"In his new book,Ask a North Korean,
Daniel Tudor—a formerEconomist
journalist and current Korean beer entrepreneur— wants people to understand the true lives of everyday North Koreans. Using translated essays written by defectors, the book covers topics from politics to pornography." —The Boston Globe
The weekly columnAsk A North Korean,
published byNK News
, invites readers from around the world to pose questions to North Korean defectors . Adapted from the long-running column, these fascinating interviews provide authentic firsthand testimonies about life in North Korea and what is really happening inside the "Hermit Kingdom."North Korean contributors to this book include:
Ask A North Korean
- "Seong" who went to South Korea after dropping out during his final year of university. He is now training to be an elementary school teacher.
- "Kang" who left North Korea in 2005. He now lives in London, England.
- "Cheol" who was from South Hamgyeong in North Korea and is now a second-year university student in Seoul.
- "Park" worked and studied in Pyongyang before defecting to the U.S. in 2011. He is now studying at a U.S. college.
sheds critical light on all aspects of North Korean politics and society and shows that, even in the world's most authoritarian regime, life goes on in ways that are very different from what outsiders may think. Begin to understand North Korea through the eyes of those who know it best—its defectors.
Daniel Tudor has lived in Seoul for many years and served as Korea Correspondent forThe Economist from 2010 – 2013. His first bookKorea: The Impossible Country received strong praise and has been translated into many languages. His subsequent book,North Korea Confidential (with James Pearson), was selected byThe Economist as one of the best books of 2015.
Andrei Lankov is a Director atNK News and writes exclusively for the site as one of the world's leading authorities on North Korea. A graduate of Leningrad State University, he attended Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University from 1984-5. In addition to his writing, he is also a Professor at Kookmin University.
"North Korea regularly dominates the headlines, but rarely do outsiders hear the perspective of its people.Ask a North Korean is a welcome remedy. Fascinating and insightful." —Bryan Harris,Financial Times correspondent in Seoul
"Ask A North Korean gives valuable insight into how former North Koreans see themselves, their changing country and its place in the world." —Andray Abrahamian,Chosun Exchange
"With North Korea once more in the news, this book will enable readers to empathize with a people often forgotten as a result of the bellicosity of their government." —Publishers Weekly
"Given current headlines, historical and sociopolitical interest, and even schadenfreude-laden curiosity, this is a valuable book … these voices deserve attention, compassion, and respect." —Booklist
"The range of subjects covered inAsk a North Korean is fascinating, allowing the reader to understand citizens of this shielded country. Simultaneously, the essays are unnerving, given conflicted views of the press and freedom of speech around the world, not just in North Korea. It's a stark reminder of how valuable these rights are and how easy it is to take them for granted." — Shelf Awareness
"In his new book,Ask a North Korean, Daniel Tudor—a former Economist journalist and current Korean beer entrepreneur— wants people to understand the true lives of everyday North Koreans. Using translated essays written by defectors, the book covers topics from politics to pornography." —The Boston Globe
"Among other things, we learn what children's books are popular ('Daddy Long Legs' and 'Cinderella'), what jobs are sought after (chauffeuring) and how political discussions among family members are conducted. We hear that North Koreans are capitalistic and that single men seek women with cell phones and motorbikes. These are the kind of details that make the book credible and interesting …Ask a North Korean is testimony that ordinary North Koreans have more in common with the rest of us than many would lead you to believe."—The Japan Times
"North Korea is such an unlikely country that it might be a parallel dimension, and would even be faintly comical if nuclear weapons were not in the mix. The recent thaw in relations has shed some light on the power structures, but little is known about how ordinary people lead their lives. Daniel Tudor's remarkable book is a start on changing that. It is based on a weekly column,Ask A North Korean, published by an American online newspaper based in Seoul. The column invites readers to put questions to North Korean defectors, and it is hugely popular in South Korea. The book is a series of in-depth interviews with four defectors, covering everything from politics to fashion."—The Australian