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.
Winner of BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2010.
Barbara Demick has worked as a staff reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering Wall Street and the presidential elections, among other assignments. Her coverage of the war in Sarajevo won the George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. She is now a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, where she has reported from the Middle East and South Korea. She is currently based in Beijing.