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For many years I've heard odd news from North Korea. I was curious enough to examine North Korea vs South Korea on google maps and was amazed at the differences. Clearly North Korea seemed like it was a bit crazy so I wanted learn what made it tick.
The author travels through North Korea as part of a tour, escorted always by the two government appointed handlers. In between humorous interludes as things don't always make the impression that the handlers intend, Sweeney goes into history and information to other sources to explain the odd behavior of the people. In particular, by the end of the book I finally understood that the government has actually accomplished an amazing feat. They have used specific techniques to make the people actually and truly love the rulers which kill them and starve them while living an opulent lifestyle themselves. And this isn't just that the people have learned to pretend. They actually feel deep affection, and even those that escape across the border have trouble shedding their deep beliefs.
I also learned that they feel that the USA is their biggest enemy, and that fantasizing about killing our soldiers and defeating us in battle is a great source of entertainment for them. This seemed odd to me, since I don't think Americans think much about North Korea at all. Sweeney does a great job of why this is.
Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. Sweeney has a snarky wit, and compassion for the people who are caught up in the insanity.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
This is a great book if you are fascinated by North Korea. It manages to have some moments of humor mixed in with shocking stories of people having their lives stolen.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful