North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State

North Korea Undercover Inside the World s Most Secret State North Korea is like no other tyranny on earth It is Orwell s made reality The regime controls the flow of information to its citizens pouring relentless propaganda through omnipresent loud speak

  • Title: North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State
  • Author: JohnSweeney
  • ISBN: 9781605988023
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 muNorth 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.

    One thought on “North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State”

    1. Journalists have a knack for making this sort of material more accessible than the average historian but I can't say I learned anything that can't be found on . I was however reminded of things I had forgotten and enjoyed the reading experience. The use of humor was well played and I'm fortunate to be a fan of inappropriate humor.

    2. It looks more like a tourist reviewing a place he had visited rather than an undercover story.In my own opinion, the book does not cover much in depth details of the DPRK regime as compared to other books such as "Nothing to Envy" and "The aquarium of Pyongyang". This book-"North Korea Undercover" merely covers the brief facts on the regime where one can finds easily on the web. There are also no first hand encounter from the Author nor any interviews from Defectors or North Koreans. However, on [...]

    3. I found this an interesting though depressing read. We don't know exactly what goes on inside North Korea nor how many people starve to death or are jailed for life in cold gulags; but thanks to various journalists and escapees we have a fair idea. John Sweeney of BBC clearly despises the personality cult and brainwashing, having exposed Scientology. He found a similar, profitable but deadlier cult in NK on his undercover visit. Now, Sweeney did not do anything but pose as a history professor to [...]

    4. I have varying thoughts. North Korea Undercover started out really well, with catchy writing and a promising narrative. I certainly agree with him that North Korea is an evil regime and I appreciated the historical and cultural summary. The analysis bored me, however. Sweeney is immensely repetitive. He repeats the same stories and facts over and over. He occasionally fleshes the stories out near the end of the book, but by that point I had fully chewed over the information and was done with it. [...]

    5. Great book! Highly interesting. Extremely well written with sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor. It’s such a weird, weird world. And sad. It’s true. Highly recommended!

    6. For an undercover investigative journalist in the strangest country on the planet, John Sweeney has managed to write an incredibly dry book. He has spent little time on his own experience, preferring instead to regurgitate numerous quotes and paraphrase at length from other books about North Korea. It's quite an achievement to illegally enter the world's most dangerous, least democratic country and film the regime; even more so to do that and then make it sound dull and dry!

    7. 2.5 stars for readability. 1.5 stars for content.North Korea always fascinates. When I hear about new books on the subject I generally order copies from the library. This one doesn't live up to its billing. It doesn't contribute to our knowledge of North Korea, and there's nothing "undercover" about it, save for the author passing himself off to NK authorities as a teacher rather than a journalist.North Korea Undercover is little more than a diary of a tourist visit to Pyongyang, where Sweeney's [...]

    8. It was tough to decide what to rate this one; at various points in the book, my opinion veered anywhere from 2 to 4 stars. Overall, though, I liked the book, even loved it in a few places.The good: Sweeney has an amazing talent to interview people in connection with North Korea that provided some fascinating stories. The chapter where he talks with two guys from the IRA who trained in North Korea before getting kicked out for bad behavior? Awesome, interesting, and way too brief for how interest [...]

    9. Worst non fiction book that I have ever read. Terrible is an understatement. The writing is all over the place, many sentences simply do not translate very well, and to top it off the content is more like a tourist log than any type of undercover expose.I am not sure who John Sweeney's target audience is. Maybe that is why it is so bad as I don't think he has one. The only person who could remotely find value in this book would be a former Korean who has fled to the nether regions of the world.

    10. This book has a misappropriate title.It should be Stories from North Korea.John Sweeney talks about his travel less and more about defectors.Many a page are wasted in facts known to the world already.Moreover a whole chapter on IRA is added for no reason.I will give it two stars.The one extra star is for information in the book.

    11. Author's travel narrative style rivals that of Bill Bryson. Unfortunately, the excellent narration didn't prevent me from losing interest regularly during the journalistic (second-hand) reports of conditions there.

    12. While North Korea is not a place that lends itself to levity, John Sweeney brings his very British wit to bear on the absurdity that is the Kim dynasty. The book could be seen as a beginner's guide to the country and its history, and paints a picture in broad strokes through Sweeney's first hand experiences and interviews with escaped North Koreans, diplomats, and other political figures. The book could have used another round of edits, as Sweeney tends to repeat himself, but we can forgive him [...]

    13. (Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free through ' Giveaway program. However, the views expressed are my own and do not reflect that of the author, the publisher, or ). In 2002, Pres. George W. Bush famously called North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, a member of the "Axis of Evil." While this was a rhetorical ploy used to give him cover to invade Iraq a year later, as this book shows, Pres. Bush was not wrong about the North Korean regime being evil. Part exposé, part travel [...]

    14. While most of the reviews of this book have skewered it for using other sources (great books like The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag or Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea), I think those reviewers have missed the point.This book is a travelogue, sure, but also includes a lot of history about North Korea and the Kim family, all packaged in a very pop-culture, palatable presentation. The audience for this book is not wannabe North Korean scholars. It isn't [...]

    15. Given what’s going on in our world today, we should all educate ourselves on the world’s most secret state. North Korea Undercover would be a timely read for Halloween, only this is real life, and Kim Jong Un’s vileness should not be underestimated. Part exposé, part travelogue, the author writes of his time in North Korea posing as a history professor. He mixes his observations with other first-hand accounts of those once inside who lived to tell about it. Bottom line… the people of No [...]

