Life in North Korea - Without You There Is No Us.

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  #1  
Old 08-19-2017, 01:42 PM
mellincf mellincf is offline
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Default Life in North Korea - Without You There Is No Us.

If you are interested in what is going on in North Korea, this book is a must read. The story of a Korean-American teaching in a North Korean university, and what life is like for elite students there. "A touching portrayal of the student experience in North Korea, which provides readers with a rare glimpse of life in this enigmatic country...Well-written and thoroughly captivating."
—Library Journal, starred review Author is Suki Kim, book available on Amazon.
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mellincf View Post
If you are interested in what is going on in North Korea, this book is a must read. The story of a Korean-American teaching in a North Korean university, and what life is like for elite students there. "A touching portrayal of the student experience in North Korea, which provides readers with a rare glimpse of life in this enigmatic country...Well-written and thoroughly captivating."
—Library Journal, starred review Author is Suki Kim, book available on Amazon.
I was curious and found this;


Overview
Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim

A haunting account of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign
*
Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has gone undercover as a missionary and a teacher. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them English, all under the watchful eye of the regime.
Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn't share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.
Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves."
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Last edited by graciegirl; 08-19-2017 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:53 PM
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I love memoirs. My Kindle is on overload with them. This sounds like a good read:

"A book about censorship, trust, fear, love, and truth, seen through the prism of a school that functions as a comfortable prison…The title comes from a song the students sing in honor of 'The Dear Leader,' including the lyric, 'Without you, there is no us.' Within that title, and this book, is a multitude of truths."
—Philadelphia Inquirer
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:57 PM
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I spent 13 months in South Korea in 1970 thru 1971 and at that time the ROK Army (Republic of Korea) was gun ho, or crazy in layman's terms. I remember reading in the Stars & Strips (military newspaper) about a ROK officer committing suicide because his orders for Vietnam were denied. They actually had quite a few ROK soldiers in Vietnam during the war.

I remember on one occasion we had North Korean infiltrators come across the border. I was stationed at an airfield in the DMZ about 4 miles from Panmunjon, and the infiltrators were actually in a location that was an artillery impact zone, where practice shooting would go on. Rather than just let the zone go hot, the ROK solders decided to go in and fight the infiltrators in ground contact. I never understood that unless they just wanted to fight them or capture them.

I was a controller in the airfield tower and we have 50 helicopters based that flew up and down the DMZ everyday patrolling the 18 miles of the 38th parallel the USA was responsible for watching. Our helicopters never flew above 500 so they couldn't be tracked by North Korean radar, in fact they usually flew down rivers and streams at whatever altitude they could get away with, sometimes 10 feet.

We also had 5 ROK birddogs stationed at our field, that's something like a Cessna 150, a small lightweight single engine aircraft capable of about 90 kts. I use to talk to their commander all the time. He was a ROK Major who had come to America and learned to fly helicopters at Ft. Wolters Texas and Ft. Rucker Alabama and then when he finished, he rented a car and drove from one end of America to the other before returning to Korea. He got addicted to American cheese burgers and at the airfield snackbar, Koreans were not allow to enter. He would come by the tower and hand me a couple of dollars and ask if I would get him a cheeseburger and fries at the snackbar.

One day the ROK Major called me on the radio while in the air with a flight of all 5 of his bird dogs in formation flying down the 38th parallel. He said I am unable to contact Warrior Control, that is our radar facility that tracks our aircraft while in the DMZ. I asked his position and altitude and he said 4,000 feet. I said, you're a formation of 5 bird dogs at 4,000 flying over the DMZ, he said, that is correct. I don't know if you can imagine how suicidal that seemed, but 5 planes in formation even without transponders turned one, would be a large primary target on North Korean radar, especially flying at maybe 80 or 90 Kts. That's just my story of how crazy the Korean military can be.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:04 PM
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Did they make it back safely?

Thanks for that story. That kind of account is why I prefer memoirs to fiction.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:10 PM
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Did they make it back safely?

Thanks for that story. That kind of account is why I prefer memoirs to fiction.
Were you referencing me? If it was the ROK Bird dogs you're worried about, yes they landed about 20 minutes later and I talked to the major when I saw him. He said he climbed high so he could call me on the radio, our reception over there was not good because it was somewhat mountainous.
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Old 08-19-2017, 09:01 PM
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Were you referencing me? If it was the ROK Bird dogs you're worried about, yes they landed about 20 minutes later and I talked to the major when I saw him. He said he climbed high so he could call me on the radio, our reception over there was not good because it was somewhat mountainous.
Yes, I was referencing you. Quite the story.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:02 PM
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Just finished the Without You ebook this weekend. It was available from one of the libraries I belong to. Very good read and an interesting perspective on one slice of the North Korean regime. So few knowledgeable first hand accounts come out of that country.
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