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The People’s Paradise: True Stories from North Korea, the People’s Paradise on Earth

Publisher: , 2010
Link to online store *

A collection of humorous stories gathered from in and around Pyongyang. Black comedy as it really happened then and continues to this day.

Dear reader,

This book is not fiction but really shows what happened albeit in a humorous manner. These anecdotes depicted as ‘black comedies’ actually happened and continue to this day. You can’t imagine what North Korea is like just by looking at what the North Korean government releases. You can only understand by listening to the voices of North Korean escapees who had lived in North Korea.

The People’s Paradise is a brilliant and bittersweet depiction of real life in North Korea during the `Ardous March,” the horrific famine that claimed the lives of millions of innocent men, women, and children. In the face of such enormous misery, we are shown both the idiocy and cruelty of Kim Jong-il, but also the triumph of the human spirit as North Koreans face these hardships. We are given a precious front row seat to what life is like in the world’s most isolated nation through the anecdotes and drawings depicting actual events. – Suzanne Schotte, Seoul Peace Prize Laureate; President Defense Forum Foundation; Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition

The idea is obvious, but it’s not easy to say. In fact, it is so difficult to convey, but I feel like I have found a treasure as ‘People’s Paradise’ has done that difficult task. This is the reason why ‘People’s Paradise’ is once again a pleasure that human anguish and rebellious spirit can be sublimated into laughter. – Kim Seong-min, President of Free North Korea Radio, the first poet to escape from North Korea

Peter Oh’s “People’s Paradise” is a true gem. A compilation of anecdotes about the absurdity of the Kim regime, rebuilt from the author’s memory and through conversations with other North Korean escapees, “People’s Paradise” proves that dark humor enables the people of North Korea to remain sane despite ruthless oppression. Peter Oh confirms that, just like Eastern Europeans during the Cold War, North Koreans rely on dark humor and anecdotes spread via word of mouth to quietly keep their bearings, curse their oppressors, and hope for positive change and better days. – Greg Scartatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK)

Source: back cover

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.