With North Korea in the headlines now, there is sure to be interest in this readable title in the Enchantment of the World series, even if some of the political matter is already out-of-date. Geography is the focus, but Kummer also discusses ancient and recent history (including the Korean War), the economy, religion, sports, education, and more. Without discounting the rich culture, the book doesn't shy away from more sensitive issues, such as the government oppression responsible for more than 200,000 political prisoners; strict censorship that, despite universal literacy, denies Internet access to the people; and the big question of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Conservationists will be moved by the bitter irony that extensive deforestation has destroyed wildlife except in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, where keeping people out has created an unplanned wilderness reserve. The open design will draw readers, with clear type on thick, high-quality paper; numerous maps and color photos; and spacious back matter are also included.
RELATED SUBJECTS: World History