Best asian history books according to redditors

We found 3,470 Reddit comments discussing the best asian history books. We ranked the 1,461 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Chinese history books
Hong Kong history books
India history books
Japanese history books
Pakistan history books
Phillippines history books
Central Asia history books
Southeast Asia history books
Korean history books

Top Reddit comments about Asian History:

u/happybadger · 825 pointsr/todayilearned

It was a fucked up event. One account in John Hersey's Hiroshima, non-fiction mind you, was of a survivor who walked past an anti-aircraft battery. They had been watching the sky as the plane flew over. Not only did it shear their faces off, but their eyes had boiled and the liquefied remains were pouring down their cheeks. Still alive.

u/ThePlumBum · 479 pointsr/todayilearned

That was the thing that always blew me away about the event: That the effects of Krakatoa on the atmosphere are observable today in landscape paintings made at the time from as far away as England.

There's a really good book on the event called Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded by Simon Winchester in case anyone is interested.

Edit:correction to book title

u/bravado · 166 pointsr/nottheonion

Unfortunately during the last famine, “grass cakes” replaced non-existent rice, so compost is likely an extreme luxury in many parts of NK.

Edit: If you want to know waaaaay too much more, read this epic volume

u/CTR_CUCK_SHILL · 73 pointsr/history

Everything I've read, and that's not much, has suggested that it escalated when the Japanese found more resistance than they bargained for after assuming it would be an easy invasion. The soldiers were frustrated and emasculated in how difficult their invasion actually was and so they enacted brutal revenge on everything that moved once they finally overtook the city.

EDIT: Clarification; It wasn't just Nanking that frustrated them, it was the unanticipated resistance by the Chinese throughout the entire war that upset the expectations of the Japanese army leading up to the brutal siege on the city.

'The actual military invasion of Nanking was preceded by a tough battle at Shanghai that began in the summer of 1937. Chinese forces there put up surprisingly stiff resistance against the Japanese Army which had expected an easy victory in China. The Japanese had even bragged they would conquer all of China in just three months. The stubborn resistance by the Chinese troops upset that timetable, with the battle dragging on through the summer into late fall. This infuriated the Japanese and whetted their appetite for the revenge that was to follow at Nanking.'

EDIT 2: Jonathan Spence writes "there is no obvious explanation for this grim event, nor can one be found. The Japanese soldiers, who had expected easy victory, instead had been fighting hard for months and had taken infinitely higher casualties than anticipated. They were bored, angry, frustrated, tired. The Chinese women were undefended, their menfolk powerless or absent. The war, still undeclared, had no clear-cut goal or purpose. Perhaps all Chinese, regardless of sex or age, seemed marked out as victims."
Spence, Jonathan D. (1999) The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton and Company. p. 424; ISBN 0-393-97351-4.

u/[deleted] · 55 pointsr/pics

It does. In fact people in North Korea, especially young people, welcome the blanket of darkness at night as it allows them to do things they might not necessarily be able to do during the day under the watchful eye of government party members. It's likely that since the creation of the state, many thousands of dates have taken place at night, in the darkness, under the blanket of stars.

edit: I read this in "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick. It's a fascinating read which really sheds light on the misery and tragedy of life in North Korea under the regime.

u/FakeHipster · 54 pointsr/pics

Here's an extremely abbreviated version of what happened: the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we decided to punch them in the nuts, so we began arming and training large numbers of Afghan freedom fighters.

They began punching the Russians in the nuts. The Russians eventually were like, fuck this dude, we're out, and withdrew.

Natch, we were all "OMFG YES WE'RE THE BEST. Now on to other things" and totally moved on from the conflict.

By arming these freedom fighters we had created basically a system of well armed warlords. The power vacuum left by the Russians created intense fighting and strife. The Taliban expanded in this vacuum, offering relative peace.

Oh, and somewhere a congressman was fucking around so they made a movie about it.

For a real in depth, actual learning experience about this I strongly recommend Ghost Wars by Steven Coll:

u/alfonseski · 47 pointsr/pics

This is not true. I read the book about Krakatoa

They actually heard Krakatoa over 3000 miles away but people that were close did not report it as being that loud, really muffled sounding, probably having to do with the way acoustic waves work but interesting either way. That book has some really interesting stuff in it. Krakatoa was the first truly global event since the telegraph lines had just been laid across the oceans.

u/endlessballss · 46 pointsr/asianamerican

Hey, bud. I get you're upset at reddit's circlejerks. I get how you're trying to build solidarity by trying to find parallels in the treatment of other oppressed or disempowered groups.

That being said, comparing reddit circlejerks to the Rwandan Genocide or the Nuremberg Laws is a bit out of the scope of the issue it looks like you're taking issue with. Sure, the circlejerk of the "shitty chinese tourist" is probably an effect of european imperialism, just like some of the shitty things in Africa are also a result of european imperialism. But the "shitty things in africa" include genocide, while the "shitty chinese tourist" trope is a probably very real circlejerk on reddit that is not comparable to genocide, even if you can make the broadest of connections between reddit circlejerks and the Rwandan Genocide.

I get that you don't like how reddit circlejerks about an important aspect of your identity. But respectfully, you're overestimating how important reddit circlejerks are in broader cultural discourse.

If you're looking for academic books that look at orientalism and imperialism and identity and all that jazz, to situate your thoughts in the broader context I think you're searching for, here are some books:

u/EJERommel · 43 pointsr/AskHistorians

I would suggest Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demmick. It deals specifically about the subject you raised.

It is a fascinating read.

u/hawthornepridewipes · 42 pointsr/todayilearned

jumping on your comment to say how much that book engrossed me and that anyone who has read Escape From Camp 14 might also be interested in reading Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. Out of all of the books I have read about life in North Korea this is the one that made me realise how dire the situation is out there right now due to the many stories from the different walks of life in NK.

u/raohthekenoh · 39 pointsr/technology

I read it in this book.

Very interesting look at people's lives in North Korea from the perspective of people who eventually decided to defect.

u/alltakesmatter · 35 pointsr/slatestarcodex

> and I always thought "oriental" referred to the Far East, so really not sure what the article was on about.

The article is drawing upon Orientalism by Edward Said, which is a important and popular text among cultural studies types. And is specifically about European attitudes towards the Middle East.

u/Naieve · 32 pointsr/worldnews

>What you're expecting is Pakistan to stand when we want them to and sit when we tell them to. Thats not how International relations work.

It's your fucking mess. Seriously.

The Pakistani ISI built the fucking Taliban to take proxy control of Afghanistan. The vast majority of the Taliban having been indoctrinated in Pakistani Madrasas for Afghan Refugees, the program was directed by a political ally of Bhutto. Mushareff sent 20,000 regular Frontier Corps and Army troops to help them complete the takeover after the Northern Alliance kicked the Talibans ass. Without the Pakistani military intervening, the Taliban would not have become as powerful as they did, and instead of planning to drop buildings in New York, Osama would have been more concerned with trying to stay alive and thus his support of KSM would have been limited..

In fact of the 45,000 or so "Afghani Taliban" attacking the Northern Alliance, only 14,000 were Afghani. The vast majority were Pakistani, regular military as pointed out, along with some Arabs and others supplied by Osama. The breeding ground for the 9/11 attacks were built directly with Pakistani Military support.

Iraq, totally our mess. Afghanistan, Your fucking mess.

u/homedoggieo · 30 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

This... is a lot of questions. As in, volumes and volumes and volumes written about it.

So I'll just answer the how did it become so crazy? bit.

Korea was targeted for missionary work, and many people were converted to Christianity. Once North Korea was isolated after the Korean War, a guy named Kim Il-Sung came along (Kim Jong-Il's dad, and Jong-Un's grandfather) took advantage of this isolation, and literally had his people paste his face over Jesus's. There's an insane mythology behind him, even stating that his birth was heralded in by a shining star in the north and the appearance of a double rainbow. I read that information from Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demmick, which is a great read if you're interested.

Anyway, if you denied any of this, you disappeared. Eventually, people were too afraid to deny it. Then they were too afraid to tell their children the truth, so you had a new generation being raised with only this information.

A crazy amount of propaganda, isolation from the outside world and several generations later, you have modern North Korea.

Now that South Korea is so advanced and smartphone technology is getting increasingly hard to control (along with a spotty northern border into China where people can sneak out and get new information and products), truth about the outside world is starting to seep in - but people are still too afraid to do anything about it, and the power-hungry regime will do anything to maintain control.

u/theabolitionist · 28 pointsr/AskReddit

Here is the deal with N. Korea. Pretty much the ones who live in Pyongyang, aka where the media actually have cameras, are brainwashed. Apparently, those who live in the city are chosen by the leadership to live there as it is an honor. Those on the outskirts of the main drag are more in tune to the reality of the situation their country is in. Yes, they still have the mandatory framed pictures of Kim Jong Il & Un on their walls and yes if interviewed, taped or pressured they will act as they are expected to but in reality they know something isn't right. I suggest anyone who is interested read Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.

u/Tangurena · 28 pointsr/AskHistorians

> In my view, the second certainly wasn't

According to Rhodes [1], the Japanese command knew what affected Hiroshima was an atomic bomb [2] but concluded that since it took 4 years to build the first atom bomb, it would take the Allies 4 years to build the next. The folks at the top kept believing that they could force the Allies to a negotiated peace and that westerners were too weak - hence the suicidal efforts in Okinawa/Saipan and kamikaze to demoralize Allied troops.

The Yalta conference required Stalin to enter war against Japan within 90 days of the end of the German campaign. Depending on how you do the math and count timezones, Russia declared war against Japan and entered combat on day 89, 90 or 91.

According to Cook in Japan at War there were 4,335,500 Japanese soldiers at the time of the surrender with about 3,500,000 stationed outside the "home islands" (mostly stuck in Korea and Manchuria). This was a lot more than the Allies thought that Japan had.

1 - I forget whether it was in Dark Sun (most likely because it was the followup written after the fall of the Soviet Union which opened up a lot of their secret archives) or The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
2 - The Japanese had 2 atom bomb projects: a chemical separation project in Tokyo and a gaseous diffusion project in what is now called North Korea around the Chosin Reservoir.

u/Mister_Donut · 27 pointsr/AskHistorians

This article is a fairly succinct summation of the revisionist argument.

This book by a Japanese historian is the long form.

EDIT: Since I was asked to be a bit more explicit about the context of these links, I'll summarize. The basic argument here is that the dropping of the atomic bombs and Japanese surrender coming so close together is, in a way, coincidental. Japanese cities had basically been flattened (see this link for a comparison of Japanese cities destroyed to similar-sized American ones. Sorry I can't find a better page on short notice) and many of the conventional attacks were just as destructive as the atomic ones.

The Japanese high command weren't idiots, although some of them were nationalist fanatics. They knew they were losing the war, and indeed always stood very little chance of winning. However, they were hoping that a deal mediated through the Soviets, with whom they had a non-aggression pact, would allow them to hold on to some of their colonial possessions. Remember they had ruled Korea for decades, and were accustomed to it being fully in their control. They didn't see why surrender should necessarily end that.

The Soviets ultimately decided to break their pact with the Japanese, though and attacked Manchuria (with many many atrocities committed against Japanese colonists, btw. Read Japan at War for some first person accounts.) Their massive war machine, having been done with Germany for months, could have been in Hokkaido in weeks, rather than the months it would have taken to mount the American invasion of Kysushu. The Japanese military had been fortifying Kyushu with its best veteran troops in anticipation of American landings there. They would have been completely rolled in the north and Tokyo would have fallen by December.

The argument is that it was the prospect of occupation by the hated Russians that drove the high command to surrender, not the atomic bombs.

u/Ballinger · 23 pointsr/MorbidReality

If you want to know more about daily life in North Korea, check out this oral history book entitled Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

It is an amazing read, goes from after the Korean War, through the famine in the 1990s, to current day.

u/SantosMcGarry2016 · 22 pointsr/news

Well, they're taught that trickery will be involved as well, they they may seem nice but will actually kill you, etc.
It is hard to fathom the level of brainwashing that goes on in NK. Most people are taught, and fully believe, that Dear Leader can actually read their minds. This stops them from even THINKING dissenting thoughts. So as you can imagine, it will take a LOT of deprogramming to deal with this stuff.

Even people who leave North Korea and defect to the South, go through a three-month resettlement school called Hanawon, where they are deprogrammed and taught how to live in modern society. So even the people who have got to the point of dissolution and figured out how to leave, still need a LOT of retraining to actually learn what the real world is like.

Now consider that there have been roughly 26,000 North Koreans defect to South Korea since the Korean War. Each needing to be screened to make sure they are not a North Korean spy, sent to Hanawon for 3 months, given their resettlement payment and supported to settle in a whole new world.

Compare that to 25 million people who would need to be dealt with. It's estimated the cost would be in the trillions to handle the crisis. There are summits every year on planning for response to the eventual collapse of the NK regime.

But more to your point, these people are prepared for invasion, they have no trust for the "enemy" coming in, and even if they don't really believe in the regime anymore, they have to continue to pretend to be fighting against these invaders like everyone else. Everyone is an informant to the Workers Party there, which is the ruling party and the whole regime. So if you don't pretend to play along, you will be accused of treason and likely executed publicly or sent to a prison camp. Hard to say what that looks like under actual invasion, so my money is on execution.

This comes around to all of those defectors living in South Korea. Many of them report that, even years later and now that they are part of modern society, they will still find themselves defending Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il and now Kim Jong-Un, when people speak poorly of them. All of that work, deprogramming and life in far better circumstances, and they still automatically find themselves defending the regime that put them through hell. It's unbelievable!

(Hard to find a clear source on some of this stuff as it's a bit of a collage of the books on NK I've read. Probably a lot of it is from Nothing To Envy, as I've read that book about seven times and I can't get enough of it. I truly can't recommend anything more highly!

u/emr1028 · 21 pointsr/worldnews

You think that you've just made a super intelligent point because you've pointed out the obvious fact that the US has issues with human rights and with over-criminalization. It isn't an intelligent point because you don't know jack shit about North Korea. You don't know dick about how people live there, and I know that because if you did, you would pull your head out of your ass and realize that the issues that the United States has are not even in the same order of magnitude as the issues that North Korea has.

I recommend that you read the following books to give you a better sense of life in North Korea, so that in the future you can be more educated on the subject:

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag

u/Da_Jibblies · 21 pointsr/AskHistorians

Well first and foremost, the "Axis" that you referred to is not a monolithic entity, but rather, an alliance of world powers with their own vested interests, their own reasons for war, and their own justifications for military expansionism. So judging from how your question is framed, by "Axis" you seem to be referring specifically to Germany, but I will attempt to unpack your answer in as nuanced and comprehensive way as possible.

Many in the Japanese military saw the expansion of their empire as a means of becoming a modern state in the eyes of the world, on par with great European powers at the time. Furthermore, Japanese framed the rhetoric of this expansion within a dialogue of "Pan-Asianism", and the protection of Asian interests from white imperial powers in the West (namely Britain and the United States). Many Asian countries, be it the Philippines, China, Thailand, etc. had a long history of both military and economic subjugation at the hands of European and American imperialism. In this regard, the Japanese fighting allied troops in the pacific did not see themselves as agents of genocide, but rather, as protectors of a sort of paternalistic guidance of Asian independence and progression, with conveniently, Japan as the father figure protecting their fellow Asian "wards" within that paternalistic setting.

In regards to Germany, I think it is instructive for us to use an approach similar to Mary Renda's in her account of the U.S occupation of Haiti by asking the question: How does one imagine themselves when they pull the trigger of a gun? Again, engaging directly to your question, is it likely that the common German soldier saw himself as a vessel of genocide? Or, is it more likely that the background of the soldier in a prewar context (their class, their regional identity, their experiences with Jews before the war, the relationship to economic depression and recovery, etc.) shaped their attitudes and motivations going into the war? Some surely did see themselves as actors in the genetic purification of the German race, however, I would postulate that these were the minority of soldiers. Some saw themselves as restoring the glory of the German empire. However, as [Stephen Fritz] ( suggests, many others saw themselves upholding the less sinister values of National Socialism against the forces of communism and capitalism. National Socialism was more than just the idea of ethnic purity. We have to remember the context of post WWI German society; its political unrest of the Weimar Republic and its economic hardships. The soldiers of Germany experienced this context, it memory was palpable and vivid, and thus, many saw the country's renewed glory as intrinsically connected to the class, economic and political ideologies of National Socialism.

I do not have a comprehensive background in Italian history or Italian fascism, so I won't attempt to postulate on the motivations of soldiers in that context. However, I would just like to end by cautioning you of the approach that leads to questions like this. What you are doing is taking a presentist mindset, the knowledge and context of the present and imposing it on your inquiry of the past. In so doing, you devoid the subjects of your presentist thinking of their historical contexts, and in turn, pass judgment onto these historical actors and ascribe motivations that were either nominal or secondary to their lives and beliefs. This is not an attack on you, or, an attempt to scold you in an academic sense. Rather, it is simply an attempt to illuminate some the fallacies that everyone (including professional historians) bring with them that shape their historical scholarship. In the future, try to refine your inquires by identifying possibly presentist ideas and analysis. Again, I don't want this to seem like an attack, I am glad you are attempting to think about the motivations of the other in a historical context.

I hope this answer shed some light on your question and the historical contexts the shaped the more forgotten actors of the Second World War.

Further Reading:

[Japan at War] (

[The Programme of NSDAP] (

[Japan's Total Empire] (

EDIT: Spelling and formatting and junk.

u/meteorpuke · 19 pointsr/starterpacks

if you give me her address i'll send her this book

u/FS959 · 17 pointsr/sweden

Jag vet att folk gillar nordkoreansk propaganda, men varför inte läsa något ur en nordkoreans perspektiv istället för samma trötta charterresa? Det bor över 20000 nordkoreaner i Sydkorea, och en majoritet av dem har flytt dit under det senaste decenniet.

Här är några bokrekommendationer:

  • Nothing to Envy: Fokuserar ganska mycket på svältkatastrofen på 90-talet men också många skildringar av vardagen i Nordkorea. Släpptes nyligen på svenska.

  • Escape from Camp 14: Biografi om den enda person som fötts i ett nordkoreanskt koncentrationsläger och lyckats fly landet. Över 200 000 personer tros sitta i dessa läger och Camp 14 är det absolut värsta, i klass med Auschwitz-Birkenau vad gäller grymhet. The Aquariums of Pyongyang handlar om ett annat läger.

  • Några bra böcker som inte är skrivna av/med "avhoppare" (dvs nordkoreanska flyktingar) är The Cleanest Race (om Nordkoreas interna propaganda; väldigt bra för den som undrar "hur de kan tro på det där"), North of the DMZ, och Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader (nästan encyclopedisk bok om nordkoreas historia).
u/nikovich · 17 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> Do you have a source where I can read more about this?

Embracing Defeat is a great book about Japan's rapid transition to democracy and constitutional pacifism in the post-war period. I recommend it.

u/SewHappyGeek · 16 pointsr/AskHistorians

Re: the supernatural aspects. It seems this was an evolutionary process. For example, in the early days it was normal to refer to Stalin in NK propaganda and put him on a similar pedestal as KI-S. but as time went on and the policies proved egregious, it became more pressing to present Kim as a sort of spiritual leader/demigod as well. All mentions of Stalin were quietly retired. At the same time, the pictures and stories about Kim start to become more and more godlike - he has supernatural ability to understand what a factory's problems are and solve them in 2 seconds. So things like the story of how he kicked Japanese ass near Mount Pikchu started evolving too, because that further demonstrates how godlike he is and how his destiny was mapped. Then, when KJ-I needed to be groomed for the leadership position, stories about his 'birth at Mount Pikchu' started circulating, and his astonishing output of important Juche/Communist essays started getting larger.

When KJ-I went to uni, he seems to have kept himself aloof and was always intensely private. So he didn't show up in photos, or was largely inconspicuous in the background. But when he was coming to the fore as future leader, suddenly we need to explain why he's not in the centre of the photos!! Ah! We have the answer! He was so humble (echoes of Jesus here?) that he refused to be in the centre, no matter how much his astonished classmates begged him. So they first make a virtue out of it, then that transforms into proof that he's the Chosen One.

So it was a slow process, and probably wasn't intentionally planned or mapped out. Circumstances demanded further 'proof' of why it was absolutely imperative for the Kims to stay in power, and one easy way to do that is take advantage of the fact that the communist ideology had suppressed traditional religion by substituting it with a Kim religion - all the while increasing The Kim political grip on the country as shit gets worse and worse. You should read Bradley Martin's Under the Care of the Fatherly Leader. Also see B. R. Myers The Cleanest Race for a discussion of the propoganda. It's short and scary as hell.

Hope that sets you on the track! It's fascinating and extremely disturbing to read.

Edited for clarity as the kind aubgrad11 pointed out.

u/ende76 · 16 pointsr/

Recommended reading to understand what has been going on in North Korea since the 70s, from the people's perspective: Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick

It illustrates superbly how the people are affected by the insanity of their leaders, all the while trying to keep their belief and faith in their country. From the book you will learn, that it is quite possible that this woman in the video barely escaped death by starvation, that she has probably had to step over dozens of bodies of children that died from hunger in her town, that probably most of her family members have died from lack of food, and that the regime's indoctrination is so infused in her life, that at the point where she is being beaten for trying to survive in China, she probably believes in her heart that she has done something wrong.

u/taxalmond · 15 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Take a look at "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick. You'd be surprised.

These are people who, by and large,don't know that the internet even exists. There's a story told by one defector in that book where they got illicit TV feeds from South Korea - it was a sitcom. The story was about two people fighting over a parking space. The North Koreans who watched it thought that the comedy was in the absurdity of anyone other than the Military having a car.

They are completely politically illiterate, because they have one source of information - the government. Political discussions don't happen. If you are overheard saying something that might be remotely negative about the gov't, off you go to the labor camps.

This is a society that has been completely cut off from the rest of the world. There is nothing ridiculous about the idea that there will be severe culture shock if/when there is a reunification.

There is an entire educational system devoted to teaching defectors how to live in a modern country.

u/Tundrasama · 15 pointsr/pics

In Steve Coll's Ghost Wars he discusses how between 2000 and 2500 stinger missiles were given to the mujahideen during the Soviet invasion and that after the Soviet withdrawal the US set about attempting to recover these munitions. He alleged that:
>the total cash spent by the CIA on Stinger repurchaes during the mid-1990's rivaled the total cash donations by other sections of the U.S. government for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan during those years. The Stinger repurchases may have improved aviation security, but they also delivered boxes of money to the warlords who were destroying Afghanistan's cities and towns.

