Finding new information about North Korea can be hard, especially when news outlets focus almost entirely on things like politics, nuclear weapons, and Kim Jong Un’s latest haircut.
The good news is that there are amazing books that go beyond the surface of North Korea and reveal the in-depth stories and lives of the North Korean people.
Here are 5 books we highly recommend to learn more about North Korea:
Under The Same Sky by Joseph Kim
A story of survival, escape, and a new life in America
Now an internationally renowned advocate, Joseph Kim shares his journey of survival, escape, and building a new life in the United States. When Joseph was young, the Great Famine tore his family apart. After his father starved to death, his mother and sister went to find food in China, leaving Joseph to fend for himself in the streets. To survive, he crossed into China, where he lived in hiding before connecting with LiNK’s network and resettling in the U.S. as a refugee.
Check out the Reddit AMA we did with Joseph Kim here!
Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Ragoulot
Kang Chol-Hwan is a survivor. He was sent to the infamous Yodok political prison camp at just nine years old. He spent 10 years in the camp and experienced the brutality of the North Korean regime firsthand. After being released, he was finally able to escape to South Korea. Today, he advocates for human rights in North Korea.
Read more about political prison camps in North Korea here.
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick dives deep into the lives of 6 North Koreans during the North Korean famine. Through these stories you’ll see what life is like inside the country and the incredible resiliency of the North Korean people. This book is a staff favorite!
Read about the challenges North Korean people face here.
North Korea Confidential By Daniel Tudor and James Pearson
This book will get you caught up on North Korea! Known as the “hermit kingdom,” North Korea is a mystery to many. But beyond the political headlines is a North Korea that is rapidly changing. Tudor and Pearson explore what life is like in North Korea today, the one where citizens carry USBs filled with South Korean dramas and k-pop and run their own businesses in underground markets.
Read about modern North Korea and how the country is changing here.
The Great Successor By Anna Fifield
We like to focus on the people of North Korea, not the regime. But this book by the talented Journalist Anna Fifield (and friend of LiNK’s) is a must-read. She explores the life of Kim Jong Un and interviews people who have actually met him. Fifield gives a behind-the-scenes look into the rise of Kim Jong Un while at the same time highlighting the incredible changes happening inside the country that are pressuring the regime to adapt and change.
Learn more about North Korean history here!
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