    16. I bought this book 8 months ago after reading a fantastic book - "The Aquariums of Pyongyang", which is a memoir of the ten year imprisonment of a young boy in a North Korean concentration camp before he made his escape.I wanted to know more about North Korea after reading that book and when I saw "North Korea Undercover", which is seemingly about a BBC journalist travelling undercover to North Korea, I was hooked and bought the book. Unfortunately, that probably was the best part of the book fo [...]

    17. This book paints a clear picture of the obscure nation that we see so much in today's headlines. Sweeney's narrative does a great job of painting a picture of a dystopian adventure that had significant implications on both his life and career. His perspective as a seasoned journalist with a history of exploring Communist and Post-Communist states helps give the reader mental touch-points to show the similarities and differences between other dictatorships throughout recent history. This explorat [...]

    18. Could have been half as long. This is a glorified travelogue chronicling the author's eight-day trip to the DPRK with a group of students from the London School of Economics. There's not much juicy insider stuff here, as the group of foreigners sees only what the regime-provided minders want them to see. The history included is better read elsewhere, as it's not told in a linear manner and only served to confuse me, as it was hard to recall whether it was the Great Leader or the Dear Leader who [...]

    19. Undercover mission of John Sweeney failed big time. This book could have been so much more, while I have had a constant feeling that the author was not perceptive nor interested enough to grasp what he could from his visit to North Korea. You would expect some details, some descriptions, stories, images instead what you get is John's biased humor and not-so-funny jokes. You can easily book a trip to North Korea yourself as well and I guarantee that you would have more to say afterwards than John [...]

    20. John Sweeney provides an excellent review of the history and ongoing tragedy of the totalitarian regime north of the DMZ and the bizarre/evil Kim Dynasty. Using accounts of defectors, significant research, and his own "undercover" trip to North Korea under the guise of a visiting LSE professor, Sweeney provides an astounding level of detail and his own personal reflections on the evils of the regime. He offers a policy prescription of attempting to open the closed society to news of the outside [...]

    21. John Sweeney has written an illuminating book about North Korea, thick with sarcasm and indignation. Though people serious about subject probably won't glean much, beginners like me will appreciate everything this book has to offer. It's a little bit of everything; history, politics, exposé, and travel journalism, all written by a man who has decades of experience writing about tyrannical governments and organizations. His tongue and cheek observations will make you laugh out loud and then you' [...]

    22. I'm fascinated by North Korea, which is really an alternate reality on Earth. The Kims have a lot to answer for to the millions of North Koreans spanning generations lost since its founding. The book adopts an incredulous tone throughout the narrative that I thought detracted from the book a little. Sweeney's feelings are understandable, and rightly so, but the way it seeps into the text makes the book more emotional than factual. I realize, of course, no text on any subject is free from emotion [...]

    23. Hmm - not keen on Sweeney's writing style at all but at least the reader can glean a little information about this secretive country.Overall I was disappointed by the lack of solid information; surely more photos were taken than those included, given the number of people in the group, and more pics would have been more interesting and revealing than Sweeney's the countless references to other people's research.Some of the links to web sites and articles were useful, but the book itself didn't re [...]

    24. Przeczytawszy tą książkę, bardzo się cieszę że żyję w Polsce. Mam gdzie spać, co jeść, ciągłe dostawy prądu, a nawet Internet, nikt nie zabija mojej rodziny. Mam nadzieję, że ten ustrój zniknie w Korei Północnej i ludzie się dowiedzą że można żyć lepie, chociaż nie wszyscy wiedzą że jest lepszy świat za ich kurtyną. Technologia tak jak autor pisze czyni cuda i powoli przebija się też do Korei. A z technologią łączność na świat. Przeciętny Koreańczyk, poza [...]

    25. This book didn't have anything I haven't heard somewhere else. The author was honest about being biased and had no qualms about it. He came across as almost disrespectful at times in the book, with his actions and comments during his tour of North Korea. A lot of the book addressed his thoughts about what he suspected certain things meant and of course it always included something nefarious. Kind of got tedious but I did get through the whole thing.

    26. If you're interested in North Korea, but haven't read much about it, this would be a great book to read first. He crams so much great stuff into it. He covers the country's general history and includes the individual stories of people who experienced the worst of the regime. But he also includes his own story of experiencing a tour of North Korea after telling officials that he was a history professor. The whole time he's incredibly cheeky about the craziness of the Kim dynasty.

    27. This amazing narrative by J. Sweeney sheds a lot of light on an otherwise secluded and secretive regime that is North Korea. With witty jokes and funny anecdotes, this easy-flowing book is most certainly something that you want to have if you are intersested in North Korea. The narrative is sometimes monotonous and repetitive but otherwise everything is very well organized to tell the REAL STORY behind this communist regime.

    28. Interesting read. Mostly familiar if you have read about North Korea before but still there is new information and new points of view. FFor example I didn't know Bill Gates organization was so foolish about relialibity of statistics in NK.Sarcastic and sceptic style of writing is refreshing as sometimes NK books are too grim.

    29. This irreverently written book on North Korea is part history, part travelogue. The strange world of the DPRK is laid bare, with stories of kidnapped Romanian artists, defecting American servicemen, obsequious minders, and vainglorious leaders who let their people starve while they dine on imported delicacies made by internationally renowned chefs.

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