>The going rate per missile ranged between $80,000 and $150,000. Pakistan's intelligence service handled most of the purchases on a subcontract basis for the CIA, earning an authorized commission for each missile collected.

u/blthsfrznbns · 14 pointsr/starterpacks

This review literally made me laugh out loud. I never think about kids getting angry about books in school and then writing bad reviews on the internet, but I suppose that's a thing now.

u/Pennsylvasia · 13 pointsr/worldnews

Hmm, well my point is that Western outlets definitely play up the Weird Asia angle when covering it. That extends throughout the region. My local paper has a piece at the moment about Taiwan running out of toilet paper, for example, and reporters were obsessed with North Korean cheerleaders, Kim Jong-un's sister, and "garlic girls" this month in Korea. Treatment of Japan has been the worst, it's true; most people who study Japanese do so because of anime, and you can't have a Japan-related thread here without hearing about tentacles, people refusing to have children, body pillows, or World War II. But as someone currently living in the West who pays close attention to Asia and how it's covered, coverage of the whole region definitely favors the weird.

A big part of that is insecurity and ethnocentrism, a fear of admitting one's own weaknesses, and John Dower's book Embracing Defeat (about Japan immediately after WWII) spends some time talking about the transformation, in the American mind, from Japanese men being depicted as animals and savages during the war to being imagined as soft and effeminate. I suspect that still plays a role in how the region is imagined.

u/werewolfchow · 13 pointsr/AskHistorians

Ok two disclaimers: I'm working off of my course work from my degree in Japanese history and on my phone so I can't look up sources, but here goes:

Imperial Japan had developed a virtual cult of the emperor. That's why nobody surrendered until Hirohito's radio broadcast. Because of this worship and his agreement to acquiesce to terms set by the US, it was decided that leaving him as a figurehead would go further toward stabilizing and westernizing Japan, especially with the dangerous military leadership eliminated and US occupation a going concern.

edit: Ok, so I'm home now and I can get you a source. The book Embracing Defeat points out that during the meeting with MacArthur following the surrender, Hirohito expected to be deposed, but MacArthur and the provisional government decided that Japan would be easier to govern if they kept their emperor, who was also a religious leader as much as a dictator. In the end, Prime Minister Tojo and General Matsui took the blame for the emperor and killed themselves, and MacArthur left Hirohito in power, more or less.

u/Johnnyallstar · 13 pointsr/guns

>When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.

Chairman Mao

u/matts2 · 13 pointsr/AskHistorians

Easter Island cut down their trees. This meant they could no longer build boats for decent fishing and their food supply dropped. That and some nasty wars meant a big drop in population and so technology.

Japan gave up the gun in the 16th century. It was not a wholesale reversion of technology but it was a step backwards.

There are various particular technologies that have been lost. The Greeks and Romans had a universal joint, but it was mostly lost until the 16th century.

u/sixish · 12 pointsr/korea

This mostly lines up with what I know as well, as a heavy East Asian history student myself.

One thing I want to point out though is that Christian missionaries from the West came much much earlier than the 1800s, in fact, they were there in the 1500s. Francis Xavier, Marco Polo, and many other Portuguese and Spanish explorers/missionaries crossed over via South America and up through the Philippines. Random tidbit of information unrelated to this conflict is that they brought guns to the Japanese and the Japanese adopted them for use and as a nation abandoned them and implemented sakoku, a closed-country policy.

edit: I read about the guns being more advanced than the ones used in World War 1, but after some failed googling I can't find any sources to refute/support my claim. I am certain I read it in a book, perhaps one (1) of (2) these (3), but I am not sure. If you're really interested, I'll contact my professor and ask him which source it was because it's really a ridiculous fact.

u/pompeychimes · 12 pointsr/pics

They can and it is mentioned in Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. A lot of the factories there have been shut down during the famine so the pollution isn't what it was. It describes an (almost) romanticised depiction of walking around at night in pitch dark in areas that used to be bustling and developed. Such a strange mental image.

Highly recommend this book if you're curious about everyday life in North Korea.

u/Qatux · 11 pointsr/worldnews

Under The Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader by Bradley K. Martin has it all. A long but gripping read.

u/adamsw216 · 11 pointsr/Art

For Korea in general I took a lot of East Asian history courses, including courses on relations with the west, in college. I studied abroad in South Korea for a time where I studied Korean history (ancient and modern) as well as Korean culture and sociology (mostly South Korea). I also had the pleasure of speaking with someone from North Korea.
But if you're interested to know more, these are some sources I can personally recommend...


u/IphtashuFitz · 11 pointsr/worldnews

No need. If you go read books like Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea you'll learn that there's already a thriving underground North Korean population in China just outside of Korea. When the food and economic situations in North Korea started getting really bad in the 90's lots of North Koreans risked going to China for jobs. They, and the local Chinese, apparently got pretty good at hiding from the Chinese military & police who would occasionally show up and try to round up North Koreans to ship back home.

u/run85 · 10 pointsr/running

Don't be silly. First, there's no way that that tour company does a lot of good humanitarian work in NK because nothing can be done without the explicit approval of the state. Whatever money they think they're giving, and however many meals they think are going to the orphanage, are probably going to help mid-level cadres bribe their kids' way into Kim Il-Sung University. Of course that money is going straight to the NK government. The only reason they let tourists in is because tourists pay lots of money for the privilege of a sanitized tour of the nicest parts of Pyongyang, with bonus appearances by North Korean citizens who definitely, 100% were not placed there by the regime and do not have to report on you afterwards. I recommend you read the book 'Nothing to Envy' by Barbara Demick for a general idea of things.

u/baselganglia · 10 pointsr/worldnews

So it's ok to harvest their organs?

Edit: apparently folks are too blind. The references are right there:

CNN Report on Organ Harvesting in China

Ethan Gutmann, “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem”, (Prometheus Books, 2014)

The Peabody Awards, “Human Harvest:China’s Illegal Organ Trade (International Syndication)

Huang, Jiefu; Mao, Yilei; Millis, J Michael (2008). "Government policy and organ transplantation in China". The Lancet

VANDERKLIPPE, NATHAN (22 June 2016). "Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 February 2017

Joshua Keating, “China Says it will Stop Harvesting Organs from Executed Prisoners”,, 4 December 2014

u/sgdbw90 · 9 pointsr/todayilearned

Any who are interested in this stuff would love Simon Winchester's book on Krakatoa. The man makes the story come alive from both the personal and historical context of it all.

Also holy hell, it was heard on an island 3000 miles away. Imagine hearing something from New York while standing on the Santa Monica pier.

u/NoStaticAtAll · 9 pointsr/MapPorn

Not an expert by any means, but have read several books on the Korean penisula. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader is a book mostly about the Kim dynasty, but the first section of the book compares the two Koreas right after the war in an engaging way. Might be a place to start. Hope this helps.

u/Niekisch · 9 pointsr/CringeAnarchy

You're right, there are some really interesting-looking areas in Pyongyang, as well as some cool buildings like the Sci-Tech complex or the Great People's Study House. They're almost all concentrated in areas for tourists and Party employees though, and one thing you don't get from pictures is the rot. Everyone who visits North Korea says that even in the tourist areas there's constant signs of decay- stains in the carpets of government buildings, weeds overgrowing the sidewalk, broken lights, plumbing that doesn't work, constant power outages. In Brad Martin's book he describes being shown round a hospital, the staff proudly showing off their medical equipment... some of which was rusty, all of which was out-of-date. The city is a kind of cut-rate Potemkin village.

u/Udontlikecake · 9 pointsr/badhistory

First of all, let's try to be academic. That means no name calling. Also random capitalization doesn't do much.


I am not an expert, but I could link to experts (although searching for "Great Chinese Famine" in JSTOR gives you a lot of stuff!)

Here is one nice link

Have also heard go things about this book.

My understanding is mostly of Mao forcing people away from agricultural production, and towards iron, among other things. Also the very famous genocide of all of the birds, which resulted in a glut of pests that killed crops (a mainstay ecological case!). Also like the Irish famine, the government forced exports, which is obviously horrible.

Also: central planning lol

While I appreciate your study of primary sources, I would like to bring this back to my original post. China, like Turkey, has a habit of covering things up, and a vested interest in lying. Just try researching the Tiananmen Square Massacre! So any primary source documents (especially ones from the party and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY anything released for public consumption) is often highly inaccurate.

A big part of historical analysis is evaluating sources for their accuracy, their message, their audience, etc. Although i'm sure you know this, it is important to keep in mind.

u/Bigbysjackingfist · 9 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

These anecdotes are from Nothing to Envy, I believe.

u/Sixteenbit · 9 pointsr/history

John Dower's Embracing Defeat anwers these quesitons in a good amount of detail with an understanding of Japanese culture and perspective. It's a great read.

u/SublethalDose · 9 pointsr/japan

Embracing Defeat is about social, cultural, and political change in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. It may be too narrow in its focus if you're trying to quickly get an overview of all of Japanese history, but it's a fascinating read.

u/elbac14 · 8 pointsr/books

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. I can't explain why in just a few words but it is simply the best book I've ever read.

u/suby · 8 pointsr/atheism

I read the same thing. 99% sure I read it from the book nothing to envy.

It's a pretty good book.

u/motwist · 8 pointsr/books

I have an English degree, but I didn't read nonfiction until I graduated a few years ago. Here are the best I've read: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann, and Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl.

u/Monkeyavelli · 8 pointsr/worldnews

> Yet, how is it any different from those of you who suggest that life is better than death?

What the hell is wrong with you? North Koreans aren't some alien race, they're human beings who also don't want to die. Read memoirs from NK escapees like The Aquariums of Pyongyang or Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. I attended a talk by the man written about in Escape from Camp 14, a man born in a NK prison camp who managed to escape.

These are not people longing for death; they're people longing for life.

>Why do you feel that it is fair to use your own experiences in this life to determine the value of life for other people?

We're not. You are:

"We shouldn't let people starve to death."

"But how do we know they don't want to starve to death!?"

You have absolutely no idea at all what you're talking about, your opinion is idiotic, and you're an awful person for having it.

Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with you? I hate this false "all positions are equal, teach the controversy!" charade.

u/makebelievee · 8 pointsr/history

The Search for Modern China by Johnathan Spence is an excellent history of China from the 16th Century to 1989, with extensive coverage of Mao Zedong and the fallout of his rule.

u/t-o-k-u-m-e-i · 8 pointsr/japan

Well, what era are you interested in?

Hands down, the best English overview of the modern era available is A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon. If you want WWII and after, John Dower's War Without Mercy and Embracing Defeat are good places to start. Chalmers Johnson's MITI and the Japanese Miracle isn't fun reading but does a good job of explaining the post war economic boom.

I don't know of any single volume works that are good overviews of specifically the Edo/Tokugawa period. As far as more focused, intelectual histories go, I'm fond of Ooms' Tokugawa Ideology and Najita's Visions of Virtue in Tokugawa Japan

I have no recommendations for the Muromachi, Kamakura, Heian, Nara or Asuka periods. I don't study them and only know them in passing from survey courses.

