A terrible famine struck the most reclusive society on earth in 1994. Over the next five years, while the North Korean regime tried to hide the dreadful reality and the international community tried hard not to look, perhaps as many as 3 million people starved to death. In this powerful, provocative book, Andrew Natsios asks three overarching questions: What do we know about the origins and extent of the famine? Why did donor governments and organizations not do more to help? What are the consequences of the famine for North Korea and the lessons for the international community?
In the search for answers, Natsios supplements the scanty store of published sources by drawing on the testimony of thousands of refugees, on thousands of e-mails he received while heading an NGO effort to aid the victims, and on his own encounters with officials from North Korea as well as from Western governments. The picture he presents is a disturbing one: human misery on a biblical scale, a paranoid regime that sacrificed its own citizens to ideological rigidity and pride, and foreign governments that subordinated humanitarian impulses to political and diplomatic interests.
A compelling and revealing book for specialists and general readers alike,The Great North Korean Famine takes us not only behind the well-guarded borders of the brutally incompetent “Hermit Kingdom” but also into the policymaking labyrinth where ethics and politics clash in the struggle to shape foreign policy.
About the Author
A senior fellow at the Institute in 1998–99, Andrew Natsios is currently administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and formerly was vice president of World Vision U.S. His previous publications include American Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Natsios is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.