The Real North Korea

  • by Andrei Lankov
  • Narrated by Steven Roy Grimsley
  • 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Andrei Lankov has gone where few outsiders have ever been. A native of the former Soviet Union, he lived as an exchange student in North Korea in the 1980s. He has studied it for his entire career, using his fluency in Korean and personal contacts to build a rich, nuanced understanding. In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state. After providing an accessible history of the nation, he turns his focus to what North Korea is, what its leadership thinks, and how its people cope with living in such an oppressive and poor place. He argues that North Korea is not irrational, and nothing shows this better than its continuing survival against all odds. A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world. Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy - including nuclear threats - to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence.
Based on vast expertise, this book reveals how average North Koreans live, how their leaders rule, and how both survive.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Really quite good

I really enjoyed this book. It was very informative, explaining the political and economic issues surrounding North Korea without ever going over my head... also gave a fair account of events without ever resorting to using weasel words or out right criticism.

My only two relatively minor gripes were:

- A few times the author practically repeated a point or sentence he had already made, almost word for word

- The narrator sometimes paused excessively.

but these are very forgivable

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- Martin S.

A good political view of past, present & future

An detailed view on how NK got to where it is and what the future may hold for NK.
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- ShaneRooney

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-05-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios