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Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with…
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Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite (2014)

by Suki Kim

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5057630,193 (3.89)89
  1. 10
    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both books are compelling, fascinating reads. Nothing to Envy covers a broad scope, and Without You, There is No Us has a tight focus. They explore the North Korean regime from different angles.
  2. 00
    The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by Adam Johnson (Limelite)
    Limelite: 2013 Pulitzer winning novel about bleak schizophrenic lives led by North Koreans under tyrannical dictatorship.
  3. 00
    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (bks1953)
  4. 00
    Toward peaceful unification : selected speeches by Chung Hee Park (bks1953)
  5. 00
    A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power by Paul Fischer (akblanchard)
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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Amazing and really sad view into a country with very little transparency. We meet these students as their country, unbeknownst to anyone, is on the brink of major change, and we leave just as the change occurs. It's really fascinating. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
I first heard about this book on a recent episode of NYT's podcast The Daily, when Michael Barbaro interviewed Suki Kim. I was struck by her unique perspective on North Korea, as an undercover journalist masquerading as a missionary teacher in a private boys' college in North Korea.

North Korea is so creepy! I cannot get over Kim's description of the psychological impact of living and working in that country. Her account is fascinating - most of the literature available about North Korea focuses on the middle/lower class, but Kim's experience is with the sons of the elite upper crust of the regime. Her descriptions of the boys, from the shocking depth of their isolation and ignorance, to their constant lying and immaturity, was chilling. I cannot stop thinking about this book. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
DNF @ 50% - Ran out of time before I finished. Interesting, though.
  ktshpd | Oct 22, 2018 |
The subject of this memoir will probably always stick with me. This is the first real glimpse of North Korea (outside of that stupid James Franco film) and it was both surprising and unsurprising at the amount of misinformation and devotion these kids have for their country. ( )
  echoechokg | Sep 21, 2018 |
A Korean-American's account of her time with the "yangban" (ruling class) children of North Korea.
  Kevin.Bokay | Aug 5, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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At 12:45 P.M. on Monday, December 19, 2011, there was a knock at my door.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307720659, Hardcover)

Award-winning novelist Suki Kim's haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's elite during the last six months of Kim Jong Il's reign — a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves."
 
Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong Il and North Korea. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. The year is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields. Except for the 270 students at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST)--a prisonlike complex where portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a job teaching English. Although she's covered North Korea as a journalist for years, the short, regimented foreign press tours reveal very little of the repressive regime, and so she has chosen to live for six months under its watchful eye.
        Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues--evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know that Suki doesn't share their faith. But she soon grows attached to her students, whose naivete and obedience to the regime she finds heartbreaking. Over time, she cautiously hints at the existence of a world beyond their own--at such exotic activities as skiing or surfing the Internet and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. The students in turn offer Suki tantalizing glimpses into their lives outside the university walls, sharing their anxieties about girls and their longing to see their families. Then Kim Jong Il dies, leaving the students devastated, and leading Suki to question whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:57 -0400)

"A ... memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign"--Amazon.com It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields-- except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room. Suki Kim offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves."… (more)

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