Issues

A Literary Look Behind the Iron Curtain: Best North Korea Books

Photo © Shutterstock

Tensions between North Korea and the United States have long been at a steady simmer, but have been on a precipitous rise following a North Korean missile test in early February. The oft-embattled and secluded country has again been the subject of troubling headlines in the U.S. and around the world since. North Korea has continued to test its weapons program despite international sanctions and rebukes from the U.S. and allies in the region. The Trump administration has staked a hard, if somewhat confused, line on North Korea’s missile tests and the dangers it poses. North Korea has unsurprisingly responded with alarming and expected blusterIt is a situation that has drawn the world’s attention and may prove to be the first major foreign policy trial of the Trump presidency – one that Trump hasn’t shied away from.

Despite its antagonistic prevalence in world affairs, North Korea remains a secretive, isolated, and volatile country. Like many totalitarian regimes, The Kim dynasty firmly controls the flow of information both to and from North Korean citizens relying on a combination of censorship, propaganda, and the cult of personality established by Kim Il Sung when he came into power in 1948. Thankfully, for those seeking some context for seemingly continuous crises involving North Korea, there are a number of books illuminating the history of North Korea, the Kim dynasty, and life inside the enigmatic country. These books will hopefully provide insight into North Korea and how we arrived at this point.