Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I finally finished reading Bradley K. Martin's Under the Loving Care of the Heavenly FAther: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, his profile of North Korean dictators the late Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. An excellent look at North Korea, albeit a very long one at 868 pages. I wouldn't recommend reading it as fast as I've been trying to. Its interesting to read actual stories from those who have defected from North Korea, Martin having talked to both commoners and those of high standing who have defected. I'm sure most readers will find it hard to imagine living in a country like North Korea has been for most of its history, where the majority of people were inculcated in a rigid ideology with no real knowledge of how the rest of the world really worked. Martin avoids the temptation to portray the Kims as one dimensional boogiemen, and its not hard to gather the impression that they have often been as much victims of the insularity of the North Korean worldview as anyone else, with tragic results. Yet the fact that such a society could actually produce those who could see through all this and act counter to their upbringing, whether to engage in dissent or simply to escape, may be a glimmer of hope that North Korea can make its way out of its current moribund state.

No comments: