A total doorstop of a book on the historic origins and development of the North Korean monarchy. Thankfully though, it is as readable as it is authoritative.
Literally translated as “I am Pyongyang’s Monica,” this one is in Korean, but I hope someone translates it. It is the story of an extraordinary childhood spent in North Korea by an outsider.
This book reads like a thriller, and is also a touching human story. It is also a shocking account of famine in North Korea, and the way some humans exploit other humans.
This is available in English on the DailyNK website. Hwang's defection story leaves me somewhat skeptical, but as an insider account of the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il years—and how things degenerated over that time—it makes for [a] fascinating and sad reading.
To my knowledge, this is the only detailed account of the power structure in North Korea in the Kim Jong-un era. The title sounds a bit over-dramatic, but the information contained within is really illuminating.
Lankov is the daddy when it comes to all things North Korean scholarship-related, so if he says that it’s the real North Korea, then it’s the real North Korea.