North Korea: What Everyone Needs to Know by Patrick McEachern was a short book in a question-and-answer format. It is part of a series published by Oxford University Press which my library has added to its collection. The book was meant for a reader who was altogether unfamiliar with the history of the Korean peninsula, the Korean War or the current state of affairs under Kim Jong Un. It was divided into twelve sections with each one addressing between five and twenty questions about topics such as Origins and the Korean War, Korea-Japan Relations, The Economy, Korean Society: North and South, North Korean Human Rights and The Future. Questions such as “What is the status of women in North Korea?”, “Is North Korea economically self-reliant?” and “Will North Korea ever denuclearize?” generally took between two and four pages to answer.
I have already read quite a lot about Korean history and the DPRK in general and I was interested in this book for two reasons. It was a new imprint from 2019 (so it mentioned the summits between Kim Jong Un and the American president) and I was going to Florida, so it was a perfect holiday read in that I could leave it for a time and come back to it if need be. I did not really learn anything new from this book, but for a general introduction to Korean history, the Korean War and the state of present-day North Korea, these two hundred pages cover it all.