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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 12 to 18.
This title in the "Dictatorships" series offers a fairly in-depth treatment of North Korea, outlining the history of the region from the earliest archaeological discoveries of human settlement until present day. One of the real challenges of writing about this country is that under the Kim family (Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il) there has been almost absolute control of access to information for those within and without the borders of what is currently North Korea. Nevertheless, there have been defectors' accounts, expert studies and even the North Korean government's own propaganda web sites that provide various perspectives--all of which have been included in this work. The tone of writing is predominantly factual and objective and it is a fascinating tale of how this often fought over, colonized, and now isolated land and people came to be so totally controlled for six decades by two powerful men, father and son. This is a very useful reference book to have in any school library and would be a good resource for examining dictatorship as a form of government, studying propaganda, and generally increasing knowledge about this small remote country that has played such a large role in recent news. Students can learn from this account how control of the media may serve not only to influence public opinion but to change perceptions of history and current events. Although this is a lengthy text (137 pages), it is enlivened by numerous photographs and sidebars. There is extensive supplementary material, including a glossary, time line, mini-biographies of key persons, suggested readings and web sites, a bibliography, and an index. Reviewer: PaulaMcMillen, Ph.D.