Faris's Sacred Texts and Burried Treasures does a good job of teaching the controversy about ancient Japanese history, and the origins of the peoples on the islands.

I'm coming at this as someone who is working on a PhD in modern Japanese history right now, so some of these (Najita, Ooms, Faris, Johnson) might be heavier reading than you're looking for.

u/mjbelkin · 8 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm a historian by major but working outside the profession. That said, I don't often post here but when I do, I hope I'm writing within the rules. Apologies in advance.

What OP is refering to is Historiography . The rest of the question depends completely on what you're reading/watching etc. If you're reading scholarly publications typically bias level is very low. If you're watching a documentary on any cable channel you need to be much more aware. One of the first things you're taught is to examine the source of the information and intent of the author.

The end goal of creating original historical scholarly work would be a product with as little bias (exaggerations and hearsay) as possible. I say as little because Historiography tells us it's impossible to create work completely free of bias.

It's impossible to remove our understanding and experience from the material because we use everything as context. If this is a subject that interests you I would highly recommend reading Orientalism by Edward Said. It's focus is the idea of our understanding of anything (person, event, time period, etc) is formulated based on our own culture.

I recognize linking wikipedia isn't a great thing to do in this sub however, I felt it appropriate to the topic.

u/arrjayjee · 8 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'd like to take a moment to plug Hiroshima by John Hersey, which deals with first-hand accounts of survivors of Hiroshima. It does touch on reactions from the general populace but mostly follows a handful of survivors in the aftermath of the attack and what happened to them decades later. One of the best books I've read in recent years and a must for anybody remotely interested.

Sorry if this sort of thing isn't explicitly permitted but it's a great book I thought would be relevant to anyone interested in this question.

u/Axana · 7 pointsr/TrueReddit

There's an interesting passage in the book Nothing to Envy about the fertilizer shortages. Since North Korea can't afford to buy or produce fertilizer, they use human shit to fertilize their farms. To obtain this fertilizer, the government instituted a poop quota for each neighborhood block. Basically this meant that after you finished your business, you deposited your poop into specially designated buckets. The government would then collect the buckets and distribute them to the farms. If your block didn't meet the quota, then everyone in the block would get in trouble.

u/Lurkess · 7 pointsr/todayilearned
u/mannoroth0913 · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

Another fantastic book that recounts stories of survivors is "Hiroshima" by John Hersey.

u/Domwashburn · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

Amazon is wonderful.

Hiroshima by John Hersey

u/evolsdogdogho · 7 pointsr/samharris

When people talk about "genocide" in the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China (PRC) (and I use quotation marks to distance myself from the debate of whether these atrocities were technically genocides, not to take a position in that debate), they generally refer to two types of state-driven killing: man-made famines and political violence.

For man-made famines, look into the Holodomer in the Soviet Union ( and the Great Leap Forward in the PRC ( For the political violence, learn about labor camps (gulags) in the Soviet Union ( and the Cultural Revolution in the PRC (

Even after accounting for Western bias, it's completely fair to say that communism killed more people in the 20th century than Hitler did (I say this with the caveat that I am much more familiar with the case of China than of the Soviet Union). Here's my argument for why violent atrocities should be attributed as an inherent feature of Marxist thought after a fair amount of study of the PRC:

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx argues per his material dialecticism that persons are made by their relationship to the means of production and that all the suffering of the nineteenth century was due to changes in the relationship of society to the means of production by the creation of a new category of person: the bourgeoisie. Marx's solution to economic problems was both that 1) bourgeoise persons must be eliminated and that 2) the possibility of bourgeoise persons must be eliminated. The leaders of the Soviet Union and of the PRC took these arguments very seriously. The policies that led to the Holodomer famine and the the Great Leap Forward famines were the direct result of Communist leadership attempting to reformulate society in such away that the bourgeoise person becomes impossible. Political violence was intended to either eliminate or reform bourgeoise persons.

Communism and leftist thinking generally leads to violence because it places the sanctity of a set of ideas above the sanctity of life. These are foundational to Marxist thought and not much can be rescued from it without accepting an intellectual path that ultimately justifies innumerable forms of violence in pursuit of the end of violence.

u/trudeauisapussy · 7 pointsr/canada

>Are we finally calling the country with no environmental enforcement, that chops peoples heads off in public squares, and shits on womens rights "dirty" . I can't believe my eyes.

Clearly not. We still deal with China and they are guilty of all of the above minus public head chops, but can substitute that for mobile execution vans that kills you and butchers you for your organs on the go. (

China has concentration camps

China kills and butchers political dissidents regularly

China kidnaps people world wide including prominent people like the head of Interpol, not a peep in the media (especially nothing like kashoggi)

Kidnaps Americans no problem

Bans Winnie the Pooh for looking like their glorious leader

China electroshocks and tortures gays

And even after all that our lovely leader who claims he's a champion for LGBQT rights and humans rights still deals with them even takes bribes to line his own pockets and panics when questioned ( (even famously denied questions when asked 18x about it , hell the guy even was caught praising their dictatorship.(

All this focus on Saudis and not equally on China should tell you some nefarious is going on.

u/LurkeyLurkason · 7 pointsr/pics

Anyone with any interest in the real North Korea should read this

Very Interesting and it shows just how bad it really is.

worth a watch too

u/One_Catholic · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians
u/omaca · 6 pointsr/history

I'm going to be lazy and simply repost a post of mine from a year ago. :)

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes is a well deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A combination of history, science and biography and so very well written.

A few of my favourite biographies include the magisterial, and also Pulitzer Prize winning, Peter the Great by Robert Massie. He also wrote the wonderful Dreadnaught on the naval arms race between Britain and Germany just prior to WWI (a lot more interesting than it sounds!). Christopher Hibbert was one of the UK's much loved historians and biographers and amongst his many works his biography Queen Victoria - A Personal History is one of his best. Finally, perhaps my favourite biography of all is Everitt's Cicero - The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician. This man was at the centre of the Fall of the Roman Republic; and indeed fell along with it.

Speaking of which, Rubicon - The Last Years of the Roman Republic is a recent and deserved best-seller on this fascinating period. Holland writes well and gives a great overview of the events, men (and women!) and unavoidable wars that accompanied the fall of the Republic, or the rise of the Empire (depending upon your perspective). :) Holland's Persian Fire on the Greco-Persian Wars (think Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes! Think of the Movie 300, if you must) is equally gripping.

Perhaps my favourite history book, or series, of all is Shelby Foote's magisterial trilogy on the American Civil War The Civil War - A Narrative. Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read.

If, like me, you're interested in teh history of Africa, start at the very beginning with The Wisdom of the Bones by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman (both famous paleoanthropologists). Whilst not the very latest in recent studies (nothing on Homo floresiensis for example), it is still perhaps the best introduction to human evolution available. Certainly the best I've come across. Then check out Africa - Biography of a Continent. Finish with the two masterpieces The Scramble for Africa on how European colonialism planted the seeds of the "dark continents" woes ever since, and The Washing of the Spears, a gripping history of the Anglo-Zulu wars of the 1870's. If you ever saw the movie Rorke's Drift or Zulu!, you will love this book.

Hopkirk's The Great Game - The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia teaches us that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I should imagine that's enough to keep you going for the moment. I have plenty more suggestions if you want. :)

u/CannibalHolocaust · 6 pointsr/worldnews

I was reading the Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 and it talked about how the American government was promoting a jihad against communism in Central Asia and paid to have Qurans translated into Uzbek and giving arms to radicals in the hope of triggering an anti-Soviet jihadi movement in the region. It's mentioned in this article as well:

>It did not have to be this way. Western intelligence during the Cold War always saw the region as poised for revolt, a potential dagger aimed at the heart of the "evil empire." During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA had copies of the Koran translated into Uzbek and smuggled across the border in the hopes of starting an anti-Soviet jihad among the USSR's Muslims.

u/KingRobotPrince · 6 pointsr/CringeAnarchy

In case anyone is interested, this image is featured in the book The Slaughter.

>The inside story of China's organ transplant business and its macabre connection with internment camps and killing fields for arrested dissidents, especially the adherents of Falun Gong.

It's a really interesting book.

u/whiteskwirl2 · 6 pointsr/worldnews
u/filibusterdouglas · 6 pointsr/circlebroke

Yeah I didn't really have a clue about how it was in North Korea until reading this book. As an american who has never gone more than two days without food, it was hard for me to even imagine what they went (and go) through. Thanks for the link

u/bearhat808 · 6 pointsr/conspiracy

The defector in Escape from Camp 14 recanted parts of his story.

I recommend reading Nothing to Envy instead, which is about daily life in North Korea.

u/OptimusPrune · 6 pointsr/worldnews

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick, is an excellent if disturbing read if you're really interested.

Nothing to Envy

u/Combaticus2000 · 6 pointsr/malefashionadvice

"Orientalism" By Edward Said, professor of Comparative Literature in Columbia University

u/agentdcf · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians

If you're interested in a book that examines HOW Foucault's ideas work and their relationships to the writing of history, I'd suggest Mark Poster's [*Foucault, Marxism and History*]( He argues that Foucault marked a fundamental shift in the writing of history and the construction of historical analysis and narrative because Foucault reoriented the focus away from the (Marxian) laboring subject, and toward the discourse, the ways of knowing and communicating that shape human experience and through which power flows. I don't recall his precise language, but the phrase that stuck with me was something like "The forces that govern us are not visible at the level of the subject." In other words, for Marx, and for so many historians before and since, if you wanted to understand change over time, you look at people: their experience as an "objective" thing, and their responses to those experiences.

So, in a Marxian account of historical change, you'd look at the material conditions of people in a society and then attach their actions to those material experiences. Say, for example, you study the condition of the working classes in Britain in the mid-19th century, and you find that they're terrible because their wages are low. When those same people develop class consciousness, organize into trade unions, have strikes, organize a Labour party, and so on, then you have an essentially Marxian, laboring-subject focused history. Foucault would argue, however, that because of the mutually constitutive nature of power and knowledge, we have to look not to the apparently objective experience of certain historical subjects, but rather to the discursive field that serves as the medium for communicating and effecting power. Power for Foucault is therefore diffuse, spread throughout society, and not visible in the actions of any single person or even necessarily in a single group.

Now, if you want to see this idea applied more broadly, let me suggest a couple, in different areas. A really important, well-known example of Foucauldian analysis is Ann Stoler's Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power, in which the author examines colonial power and sex in Southeast Asia. The idea is to understand how the discussion of sexuality, race, and gender, by and through the colonial state, shape the way that power relationships are constituted.

Edward Said's Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism both deal with imperialism as a discursive construction.

A final example, right in line with Stoler and Said, would be Ann McClintock's Imperial Leather.

u/vonmonologue · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

> Germany and America were at Total war during ww2 and yet the Americans didn't indiscriminately kill civilians, did they?

Yes, they did.

>And it's also not the reason why the Japanese chose to kill the Chinese so freely. The Japanese killed the Chinese for the same reasons the Germans were killing Jews. Ethnic cleansing. Japan thought of Asia as their realm. The same way Germany saw Europe as rightfully theirs.

That's not wholly accurate. According to The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, the Japanese mindset was that they were the nation most capable of Protecting Asia against Western Imperialism, and they had spent the last several decades preparing to do so. They were playing the part of heroes in their own minds. Part of what they needed to do, however, was Annex china (who at the time were an ass-backwards almost pre-industrial nation) because China has/had some of the best farmlands in the world. Japan's official line was that they would better be able to utilize China's farmlands, since the Chinese were nearly a century behind Japan in development at the time and were portrayed as useless idiots. Also, it would help them grow their Japanese Empire to keep Asia safe from the west. Because Japan didn't want European empires in their backyard.

So the propaganda gets a bit out of hand, everyone gets riled up, and next thing you know you have Japanese officers engaging in contests to see who can execute 100 Chinese civilians the fastest with Katanas and raping women before tearing their unborn infants from their still-living bodies with bayonet points.

Because hey, the Chinese were inferior and were subhuman, right? lower than dogs. That's why they had to invade China! To protect them.

u/-tutu- · 5 pointsr/geology

I really like Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms or any book by Richard Fortey, really if paleontology and the biological history of the earth is interesting to you.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded is also great, especially if you like volcanoes. And sort of similarly is Eruptions that Shook the World.

I also second The Seashell on the Mountaintop that /u/ap0s suggested. It's very good!

u/SuperAngryGuy · 5 pointsr/IAmA

Can you please give a general sense of how the South Koreans feel about the North Korean nuclear and missile issue? I imagine being under the US nuclear umbrella lessens the impact of N Korea's activities.

As a quick plug to Redditors interested about N Korea, get this book.

u/fojiaotu · 5 pointsr/China

This book is banned in China.

Why do you think that is?

u/keck314 · 5 pointsr/IAmA

Yeah, parent is entirely untrue. In fact, many of their TVs are Chinese and Japanese, which are then modified by the telecommunications bureau to only receive government stations. As you might expect, hacking them back to full functionality is a time-honored pastime.

This book describes the phenomenon, and is generally excellent. It even describes what happened when an NKer got their hands on a copy of 1984!

u/STATINGTHEOBVIOUS333 · 5 pointsr/MilitaryPorn

NK has changed a lot. People understand that they are left behind.

u/chaircrow · 5 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Nothing to Envy is good. Disturbing as hell, though, so be prepared.

u/bakedpatato · 5 pointsr/NorthKoreaNews

obviously the numbers aren't 100% accurate but the comment is reasonable per this book

u/jaywalker1982 · 5 pointsr/MorbidReality

I encourage, as always, everyone pick up The Aquariums of Pyongyang , Escape from Camp 14 , as well as Nothing To Envy as u/winginit21 mentioned.

Also David Hawk's The Hidden Gulag:Second Edition is a great resource. (PDF File)

u/zerrt · 5 pointsr/IAmA

For number 3, here are some good books that will go a long way to answering this question:

Nothing to Envy (stories of ordinary citizens who eventually fled)

Escape from Camp 14 (this one is about a prisoner camp inmate who escaped)

The short answer is that many people are starting to (illegally) cross between the border of North Korea and China to trade, as well as escaping permanently. There are smuggling businesses that you can hire to get you or a loved one out. If you have the money, this will involve a fake passport and even a plane flight all the way to South Korea. If you are poor, the trip is much more harrowing and dangerous.

The amount of people defecting seems to be growing by quite a bit each year.

u/egjeg · 5 pointsr/ChineseHistory

There's a good audio course called Yao to Mao. I like this because it was easy to listen to while travelling around China.

My favourite comprehensive history book is The search for modern china

u/laofmoonster · 5 pointsr/new_right

Excuse my ignorance, but what does this have to do with the subreddit? Not that it isn't interesting; I just finished Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II and recommend it.

u/maineblackbear · 5 pointsr/worldnews

John Dower has an excellent account of American patronage of Japanese comfort women (with full knowledge and approval of both US top brass as well as Japanese civilian authority). The reason? The comfort women's souls were already ruined, so lets keep using them instead of Americans wading into the general population with all its attendant consequences. Both American military and Japanese civilian authorities agreed with this exact line of reasoning.

u/InhLaba · 5 pointsr/booksuggestions

Some nonfiction books I enjoyed that came to mind:

u/IMjust · 5 pointsr/China

Indeed its old and comes from this book by F. Dikotter. The author did manage to access provincial CCP archives, the central one is closed still. After his book China is less into letting foreign researchers seek sensitive sources.

u/iwouldnotdig · 5 pointsr/changemyview

>I've seen this claim a lot, "Communism killed 1xx Million people" on various right-wing plattforms or published by right-wing outlets.

I believe what you meant to say was "in all the serious scholarly work that's been done on the subject."

>And let's also asume that every country today operates under capitalism.

Why would you assume that?

>Under those conditions, preventable deaths in form of dying from hunger (around 8 million) dying of thirst (no decicive number, 1 million was the low end of estimations, so let's go with that) or dying of easily preventable diseases (Again, not a clear number can be found obviously, but the low-end was a couple of millions) should be applied to the current ruling system, just like famines in the USSR and China count towards the death toll of communism.

Well, not exactly. First, your number for modern famine deaths is wildly exagerated. And every modern famine has been the result not of capitalism, but of governments actively trying to starve certain groups of people, which certainly can't be blamed on capitalism. Second, that 100 million figure includes people actively starved to death by communist policies and deliberate murders. It does NOT include people who died from diseases that could have been cured had the people in those societies been wealthier. if you're going to measure people who died incidentally, then you have to include incidental deaths in communist systems as well, and since GDP per capita and life expectancy are strongly correlated, and communist countries substantially underperformed economically, that makes the communist toll even more enormous.

>There is more than enough food, water and medicine for all these deaths to be prevented, I wouldn't count these deaths if there was just not enough for everybody

Why not? A system that doesn't produce enough to feed everyone is a bad system.

>- These people don't have access to said thing because of the mechanics of capitalism (Which is to say: They don't have money to buy said things)

Again, this is not an accurate description of famines in modern times.

>And if you argue that way, than communism improved things too. If the death toll of one ideology is counted from begining to finish, why not the other one?

You should count both, of course, and then compare the two. ANd when you do that, communism comes off much, much worse.

u/petermal67 · 5 pointsr/worldnews

I had not heard of that site before, I'll check it out though. I've spent the last few years studying the history of the middle east. If you're interested, the following books are pretty solid:

u/meesan · 4 pointsr/india

Related Wallpaper.

Ancient Ages (BC)

You can actually pick up any history book and see that every ancient civilization reached a zenith beyond which it stopped growing and evolving, becoming complacent in its agrarian economy and eventually becoming a target of invaders who repeated the cycle.

Example: Egyptians, Assyrians, Indus (not much is known as facts, several theories exist), Greeks, (Western) Roman Empire - was destroyed by Huns under Atilla and later invaders, the Muslim/Caliphate/Arabian empire was almost destroyed by Tataric Invasion aka Mongolian Invasion (Mongols under Genghis Khan) etc.

Medieval Ages (5th -15th century AD)

Only in the later Medieval Ages and the Renaissance, when transport and trade became the lifeblood of empires, civilizations no longer were bound by the fertility of their lands. Other factors became the culprit, at the ending years of the Medieval Ages, for the fall of the other kingdoms and empires.

Political instability, unchecked feudalism, scientific stagnation, social collapse, religious-social taboos and might I add arrogant narrowmindedness (as well as the murder of the scientific spirit) were the primary evils which led to the downfall of non-western empires.

Imho, if you want to understand why eastern empires lagged in science and technology, read up on late medieval middle east/arabia and the fall of the caliphate. They were the direct connection to the Indian subcontinent from Europe and their collapse left us disconnected, even isolated.

Industrial Age (1760-1840)

China was efficient enough in the early days of industrialization to not need to industrialize. The same way one can hire cooks and cleaners to keep up their housework, in India, instead of relying on (initially) costlier home and cooking appliances, as in the 1st world nations. It is called Equilibrium Trap.

Japan instead had the Meiji Restoration, under which the Emperor consolidated his power, had an eye-opening encounter with Americans and embraced foreign technology and science to keep up with the world, in 1868. Before that Japan too was regressing in science and technology and blind superiority complex.

Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879 should be an interesting read. I've only skimmed first few chapters of it. I found this on my professor's desk while waiting for some appointment.

While (foreign) science was either taboo, dismissed or outlawed by other Asian empires. The first printing press was made in 1468, by Gutenberg while it was instantly outlawed by the clergy in the Ottoman empire, claiming it to be a sin invented by infidels, and was finally allowed in 1727, for non-religious books. The Muslim caliphate/empire had begun it's slow downfall in education and science with the Sacking of Baghdad, by the Mongols, in which entire libraries were set on fire. Countless information was lost in handwritten unduplicable books, many of which were the only copies.

Hard work is also in Agrarian economies but, Industrial Work Ethic and Scientific Revolution missed by the other Asian empires have had given them a slower lifestyle.

Sorry, you'll have to look up and see the articles and books for yourself. Remember to read books written by a western author or sources on eastern nations with caution as they are biased and corrupt recorded history, at times. Same goes for eastern writers, who might be oblivious to their own biases.

u/McWaddle · 4 pointsr/history

Not an expert but I've a couple of good reads for you:

The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori by Mark Ravina

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert Bix

This one is in my backlog:

Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore Cook

u/bokononon · 4 pointsr/history

Upvoted. The Great Game is a page-turning winner's version whirlwind tour of the geopolitics of the 1800s. It's also my number 1.

Reay Tannahill's "Food in History" is completely different but also very very good. She's cobbled together a lively survey of diets through the ages. When you've finished this book, you'll have accidentally learned what happened, who did it and in what order - while you were distracted by recipes, bad and weird.

For historic, hilarious and educational fiction, go for "Flashman and the Redskins" to begin with. (If you like it, I'd go for "Flashman at The Charge" next and then his version of the "Great Game".)

u/pdxmph · 4 pointsr/

> only the afghan mujahideen were supported by the U.S. the 'afghan arabs' never got a dime from the U.S.

You need to read Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and perhaps get some perspective on what a meaningless assertion that is.

For one, The U.S. did quite a bit of operating through proxies in the region, who were very indiscriminate regarding who they sold to. Aid took the form not only of direct cash disbursements, but discounts on arms. Trying to claim bookkeeping technicalities is like saying you didn't spend your grocery money on the lottery ticket because you actually spent your laundry money.

Second, the leadership in the U.S. most certainly did prefer any sort of Islam over Soviet communism. William Casey, director of the CIA at the time, sold U.S. involvement in Afghanistan on the premise that Christians owed support to fellow "religions of the Book" over atheists.

u/Yourpronouniscunt · 4 pointsr/politics

China is already #1 at being shit.

Has anyone ever actually taken a qualitative look at China? If you want to over-simplify things and say that the founders of America created this country in the image of Liberty, then you would oversimplify China by saying that it's founders set out to create a country in the image of a Dumpster fire.

Most people who harbor opinions about China do so with relatively little knowledge of what China is actually like, or what happens inside of it. I am by no means an expert, but I implore anyone who sees this to investigate some of the points I have to offer.

China's rising military strength correlates to the advent of their naval warfare programs. In prior decades, China had almost no ability to project their immense manpower due to their infrastructure, airforce, and navy all being shit. They love to tout their Aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (which in reality they should call the big soviet piece of shit mk2), which is basically a vaguely aircraft carrier shaped object. This is evident by the slant on the nose of the ship, which is a ramp that helps aircraft achieve flight. Modern cutting edge aircraft carriers utilize an on-deck catapult system to do this. This doesn't sound like a big distinction, but as far as aircraft carriers go, it's a sign of the logistical sophistication of the carrier. The Chinese have a single Carrier. It was manufactured by the Soviets (Because the Chinese are currently still too stupid to do it themselves), and it's a piece of shit that uses diesel engines and has pretty much none of the logistical features of a modern aircraft carrier. It is more accurate to say that it is an Aircraft carrier shaped object.

Even the Russian navy is shit. They have the Big Soviet Piece of Shit Mk1. The Admiral Kuznetsov. Which also is the only carrier in the entire Russian navy, and is also pathetic and infamous for constantly breaking down. There is a tugboat permanently attached to the vessel because it constantly needs to be towed back into port for repairs.

The Chinese economy is only strong because the CCP games the system like it's a pinball machine. This has served them well for awhile, and while I am not an economist, it is an untenable system which is going to catch up with them. Most of China's economy is based on real-estate development, arranged via collusion between local party members, and developers looking to seize property and develop vast housing complexes that are useless in practice because they are half finished shells which conform to very specific bureaucratic standards. I'm not splitting hairs on this - the law is written in china in a very specific way in which developers are compensated according to specific criteria like number of floors etc etc. For a more comprehensive view of this, read up on Chinese Ghost Cities.

Also China has a vast population of political prisoners which runs into the tens of millions of people. They stand accused of crimes of conscience (IE: Political dissention, religious practices etc etc). The most aggressively oppressed group are Falun Gong practitioners which was pretty much like "Spiritual Yoga" that got big during the 1980s, and 1990s. There was a massive crackdown under Jiang Zemin (who interestingly came to power by being the most violent opponent to the Tienanmen Square protests, and well, we all know how that worked out) where he created a group called the "610 Office" which is (literally) the Gestapo of the Chinese government. It is a group of "police" whose number of operatives runs into the millions, and has a budget comparable to Chinas national defense budget. They have become kind of a ceremonial vestige of power that CCP members use in their vicious blood thirsty game-of-thrones style murdering of political opponents. Here's their handiwork:

Also as a fun fact, the 610 Office provides political prisoners to Chinese military hospitals whereupon the prisoners are harvested for their organs. There's a reason why the wait lists for transplants in China are so short.

So basically OP is correct technically. If you are interested in a technologically backwards shithole, whose economy is being hollowed out by rampant bureaucratic corruption, with a congress who uses game of thrones as a how-to manual for governance, which is being crushed under the jackboot of a gestapo that murders politicians and tortures yoga practitioners to death, and has the most efficient organ farming industry on earth - Then China might be the place for you.

u/DeathTorturer · 4 pointsr/videos

Check out the references section of that article.

Reference 1 cites this report, run by "International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China", the organization running the China Tribunal. Falun Gong.

Reference 2 is a book authored by Ethan Gutmann, the author of the report above.

Reference 3 is this very documentary. (Edit: No it's not, never mind.)

Reference 4 requires account creation, which I can't be bothered doing now.

Reference 5 is just an article about new organ donation regulations.

Reference 6 cites David Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann, the authors of the first report.

... You get the picture. I know it seems crazy, but all the sources I've found on this topic ultimately lead back to Falun Gong.

u/rockstaticx · 4 pointsr/worldnews

Yes, living in North Korea is like 1984 except everyone is starving. I highly recommend reading this book for more information.

If you live in the Western world, what you learn about North Korea is almost literally unbelievable.

u/trashpile · 4 pointsr/China

Jonathan Spence's Search for Modern China is a nice overview of recent-ish stuff. Spence's other works are also pretty fantastic.

u/ILikeAhDaCoochie · 4 pointsr/AskAnthropology
u/thingsbreak · 3 pointsr/geology

Are you interested in a particular aspect of geology?

Are you perhaps interested in sub/related disciplines? If so, I have some paleoclimate, geochemistry, etc. recommendations.

It might be blasphemy on this subreddit, but in a similar thread a ways back, a few people were really singing the praises of The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. I frankly found it to be more than a little boring, even taking Winchester's digression-heavy style into account.

I recently started Krakatoa (also by Winchester) and it seems a bit more like what I was hoping for.

"Light" geology reading is kind of a tough needle to thread, I think.

u/ImALittleCrackpot · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

It isn't a single survey, but Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 tells the story of that volcanic eruption and includes what amount to mini-courses in vulcanology, plate tectonics, the history of Indonesia, geology, and how Reuters was founded.

u/mindkiller317 · 3 pointsr/northkorea

They had to praise him when the bandages came off or they'd be thrown out of their housing or sent to a work camp. Also, those people were handpicked by the government for their loyalty and training in ideology. They knew it was being filmed. It was a free propaganda stunt for NK.

It's impossible to know how brainwashed the country is. The documents and testimonials that came out of the USSR after the fall attest to this. Many of them simply went along with the party line to survive, while others consciously (or sub consciously) produced a mixture of Soviet and civilian (for lack of a better term) culture that served to both keep the regime satisfied and fulfill their own societal and cultural needs. This could very well be happening in NK. We have no idea, but recent videos that have been smuggled out show unrest in the provinces. People are talking back to police, and there was the incident with the grafitti last month. Modified radios are also more widespread than once though, so outside news is getting in moreso than it was in the last few decades.

RansomIblis is right, the army is starving. They had been the most taken care of segment of the population until very recently. If they starve, everything falls apart. They will not shoot civilians if they see that they are no longer any better than the average citizen.

I'm glad that you're interested in the NK situation, but please do some more research beyond youtubes and online vids. Check out this book for a great education on the subject. It's big, but highly readable and enjoyable.

u/nicool · 3 pointsr/

Thanks for defending my comment Forensic and Rancmeat.

I was indeed being serious - life in North Korea truly sucks ass - and they do eat grass and all kinds of other horrible things (unless they are favoured enough to live in Pyongyang).

For anyone that is interested, check out this book . It is only one of many very interesting books about this country but probably the best and most insighful (although it might be a bit ambitious for those just starting to learn about this country).

I guess I'll also make a suggestion to some of the commenters on this page - don't blame the governement, the media and "them" (whoever them are) for not giving you the straight story about NK (and in general). If you take the time to read a little (like not not blogs, and the first paragraph of an article) you will learn some stuff. Sorry to be a preachy asshole - but some of the comments have just been brutal lately.

u/pretzelzetzel · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

I read it in Bradley K. Martin's book Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader. I can't get a page reference because I lent my copy to someone and God only knows where it is.

Most information available from North Korea is, unfortunately and by necessity, anecdotal. That being said, Martin has had almost unprecedented access to North Korea, both in terms of actual visits and in terms of defector interviews, the latter of which are featured extensively in this particular text. The point I made above I will now elabourate on slightly:

During the period when it had become clear that Kim Il-Sung intended to appoint a successor but when he had not yet made a choice, there were several men who considered themselves fit for the role. Most of them were high-ranking military officials who, like Kim the Elder himself, had earned popular credibility as anti-Japanese guerrilla fighters during the occupation and as military commanders during the Korean War. However, Kim was not about to entirely overlook his own offspring. Kim Jong-Il had no military experience and none of the charisma his father had in spades, but what he did have was political savvy. He had a certain leeway in his affairs anyway, being the son of the Great Leader, and he used it to buy gifts and flatter his father and other men in high positions. The more he did, the more his own position improved. He recognised the supreme vanity of his father and so, rather than present himself as the best candidate, he focused all his efforts on creating a nationwide cult of personality around Kim Il-Sung, alleging semidivine origins (which, as he knew, would only serve to further his own cause in the future when he himself led the nation). As part of the system of flattery which was in place around Kim Il-Sung, there were dispatches from the Party which would search through the countryside, in every small village, for pretty young girls (and I mean young. 12-16 years of age in many cases) whom they would abduct and spirit away to one of Kim's numerous mansions around the country. The family would, after wondering where their daughter could be, generally wind up receiving a note telling them their daughter had been chosen to join the [can't remember the name. It was an official organ of the military, something like Women's Auxiliary Service Corps] and was a hero of the perpetual revolution. The family would also, in fact, receive fairly substantial extra rations. The girls would eventually get too old and would then be married off to Party and military officials. This practice seems to have been widespread enough to be uncontroversial among defectors who would have been in a position to know about it.

And believe me, I know plenty about the RoK. Despite the truly incredible progress in the South since the War, there are, shockingly, people still in prison here who were arrested on suspicion of Communist sympathies in past decades, some as early as the 1940s.

u/NefariousNarwhal · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

It's pretty accurate, I just got through this book for a research project on North Korea.

One of the most disturbing passages in that whole book is one discussing the Pyongyang metro. There are no real passengers, there are people in proper attire who get on the train, ride it, and get off again. Over and over all day, its their job. According to the author he never even saw them take lunch breaks.

Also creepy was that North Korean children (at the time of the author's visit) were on a playground in Pyongyang, simply playing the same game over and over for any visitors. The lengths this regime goes for appearances is mind-blowing.

u/svenhoek86 · 3 pointsr/IAmA


It's considered the best book on North Korea and there is a reason. It's a very factual, in depth look into the country, but because of how fucked up that country is, it reads like a horror novel. I have never read a nonfiction book that got me hooked like that one did. It's a serious page turner.

u/justaddlithium · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

"Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" is the best book on North Korea that I've ever read. I'd say it's a good place to start.

North Korea was for a time the richer Korea. Here's a nice graph of their approximate GDP per capita.

u/kim_jong-un · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Here's a highly regarded book that has many hundreds of pages of interviews from defectors from the DPRK.

Personally, I prefer to shoot them.

u/arickp · 3 pointsr/videos

>Would anybody be able to tell me what North Korea is like? Not as a western tourist, but as an average citizen, privileged and favored or not.

No, sorry. It really is the "hermit kingdom." The closest you can get is watching interviews with defectors on YouTube, this AMA or reading Nothing to Envy.

u/TubePanic · 3 pointsr/italy

> Sugli imprenditori però non sarei così tranchant.

Non credo - se non altro, perche' prima dei Padani ci sono i gli imprenditori Cinesi.

E il Grana Padano lo vendi male in un paese dove la gente qualche anno fa crepava di fame per le strade. Source: Nothing to Envy di Barbara Demick

u/karlth · 3 pointsr/worldnews
u/fuhko · 3 pointsr/needadvice

So I recently graduated with a 3.0 GPA with a Biology degree. I'm two months out and I've still been having a tough time finding a job. I wanted to go into research but lab jobs are scarce.

However, I have been taking some classes at my local community college and I discovered that there are some programs that are relatively cheap to get into. For example, getting certified as an EMT only costs a few thousand dollars or so. This is a lot but if you save up, you might be able to afford it.

Basically if you can't get a job in your field, look into getting retrained cheaply, either in Community College or trade school or even military. You may not necessarily want to do this immediately but think about it.

And I absolutely second JBlitzen's advice:

> It would be beneficial, though, for you to start asking yourself what value you intend to create for others. And how your current path will help you to do so.

Essentially, figure out a plan on what you want to do with your current skills. Next, figure out a backup plan if it goes bad.

It definitely sucks to graduate knowing that you didn't do so well in college. I feel for you man, I'm pretty much in the same spot. Don't give up, don't get discouraged, lots of people have been in worse situations and have come out OK. Just read the book Scratch Beginnings or Nothing to Envy. In both stories, the protagnoists succeed in overcoming incredible odds to live a good life.

Figure out what your dreams are and keep going after them. I believe you can reach them. And no, I'm not just saying that.


Also, network! Get to know your teachers and make sure they like you so you have references!!! Show interest in your classes this last semester. You have no idea how important personal references are. Better yet, ask your teachers if they know of any jobs or have any job advice.

All job searching is personal. Employers want to hire people they know will do a good job. Hence the need for personal connections or references (At least someone though this guy was competent.) or demonstrating interest in a particular position. You're still in school so you still have a solid amount of opportunities to network.

Also, some hepful links

u/rawketscience · 3 pointsr/northkorea

I think the first point to consider is that The Orphan Master's Son should be read as a domestic drama, more along the lines of Nothing to Envy than any of the foreign-policy focused news and zomg-weird-pop-performance-footage that dominates this subreddit and /r/northkoreanews.

In that light, the Orphan Master's Son is a lovely, well-told story, and it was well-researched, but it's still clearly a second-hand impression of the country. It doesn't add to the outside world's stock of DPRK information; it just retells the tragedies already told by Shin Dong-hyuk and Kenji Fujimoto in a literary style.

Then too, there are places where the needs of the story subsume the reality on the ground. For example, the book entertains the notion that the state would promote just individual one actress its paragon of female virtue and one individual soldier as the paragon of male virtue. This is important to author's point about public and private identity and whether love also needs truth, but it's wholly out of step with the Kim regime's way of doing business. Kim Il Sung is the one god in North Korea, and the only permissible icons are his successors, and to a lesser extent, senior party politicians. Pop figures are disposable.

But The Orphan Master's Son is a good read. It would go high on my list of recommendations for someone who wants a starting point on the country but is scared of footnotes and foreign names. But if your DPRK obsession hinges more on predicting the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Zone, it won't give you much.

u/Triplanetary · 3 pointsr/socialism

>How does society deal with 50% unemployment? Do jobs themselves become goods or commodities?

There is precedent for this: North Korea. I read this book about day-to-day life in North Korea, and jobs do indeed end up getting traded and bartered between people. Obviously this is illegal, but it's a desperate situation there and people will take risks, not to mention the rampant bribery (since the officials themselves are often equally desperate).

u/Poulol · 3 pointsr/worldnews

They know plenty but trying to leave the country or having external media is illegal. It's not that easy for them to even escape because their families will be punished for it.

If you are interested in more North Korean Life I recommend this book

u/thelawsmithy · 3 pointsr/ColinsLastStand

For more, read: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea


Fascinating insight into the country.

u/jombiezebus · 3 pointsr/ChineseHistory

This is not biographical, but for anyone interested in the period, The Search For Modern China is worth mentioning.

u/FraudianSlip · 3 pointsr/ChineseHistory

Well, the Cambridge History of China is a great resource, but I don't know if you can find that in eBook form or not. Those tomes cover just about everything you'd need.

If you're interested in modern Chinese history, The Search for Modern China is an excellent book.

For the Song dynasty: The Age of Confucian Rule, and Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion. Just remember that the books can't cover everything, so occasionally they oversimply - particularly Kuhn's book and its overemphasis on Confucianism.

Oh, and one more recommendation for now: the Shi Ji (Records of the Grand Historian).

u/muzukashidesuyo · 3 pointsr/worldnews

I recommend reading "Embracing Defeat." It's really well done and goes into a lot of detail about what happened in Japan after the war.

u/Smoke_Me_When_i_Die · 3 pointsr/ShitLiberalsSay

John W. Dower explained this in-depth in Embracing Defeat. I didn't know about Douglas MacArthur's role in Japan after the war until I read this.

Also, the Wikipedia article even calls it the Occupation of Japan.

MacArthur was literally the Supreme Commander.

u/Xenoceratops · 3 pointsr/musictheory

>I know asian music = pentatonic scale

I would direct you to Edward Said's Orientalism.

u/kodheaven · 3 pointsr/IntellectualDarkWeb

Submission Statement: Probably most of us think of Japan as a modern, advanced country with a rich culture... Many may also think about manga, anime or video games. It’s likely that most of us have a very positive image of the Land of the Rising Sun. So much so that if they ask us about their history, we’ll mostly think about Geishas, ​​Samurai and perhaps the United States’ double nuclear attack. Perhaps we’ll think about Pearl Harbor. But do we really know how the Japanese Empire was? Do you know exactly what this meant for the Far East? Why do you think that the countries that Japan victimized, such as China and Korea, are still very sensitive about this issue?

Folks, during the decades of the 30s and 40s the Japanese Empire perpetrated some of the greatest atrocities in history against the life and dignity of human beings.

Related Recommended book by Jordan Peterson: The Rape of Nanking.

u/CivilBrocedure · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

"The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang. I had always known that the Japanese were ruthless during the 30s-40s, but this book was a tremendous eye opener on the absolute lawless bloodthirst of that era. A complete collapse of anything even resembling humanity.

u/dasreboot · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

dont forget, the japanese killed more people per hour then the germans managed at auswitz. They did it mostly with sword and bayonet.

source the rape of nanking

u/lowflash · 3 pointsr/history

Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey's Hiroshima is a gripping account of survirors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in the first year after the weapon's use. The first edition follows the survivors for the first year. A newer edition from 1985 covers the subjects in the ensuing decades.

Highly recommended!

u/DarthContinent · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

"Treatise on the Gods" by H. L. Mencken is great, studies religion and its origins and very matter-of-factly spells out how it has been used to obtain and maintain power over people. You might find a cheaper used copy on

If you're into WW2 stuff, there's "Tigers In The Mud", a story about the war from a German Tiger tank commander's perspective. Similarly there's "Hiroshima", tells about the bomb and its devastation from some different peoples' perspectives.

u/DenjinJ · 3 pointsr/YouShouldKnow

Lots, if you know where to look. I've had this book for 15-20 years now and it's about the same thing.

u/coinsinmyrocket · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm not as well briefied in Japanese domestic policy during either World War so I can't really answer your question on school policy, but as far as book recommendations about the Japanese homefront, I highly recommend Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore Cook.

u/st_gulik · 3 pointsr/history

Very weak article. If you're interested in this part of the world it would be criminal for you to not read, The Great Game, by Peter Hopkirk.

u/78fivealive · 3 pointsr/books

If you like that book, I highly recommend Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game. A page-turner history of that spy-vs-spy era.

u/MattKane · 3 pointsr/worldpolitics

We also printed Qu'rans in a multitude of languages to help inspire the mujahideen of the region. Steve Coll's book Ghost Wars is a great look at American covert action in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Amazon link

u/jotaroh · 2 pointsr/japan

>but the causes of the famine were very complex

Actually it was not that complex. Mao didn't care all that much about the peasants.

Frank Dikotter's book Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe lays it out pretty clearly.

For instance Mao continued the policy of international grain exports while he knew full well that there were millions starving.

Mao was quoted as saying in Shanghai in 1959: “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

u/RESERVA42 · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

There is a very interesting book called Giving Up the Gun by Noel Perrin. Read it if you like philosophy of technology.

u/DEAD_P1XL · 2 pointsr/mildlyinteresting

Kind of looks like Kanji Pict-o-Grafix by Michael Rowley. They have one for Kana as well. Very useful for beginners.

u/gramie · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

There's a book, called Pict-o-grafix that does the same thing for over 1,000 kanji.

u/mystimel · 2 pointsr/japan

I really loved this book: Kanji Pict-o-Graphix

I'm a very visual learner. This book isn't perfect, but it helps a lot with recognition and memorizing kanji that are related to each other.

u/rudster · 2 pointsr/videos

Yep, and there's already a book that's exactly her idea, for about 1000 Kanji:


But I agree, once you get past a few dozen easy ones, something like Heisig's idea is going to be much easier (and in any case the more absurd & obscene the story you create is, the easier to remember)

u/emloh · 2 pointsr/history

Japan At War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook offers great insight on the lives of ordinary Japanese citizens after the war and their feelings.

u/llordlloyd · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

The Japanese raised military units in their occupied territories, and I understand the Japanese-raised army was the basis of the resistance to the Dutch when they returned, so this is possible to some degree.

Some sources Link 1 Link 2. But these don't explain a great deal about the adaption of the 19th Century Japanese militaristic classes into their modern army. Sorry I can't specifically help here, perhaps someone
else can?

u/LaoBa · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

A must-read is The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945 by Jörg Friedrich

For five years during the Second World War, the Allies launched a trial and error bombing campaign against Germany's historical city landscape. Peaking in the war's final three months, it was the first air attack of its kind. Civilian dwellings were struck by-in today's terms-"weapons of mass destruction," with a total of 600,000 casualties, including 70,000 children.

In The Fire, historian Jörg Friedrich explores this crucial chapter in military and world history. Combining meticulous research with striking illustrations, Friedrich presents a vivid account of the saturation bombing, rendering in acute detail the annihilation of cities such as Dresden, the jewel of Germany's rich art and architectural heritage. He incorporates the personal stories and firsthand testimony of German civilians into his narrative, creating a macabre portrait of unimaginable suffering, horror, and grief, and he draws on official military documents to unravel the reasoning behind the strikes.

Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook is an oral history and contains harrowing descriptions of the bombardments on Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

u/SNXdirtybird · 2 pointsr/history

The "Great Game" period between the Russian and British Empires vying for supremacy in 19th century Central Asia. Really fascinating historical period complete with stories of amateur explorers, pathological fear of Russian encroachment on India, military incursions, domestic, colonial, and foreign politics, eccentric belief in "Empire", chance encounters on the road, psychopath kings and khans, etc. Surprising connections to events today and hammers home the dangers of engaging in Afghan affairs!

Here's the wikipedia for some info:

My favorite book on the subject:

u/chjones994 · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

I was gonna say Lost City of Z. There's The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia, which is supposed to be really good. Here's the first page, it definitely got my interest.

u/tunaman808 · 2 pointsr/AskAnAmerican

> Those governments and insurgents were supplied and trained by US as a part of the Great Game as the USSR supplied and trained their own groups and governments to advance their interests.

Yeah... I'm interested in the British Empire, especially in India, and read Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game, which is mostly about the UK-Russia's proxy war in Afghanistan. It's kind of amazing how little has changed in the area after a century.

u/DaManmohansingh · 2 pointsr/india

Am re-reading Steve Coll's, Ghost Wars The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001,....started 3 days ago, 400 pages down. ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING, like I am spellbound when I read it, forgetting the present entirely. Read it when it came out which was around 2005, was diggin through my library and picked this up. Forgot how awesome it is.

Ordered Private Empire, ExxonMobil & American Power by the same author, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. By Lawrence Wright are both pending delivery, so you can guess which I am moving onto next. After an Indian history binge last month, this month am into all things Mujahideen and AQ.

u/cojack22 · 2 pointsr/worldnews

>Yeah, so? Iran was undergoing a violent revolution to free itself from Americon tyranny. What's your point?

Since when were we talking about Iran. Were talking about Pakistan here.

