Book review of "Nothing to Envy," by Barbara Demick, and "The Cleanest Race," by B.R. Myers
NOTHING TO ENVY
Ordinary Lives in North Korea
By Barbara Demick
Spiegel & Grau.
314 pp. $26
THE CLEANEST RACE
How North Koreans See Themselves -- and Why It Matters
By B.R. Myers
200 pp. $24.95
"If you look at satellite photographs of the Far East by night, you'll see a large splotch curiously lacking in light," writes Barbara Demick on the first page of "Nothing to Envy." "This area of darkness is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."
As a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, Demick discovered that the country isn't illuminated any further by traveling there. So she decided to penetrate North Korea's closed society by interviewing the people who had gotten out, the defectors, with splendid results.