Nothing To Envy

Nothing To Envy: Real Lives In North Korea

Non-Fiction, Travel, Travel Writing
Paperback Published on: 08/07/2010
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Bookseller Reviews

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Nothing To Envy
Important work
In this, the latest winner of the Samuel Johnson prize, Demick grants us an insightful and very human look into the mystery and desolation that is modern d... READ MORE
Jonathan Patel
Nothing To Envy
Journalism at its Best.
A truely gripping read, 'Nothing to Envy' left me shocked, intrigued and baffled as to how alienated North Korea actually is. Following the stories of six ... READ MORE
Amy Coates at Doncaster
Nothing To Envy
Kim Jong Il; Do Not Resuscitate
The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea is neither popular, nor democratic, nor, since giving us the world’s first communist monarchy, republican. There ... READ MORE
Henry Coningsby at Watford
Nothing To Envy
A Revolutionary Piece of Journalism
I'm not normally one for this type of book but this is a must read. After reading this I felt quite naive for not looking into and finding out more about N... READ MORE
Claire Boothby
Nothing To Envy
Just brilliant. I very seldom award five stars and will only do so to those books that have a profound impact on me. This is such a book. I won't summaris... READ MORE
Sean Farrell


Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Winner of Winners Award Updated in 2014 with a new epilogue. If you look at satellite photographs of the far east by night, you’ll see a large splotch curiously lacking in light. This area of darkness is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… It is baffling how a nation of 23 million people can appear as vacant as the oceans. North Korea is simply a blank. North Korea is Orwell's 1984 made reality: it is the only country in the world not connected to the internet; Gone with the Wind is a dangerous, banned book; during political rallies, spies study your expression to check your sincerity. After the death of the country's great leader Kim Il Sung in 1994, famine descended: people stumbled over dead bodies in the street and ate tree bark to survive. Nothing to Envy weaves together the stories of adversity and resilience of six residents of Chongin, North Korea's third largest city. From extensive interviews and with tenacious investigative work, Barbara Demick has recreated the concerns, culture and lifestyles of North Korean citizens in a gripping narrative, and vividly reconstructed the inner workings of this extraordinary and secretive country. ‘Weaving together the accounts of six North Korean defectors, the American journalist Barbara Demick has created a fascinating portrait’ – The Guardian

  • Publisher: Granta Books
  • ISBN: 9781847081414
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Weight: 237g
  • Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm

Customer Reviews

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Nothing To Envy
Grim but compelling
North Korea has been a closed society since the end of the Korean war, And whilst South Korea has gone from a dictatorship in the 1970’s to a full democrac... READ MORE
Half Man Half Book
Nothing To Envy
Fascinating and terrifying
This book was such an amazing insight into the bizarre world of North Korea. I thought it would be more like a series of case studies, but the way it's wri... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
Gripping and informative
I never knew much about North Korea until I read this book, other than it was pretty grim. Barbara Demick tells her story through the lives of those who ev... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
Nothing to Envy
Nothing To Envy
Life in a totalitarian society
Barbara Demick, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, weaves together the lives of six North Korean defectors in ‘Nothing to Envy’. The book gives an or... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
I don't normally read this sort of book (True-life / Journalism) preferring science fiction instead; I'm glad I did though because it really is very good. ... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
A Fantastic Read....
By mixing the historical perspectives with human tales and analysis of current life in North Korea, Demick has produced a book that I just could not put do... READ MORE
Matt Clifford
Nothing To Envy
A real feel for the country.
This book provides a great insight into the last nation behind the iron curtain. The personal narrative of the lives explored in the book humanise the his... READ MORE
Graeme Eyre
Nothing To Envy
Nothing to Envy
Nothing To Envy
A must read book
As I no nothing about life in North Korea I thought I should read this book. It was so thought provoking, very hard to believe that men, women & children a... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
An excellent book!
I have a morbid fascination with dictators and ideological regimes and am very interested in North Korea so was drawn to this book. Also, I have read a few... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
A real eye opener
It was a very gripping book and a real eye opener into life in north korea in recent years. It described the lives of a few individuals without it being a ... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
Nothing To Envy
Thought provoking and enlightening
This book is a must read to unravel the extraordinary goings on behind the closed doors of North Korea. The sadness behind the lives of this divided people... READ MORE
Nothing To Envy
Fantastic book
Read this book 4 years ago and bought it for daughter in law to read. An absolute masterpiece and beautifully written. Real courage shown throughout and ab... READ MORE
susan sweeney