attempt to show North Korea beyond the propaganda and superficial information we all know.

The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History

A history book on the conflicts and differences between the two parts of Korea, north, and It is an accurate and in-depth book on the truth on Korean controversies.

Read it For:
An unbiased history of the two countries and their conflict
Don't Read it For:
You won’t find the typical story of Korea here.
What makes this book stand out?:
This is a unique take on the controversial issues that have been going on surrounding Korea for years.

The Vegetarian

This is a novella set in South Korea about Yeong-hye, a house wife who decides to quit consuming animal meat after a revelation and series of events that led her to quit meat altogether.

Read it For:
The story itself.
Don't Read it For:
The book addresses issues like consuming meat in an orthodox society. It’s an eye-opener for all.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book is highly rated and well written despite the length.

The impossible state: North Korea, Past, and Future

Written by the former director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, he gives us a peak and looks into North Korea’s history, rise and power that it has gained today.

Read it For:
he reliable account of the author on this subject.
Don't Read it For:
You have to read this if you’re curious about the life of North Korea in detail.
What makes this book stand out?:
being accurate, descriptive and reliable because of the source.

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