CRF Blog

Land of Mystery

by Bill Hayes

In Land of Mystery for for the New York Times Book Review, Mark Atwood Lawrence reviews two books on North Korea: The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia by Andrei Lankov and Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea by Sheila Miyoshi Jager.

A quarter-century ago, North Korea seemed to teeter on the brink of collapse. The end of the cold war in the late 1980s and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 suggested that the era of reclusive Communist dictatorships was over. How, asked hopeful observers around the world, could Kim Il-sung’s Stalinist wasteland possibly survive under the pressure of its spectacular economic failures and the tide of democracy and capitalism rising around its borders?

Things got even worse for North Korea in the years that followed. [more]

For a related free classroom lesson, see “North Korea: The Rogue Nation.” It is available from our Bill of Rights in Action Archive. It is currently only in PDF and you will have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.