—The New York Times
Eating with the Enemy: How I Waged Peace with North Korea from My BBQ Shack in Hackensackby Robert Egan
Robert Egan could have been a roofing contractor, like his father. Instead, he opened a barbecue restaurant. His interest in the search for Vietnam-era POWs led to an introduction to North Korean officials desperate to improve relations with the United States. So Egan turned his restaurant into Camp David, with pork ribs. During tumultuous years that saw
Robert Egan could have been a roofing contractor, like his father. Instead, he opened a barbecue restaurant. His interest in the search for Vietnam-era POWs led to an introduction to North Korean officials desperate to improve relations with the United States. So Egan turned his restaurant into Camp David, with pork ribs. During tumultuous years that saw the death of Kim Il Sung, the rise of Kim Jong Il, the Bush “Axis of Evil,” and North Korea’s successful test of a nuclear weapon, Egan advised North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, informed for the FBI, vexed the White House, and nearly rescued a captured U.S. Navy vessel. Based on true events, this fast-paced tale shows how far one citizen can go in working for peace.
—The New York Times
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Read an Excerpt
There was only one chair in the room. Fluorescent tubes on the ceiling hummed with blue light. The woman smiled and explained in a soothing voice that there were some “procedures” they had to go through.
“We’re just going to put you under for a few minutes,” she said. One of the officials told me to turn around..
“Do I have a choice?” I lowered my pants, exposing most of my left butt cheek. The woman came up from behind me, and I felt a sharp prick as she pushed in the needle and rammed the solution into my muscle. When she finished, I sat down.
“Which agency do you work for? CIA?” asked the other male official.
“I operate independently,” I said. I started to feel good. Very good. I had the urge to laugh, even though nobody had said anything funny. “I’m a lone wolf. And I make burgers for a living. I’m a burger-making lone wolf.”
I must have blacked out for some of it. When I opened my eyes again, the two men were there, but the woman was gone. I wiped my nose, and my hand came away bloody. I suddenly felt so sick and dizzy I thought I’d had a stroke. “What the fuck?”
Meet the Author
ROBERT EGAN has owned and run Cubby’s, a barbecue restaurant in Hackensack, New Jersey for the past twenty-five years. He has served as an “unofficial ambassador” for the government of North Korea and is the chairman of a trade group that has worked to improve ties between that country and the United States. His story has been profiled in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and elsewhere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Enlightening read about politics today. Take an ordinary citizen who wants to make a difference and make him the pivotal character in diplomacy with North Korea. Set this scene in a small restaurant in New Jersey and you hve the recipe for a successful adventure. You will not believe what happens next. Spend some time enjoying this piece of modern day history. PJ
Eating with the Enemy offers the most unlikely confluence of mafia wisdom, class warfare, BBQ recipes and a stinging critique of our diplomatic policies. It's a face paced and thoroughly enjoyable read.
In Eating with the Enemy, Bobby quotes and old street saying, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." The National Security Council and the powers directing our foreign policy should take a common sense lesson from Bobby. Thankfully, we have inched away from the inane and dysfunctional isolationist policies under Bush II. May we continue along the path of dialogue.
I bought this book because it was in the cookbook section, turns out it is all politics...a whole political rendition of backroom politics that happen in New Jersey. Don't bother picking this up for any cooking, I don't even know why Barnes and Noble has it under cooking!
After finishing" Eating with the Enemy" I gave a copy to my husband and while he read it we've spent some very pleasurable evenings comparing notes on the funniest passages of the book. Was it the time that Bobby took the North Korean women's soccer players to Walmart to buy lingerie? Or the time his "Commie"-hating father got stuck in Atlanta with the Olympics athletes? Or the time Bobby and his dentist friend put North Korean ambassador Han under too much anesthetic and nearly caused a war? Or (my husband's favorite - I thought it was scary!) the time the FBI told Bobby NOT to take the North Koreans hunting in New Jersey with real weapons and Bobby did it anyway, and Ambassador Han almost pulled a Dick Cheney by shooting Bobby's hunting buddy? Beneath all the laughs, there are some very serious and heartfelt lessons to this book. Maybe we should treat other cultures with dignity and respect before we try and influence how they govern themselves. As citizens, we should all be a little more like Bobby, stepping in and doing something when we don't like how our government is acting on our behalf.
Fascinating story. Unbelievable. Who is this guy Bobby Egan? Restaurant owner, cook for the NY Giants, would-be mobster, friend of Ross Perot, P.O.W advocate, peacemaker, patriot and double agent. This book proves the power of one. If you get involved. You can make a change. One person can. Even the most unlikely ones.