North Korea Undercover

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Random House, Nov 14, 2013 - Political Science - 400 pages
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North Korea is like no other tyranny on earth. It is Orwell’s 1984 made reality.

The regime controls the flow of information to its citizens, pouring relentless propaganda through omnipresent loud speakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent.

You must bow to Kim Il Sung, the Eternal Leader and to his son, Generalissimo Kim Jong Il. Worship the dead and then hail the living, the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

North Koreans are told their home is the greatest nation on earth. Big Brother is always watching.

Posing as a university professor, award-winning BBC journalist John Sweeney travelled undercover to gain unprecedented access to the world’s most secret state. Drawing on his own experiences and his extensive interviews with defectors and other key witnesses, North Korea Undercover pulls back the curtain, providing a rare insight into life there today, examining the country’s troubled history and addressing important questions about its uncertain future.

Sweeney’s highly engaging, authoritative account illuminates the dark side of the Hermit Kingdom and challenges the West’s perception of this paranoid nationalist state.

 

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Contents

A Note on the Text
11
Introduction
13
In the Land of the Plastic Toad
39
Zombie Gods Seep Goo
53
God the Waxwork Father
81
No photos no photos
97
Jimmy the GoldSmuggler
107
Pyongyang Zoo
121
Would the Dear Leader not be offended by such a gift?
181
The Man Who Went to North Korea and Came Back Mad
187
The Washing of Brains
197
God the Bad Elvis Son
225
Fifty Shades of Green
247
Empty Bellies
277
The American Who Went to North Korea and Stayed
301
The Hospital that Has Patients but Only
321

The Scariest Place on Earth
131
Facing the Final Curtain
149
Cruel Christs of Pus
161
Pissing on Marble
175
The Gulag Circus
333
God the Fat Boy Kim
343
Acknowledgements
369
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama who became a YouTube sensation when he lost his temper with a senior member of the Church of Scientology. Before joining the BBC in 2001, Sweeney worked for twelve years at The Observer, where he covered wars and revolutions and unrest in more than sixty countries from Algeria, Bosnia, Chechnya to Zimbabwe. He has helped free seven innocent people falsely convicted for killing their babies and given evidence against six suspected war criminals in The Hague.

Over the course of his career John has won one Emmy, two Royal Television Society prizes, one Sony Gold award, the What The Papers Say Journalist of The Year Prize, an Amnesty International prize and the Paul Foot Award.

He is the author of eight books, including most recently The Church of Fear – Inside The Weird World of Scientology. His hobby is falling off his bike on the way back from the pub.

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