This is Paradise! : My North Korean Childhood, Paperback Book

This is Paradise! : My North Korean Childhood Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Hyok Kang was eighteen when he escaped from North Korea, a country locked away from the outside world.

This personal, illustrated account of school days in a rigidly communist institution and everyday life with his family and community provides a rare glimpse of this secretive nation. His shocking and moving portrayal bears witness to this spirited young boy's resilience and survival in a society forced to operate under the shadow of labour camps, public executions and the deception of UN representatives by Korean officials.

When the famine comes so too does death by starvation of friends and close ones, and Hyok Kang watches as his classmates drop out of school one by one, too weak to attend.

All this is normal. After all, the propaganda North Koreans are fed by their government insists that compared to the rest of the world, this is paradise! Hyok Kang's childhood and courageous escape through China Vietnam and Cambodia to South Korea is a remarkable story that goes to the heart of a nation living under a disturbing delusion of 'paradise'.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, Section: 16, b/w
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Politics & government
  • ISBN: 9780349118659



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

The desciption of hunger is terrible. When the boy tell about the work his father do with frogs to sell to the chinese is incredible. It is hard to put it away. Well worth read.

Review by

If you want to get an idea of what North Korea is like, especially during the mid to late 1990's, this book, told from a young man's point of view, is very enlightening. I knew things there were bad, but after reading this book I found out just how miserable the conditions are for the North Koreans. The culture/mind set that persists there is almost unbelievable.

Review by

“This is paradise!” is a very interesting but also shocking account of life in North Korea as witnessed by a young boy who finally manages to escape the regime through the Chinese border when he’s in his late teens/ early twenties. I would highly recommend the book to anybody interested in North Korea or in regimes in general. It’s a real eye opener when it comes to human rights abuse but also a great insight into North Korean educational system, labour market (if even we can call it that) as well as into social life and mentality of the locals. Be forewarned however that some parts of this short book are truly shocking even if you have some sort of idea of North Korean life and, due to this, it is not the easiest read, very grim and Orwell-like.