BookBrowse Reviews A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Kim Jong-Il Production

The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

by Paul Fischer

A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer X
A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2015, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


This riveting non-fiction account of a North Korean kidnapping in the 1970s gives readers a wider look at the country's deeply dysfunctional operations.

A Kim Jong-Il Production might be set in the 1970s but this true story seems to be borrowed from today's headlines. This bizarre account of North Korea's wrongdoings was a winner with BookBrowse First Impression readers with 22 out of 23 reviews rated 4 or 5 stars.

Truth is stranger than fiction

This is the incredible true story of the kidnapping of a South Korean film director and his leading actress by Kim Jong-Il in the 1970s. At that time Kim Jong-Il was the son of the North Korean dictator (and head of the Ministry of Propaganda) and determined to market that closed society to the world through tightly controlled award-winning films (Sharon B).

A glimpse at a surreal landscape

Reading this book is a bit like falling down Alice's rabbit hole. You have this strange disoriented sensation of disbelief and distortion of the truth. This true story takes you to a place so different than your reality that you find yourself rereading parts trying to understand the demented minds of North Korea's leaders and the power of propaganda and fear (Candace B). The title refers not only to films but also to the fact that everything about life in the Hermit Kingdom was managed and directed to "produce" a certain image to its citizens (Sharon B). We come to see how North Korea has been living under the iron- fisted control of its leaders. It is very disturbing to learn the truth of how the citizens have been brainwashed to extreme ignorance and misunderstanding of what exists beyond the country's boundaries (Lynne B).

Life imitates art

The recent events with the Sony hacking make this story even more fascinating. It is hard to believe that it is true (Peggy H). This book will be especially appealing to the public in light of recent news headlines about North Korea's supposed involvement with Sony Pictures (Lynne B). Current politics makes it more relevant right now. Read and weep, Sony! The protagonists were sympathetic but the megalomania of Kim Jong-Il is remarkable (Barbara C). After reading The Orphan Master's Son, I wanted to know some facts about the Korean culture. The cruelty with which Shin and Choi were treated after each kidnapping is mind-boggling. But more amazing than the stoicism of their behavior is the complete freedom Kim Jong Il had in creating his film kingdom (Joan B).

Despite an occasional misgiving, a winner

This book is a must-read because it is a reminder that we should all look at media with some skepticism for freedom is a constant vigil. (Barbara K). Fiction readers will relate this to The Orphan Master's Son and prefer the fictional weave of that book. Nonfiction readers will enjoy this account but might find its pace and resolution lacking (Carole R). I recommend reading The Orphan Master's Son along with this work of non-fiction. It follows along quite nicely. This is one of those books that makes it a little more difficult to sleep at night, knowing there exists a country with nuclear bomb capacity that despises the West (in particular the U.S.) and is controlled by an egomaniacal family who seemingly will stop at nothing to achieve their bizarre goals (Vicki C). I enjoyed the book because the details about the "Hermit Kingdom" were fascinating, horrifying and at times bizarre (Nicole S). This tight journalistic account is a pulse-pounding, cinematic narration of not just the couple's abduction and their eventual escape - but of the North Korea of the 70s and 80s, a surreal canvas for a truly bizarre story. Proving that life can sometimes be stranger than fiction, A Kim Jong-Il Production is a riveting ride (Poornima A).

This review was originally published in February 2015, and has been updated for the November 2015 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Propaganda and its Uses

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: In Extremis
    In Extremis
    by Lindsey Hilsum
    International journalist Marie Colvin pushed the limits in her work and her personal life. Widely ...
  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim

    Two sisters grow up bound by family but separated by war; inspired by a true story.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.