November 08, 2004

Booknotes

WE'VE HAD the joy of picking up two fabulous works over these past couple of days, and we thought Rant readers also might find them particularly interesting.

The first is Bradley Martin's Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, which examines North Korea under Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. It is a fabulously researched book and a must-read for anyone interested in North Korean affairs.

It is not a perfect work, for as reviewers at Amazon.com have noted, Mr Martin seems a bit too optimistic about the DPRK's Dear Leader. On the flip side of that coin, though, Mr Martin did much in the way of telling defectors' and escapees' stories, and he has done a damn fine job in total. We can assure readers that the $30 we spent on Mr Martin's book was definitely worth it, and we would encourage all Rant readers to pick up a copy.

Tonight, meanwhile, we picked up the third volume of Victor Klemperer's famous diaries. The first two volumes recounted his experiences as a Jew living in Nazi Germany; the third ("The Lesser Evil") focuses on his post-war life, covering the years 1945 to 1959. We have not yet delved into the book, but we are very much looking forward to doing so.

We must say, though, that even a glance at the cover has given us that same terrible sense of foreboding that we felt throughout reading the first two volumes. Those who have read them know what we mean. For things get worse and worse for Prof Klemperer over the years, and it is heartbreaking to read. We wonder if we will be thinking along similar lines as the years pass in the third volume.

You see, Prof Klemperer stayed in East Germany.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 8, 2004 11:25 PM | TrackBack