Oreo Book Club: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

The Really Serious Oreo Cookie Book Club met at the home of Diane Hearne to discuss her recommended book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. Demick is a reporter who spent twelve years interviewing North Korean people who escaped their country. She described their life when they lived under the military dictatorship and it was, as the title indicates, nothing to envy. The group discussed comparable situations of ordinary people under Stalin and under Hitler and, until recently, in Burma. We talked about what enables people to revolt under this kind of regulated and closely watched society. Punishment for deviation is swift and deadly. Government spies and tattletales are numerous.
Yet, many see past the lies and propaganda and are able to escape to South Korea and build new lives. We speculated how long this government could persist and what might bring change. The role of China and, to a lessor extent, Russia in supporting North Korea was considered and why it was to the advantage of these countries to support the present government.
The next meeting will be the third Wednesday in June at the home of Phyllis and Chafer Tezer where we will discuss the book The Revenge of Geography by Robert Kaplan.
—Norton Schwartz

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