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North Korean Lives45:30
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(Cover photo by Hiroji Kubota/Magnum)
(Cover photo by Hiroji Kubota/Magnum)

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North Korea is the world’s black hole. A country of goose-stepping soldiers, nuclear ambitions and famine. Kim Jong-Il, the Dear Leader, has failed his people in unforgiveable ways.

But the story has been muffled. He has shut out the media and sealed the country’s borders.

In an unforgettable new book, the Los Angeles Times’ Barbara Demick has pieced together the accounts of those who escaped to paint a deeply disturbing portrait of North Korea — and of the challenges defectors face once they leave.

This hour, On Point: life inside North Korea.

Guest:

Barbara Demick, Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Her new book is “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.”

Read an excerpt from "Nothing to Envy" at RandomHouse.com. And see photos and video at the book's website.

You can also hear a New Yorker magazine podcast with Barbara Demick.

This program aired on February 18, 2010.

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