Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Nothing to Envy

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Nothing to Envy

Ordinary Lives in North Korea

by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2009, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2010, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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Beyond the Book

A Brief History of North Korea
Korea's earliest known history begins around the 4th century B.C. Korea developed into several regions based around walled communities that acted somewhat like states. China controlled some southern parts of Korea, but in the 7th century A.D., one of the states, Silla, was able to drive China out of Korea's borders. As a result, Korea was a single kingdom ruled from within by succeeding dynasties until the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).

In 1905, Japan began to occupy Korea and later claimed the country as part of its own. Japan's occupation of Korea caused the formation of many political and resistance groups, including the Korean Communist Party. Some Koreans also helped the Manchu region of China to fight against Japan's advances in the early 1930's. After Japan's defeat in World War II, Korea's fate came under the control of the Allied countries. Soviet forces occupied the north and United States forces occupied the south....

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