The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, is probably the world's most isolated country and is regarded as ‘The Hermit Kingdom’. In the aftermath of the Japanese occupation of Korea, the country was divided at the 38th parallel and the civil war which ensued left the two Koreas irrevocably alienated. North Korea became a deeply repressive communist state, run by a family of dictators with nuclear ambitions, but without the means to adequately feed their people.
Western writers have documented the politics and history of North Korea from an outsider’s perspective, for example, Bruce Cumings's North Korea: Another Country, as well as North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula by Paul French, are both focused on the politics of post-war North Korea. Hyok Kang’s This is Paradise! offers an insiders’ perspective; Hyok Kang managed to escape from North Korea when he was eighteen and documented the particularities of the rigidly communist in the memoir. Pierre Rigoulot’s Aquariums of Pyongyang depicts the suffering undergone by prisoners in the North Korean concentration camps, where political prisoners are forced to do hard labour.