>[citation needed]. To think that the CIA had no operatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the cold war is just beyond retarded! Really retarded. You-have-gotta-be-an- Americon retarded

That's not what I said. I said that the only way Pakistan would allow the CIA to fund the rebels fighting the soviets was if they were allowed to choose whom the money and weapons went too. If you'd like a source I'd suggest you go read this book. CIA agents were not allowed into Afghanistan or even near the border during the Soviet invasion due to fear that they would be caught by the Soviets.

Or any book on the subject for that mater, it's pretty obvious you don't really know the history.

You realize that by calling me an "Americon retard" you're being a racist by your own definition? Oh the irony.

>Hint: Bigotry against ethnic and national groups is also considered racism according to the UN, dipshit.

>Patently false considering we know the CIA was intimately and directly involved on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the radicalization programme.

Yes and they also had Korans funneled into areas of the Soviet Union to do exactly that. That does not mean that they physically had people on the ground handing out books... Seems odd that someone like your self would be for religious oppression.

>Also what makes you think there weren't CIA double agents inside the ISI?
[citation needed]

>Thanks for conceding on that point.

I'm most certainly not conceding to your point. If you can't even use respectful language your not even worth responding too.

u/SploonTheDude · 2 pointsr/worldnews

The government from Tiananmen is still in power today.

And for a small "cult" of peaceful meditation they certainly managed to convince a lot of people.

That's quite impressive considering the powerhouse of propaganda China is.

>even when Hong Kong had the umberalla movement which called for democracy and independence etc. no military or tanks rolled in, it was all Hong Kong police, same as occupy wall st. Deng Xiao ping is long dead.

The PRC would never have been dumb enough to invade a former british territory and murder them with so many US and British allies in the region, they would have started a bloody war that they would not have won.

> But keep spouting those talking points from decades ago.

Which is ironic considering....

>Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria etc

Iraq is already recovering and is relatively stable now, Libya was France and the UK as well, Yemen is solely Saudi Arabian interest and the US had no part in instigating the conflict and the US' involvement in Syria was limited to financing the FSA in 2011-12 and then supporting a secular democratic faction that hasn't attacked the government.

>44,000 bombs a year in 8 countries CURRENTLY

Mostly on DAESH, and the US doesn't bomb Yemen they sell weapons to the people who do nor is the US still involved in Libya. Sure there are civilians casualties like in Raqqa or Mosul but that is a sad result of war against genocidal maniacs.

>How many of those other UN countries is doing that right now?

R U S S I A.

Oh and France but they didn't do a very good job.

u/moto_eddy · 2 pointsr/sanfrancisco

> This is from 2006, and has since been debunked. Obviously a state guided tour isn't going to expose any wrong doing, they did the exact same thing for the "reeducation camps", and plenty of footage and first hand reports has debunked the CCP...This is after the CCP initially lied about these camps.

What has been debunked? Obviously? How convenient.

> Wiki is a great place to start.

This IS a great place to start. Wikipedia states:

>Reports on systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners first emerged in 2006, though the practice is thought by some to have started six years earlier. Several researchers—most notably Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former parliamentarian David Kilgour and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann—estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed to supply a lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers and that these abuses may be ongoing.[2] These conclusions are based on a combination of statistical analysis; interviews with former prisoners, medical authorities and public security agents; and circumstantial evidence, such as the large number of Falun Gong practitioners detained extrajudicially in China and the profits to be made from selling organs.

The citation is from a book not a real academic paper - a book that is sold for profit. Is what is in bold enough to convince you? Eyewitness testimony from mostly FG members who have a self-interest to lie and a so-called statistical analysis from a lawyer and a journalist making money from a book?

Forgive my skepticism but it’s literally the same type of “research” that was used in debunked works like “the Black book of communism” which is a pseudo-history book - 2/3 of the authors have since denounced. This type of propaganda: “statistical analysis” and eyewitness testimony has been used by western countries against countries that dissent against them since the early 1900s and so much of it has turned out to be false (20-100 million killed, rape dungeons in the USSR, various executions and crimes committed by NK and China). It’s always the same process. Never any hard evidence like say the holocaust or the 200k civilians killed by US supported South Korea’s bodo league massacre. It literally is always a "statistical analysis and eyewitness testimony".

>What are you talking about? There are tons of videos, are you even trying. mobsters beating people

What is it you think you see here? I see civilians attacking other civilians and a lot of chaos. It is really hard to see what is happening here or understand what is going on. I think it is important not to wrap preconceived narratives around what you are seeing. But lets say they are pro-Chinese civilians beating random civilians on a subway train. How does that mean that they are triads hired by the police?

>police sexual assault

The video does not seem to play in Chrome or Safari.

>and? Look at the twitter source...hilarious.

read it. The guy provides sources and it is organized well. Is that what you do? Attack the messenger so you only ingest news that supports your understanding of the world?

>Surely the US does not fund a handful of other things all over the world... UNHEARD OF

They are literally funded by the United States Department of State. You honestly believe that they give a shit about people in Hong Kong at all? I mean, the same country launched the middle east into never ending turmoil killing hundreds of thousands of people and launching them into a cycle of never ending poverty so much so that there are massive protests going on in Iraq right now against massive corruption and authoritarianism, social media shutdowns, and it hardly gets a fraction of the media coverage. It is everything you want to be true about China confirmed. Not a single confirmed death in the HK protests but 100s reported dead protesting in Iraq and I barely see a peep anywhere about it. Where are the protests here in SF in support of those people? Why aren't you campaigning on their behalf?

>It's a bit odd that you have posted blatantly biased links from the CCP, with little to no evidence behind any of them.

Why? Why wouldn't you read both sides? I do. Not doing so would be living in an echo chamber. FFS this is basic when trying to understand the world. You really don't think western media is insanely biased and often just fabricated? There are so many documented cases. But you just blindly trust one side?

>Hell, a wikipedia search or google search of half of them debunk whatever crazy conspiracy theories there are.

Oh neat words. I googled everything you said and it also debunks whatever you say. This is fun.

>Please review my videos and links from multiple sources

You clearly didn't read any of mine. Besides, I am embedded in your side - I am an American living in SF exposed to western media. You are just selling the same story that everyone else is here. Remember those weapons of mass destruction? Any day now.

>also fake protestor:

LOL and you criticize my twitter source? Its just a photo that expects you to believe some narrative. I bet this time we will find the Boston bomber for sure!

u/BucketsMcGaughey · 2 pointsr/travel

Utterly safe for you, yeah. Not so much for the people living there. I'm reading this at the minute, it's just jaw-dropping. I mean, we all know it's a shit life there, but it's far, far worse than I ever imagined. Really recommend the book.

u/mredd · 2 pointsr/worldpolitics

It's obvious to any observer that it was ethnic cleansing. In fact there are many articles and books written about this. A good one is The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe.

> Focusing primarily on Plan D (Dalet, in Hebrew), conceived on March 10, 1948, Pappe demonstrates how ethnic cleansing was not a circumstance of war, but rather a deliberate goal of combat for early Israeli military units led by David Ben-Gurion, whom Pappe labels the "architect of ethnic cleansing." The forced expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians between 1948-49, Pappe argues, was part of a long-standing Zionist plan to manufacture an ethnically pure Jewish state. Framing his argument with accepted international and UN definitions of ethnic cleansing, Pappe follows with an excruciatingly detailed account of Israeli military involvement in the demolition and depopulation of hundreds of villages, and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Arab inhabitants.

u/lngwstksgk · 2 pointsr/books
u/rocksinmyhead · 2 pointsr/geology
u/virak_john · 2 pointsr/funny

Some people did fairly okay.

Source: Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader

u/haddockcpt · 2 pointsr/northkorea

North Korea through the looking glass

This is one my favorite (below)
North Korea: Paranoid Peninsula, a modern history

Edit: if you can get this from a library, you should
Kim Dynasty

u/d3pd · 2 pointsr/lgbt

>Is it really tyranny if God can forgive anything?

I don't recognise his authority to pass judgement on me. He is a self-appointed adjudicator.

>He never spoke about homosexuality

This is simple cherry-picking. You're dismissing the disgraceful doctrines in Leviticus and accepting the absence of comment on the subject by someone for whom there is no evidence even of existence.

This is actually to your credit. I am not insulting you for being inconsistent, I am giving you credit for being better than the religion.

>I seem to find it a little hard as to how God could be elected. He created the universe

God claims to be in an ultimate position of being judge and jury of people, of whom he claims ownership, and implements eternal torture in a barbaric legal system with no appeals procedure. It is to this position he appoints himself. I do not recognise the right of anyone to hold such a position, especially if it is unelected and undemocratic.

Just as a parent cannot claim ownership of his child or torture it, creating something does not grant you sole judgement of it or ownership of it.

>I think of a dictator as a power-hungry individual who rules alone over a group of people against the interests of the people, and uses immoral tactics to retain power.

A dictator is a ruler who wields absolute authority. What you describe is closer to a tyrant. A dictator holds an extraordinary amount of personal power, especially the power to make laws without restraint by a legislative assembly. A dictator is inherently antidemocratic.

>God rules, for lack of a better word, over us as a benevolent Father

I don't see anything about the rule of God as benevolent and anyone can claim to be your "Father" -- remember Kim Il-sung?

>He acts so that we may benefit forever in Heaven, even sending Himself down as Jesus to die so that we can benefit.

This sounds either like an honour killing or the ravings of a madman.

Quite aside from the antiscientific practices of Christianity and the utter lack of evidence for its supernatural claims, the doctrine of Christianity promotes outrageous ethics and ancient, tribal ideas of retribution. It demands, under threat of torture, that we support the unelected dictatorship of God who has a disgraceful justice system of torture with no appeals procedure. Christianity is an expression of support for a permanent, unelected, unalterable, unquestionable dictatorship, capable of convicting thoughtcrime, demanding unending praise and worship under threat of violence and torture for an eternity after death. This dictatorship claims ownership of people. I do not recognise the right of anyone to own anyone else. This dictatorship is utter and it is horrifying. I don't want it and I don't respect anyone who does. It is a very good thing that there is no evidence for it.

u/arthur-righteous · 2 pointsr/history

I also really enjoyed Nothing to Envy.

I would add

'Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader' - Bradley K. Martin

u/K1774B · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

I've seen both documentaries mentioned above. Both are excellent.

If you have Netflix instant check out "National Geographic's Inside: North Korea." as well as "Seoul Train".

The latter isn't a joke and is probably the best documentary about NK on Netflix instant.
I just finished this book:

Its an excellent read into the daily lives of NK citizens told from the perspective of defectors.

Also HIGHLY recommended is this book:

It's not specifically about NK but Dom Jolly (Trigger Happy TV) travels there in this fantastic book. He offers a different, hilarious take on his experience in "The DPRK".

u/michigan85 · 2 pointsr/pics

Someone recommended this book to me about a month ago in /r/books . Just got it in the mail the other day. As soon as I finish up the book I'm reading now, I'll tackle this one.

u/officialjesus · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

if you're okay with pretty modern history, I recommend North Korea. the secretiveness about the country is fascinating.

For documentaries, i recommend National Geographic: Inside North Korea. there's also the Vice Guide to North Korea and I also personally like their documentary on North Korean work camps inside Russia. If you have netflix, there's also Kimjongilia and Crossing the Line.

As for books, I really liked Nothing to Envy:Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. It talks about the lives of several defectors mainly during the famine in the 90s and also talks about how their lives are now in South Korea. Right now i'm reading Escape from Camp 14
which is about a guy who escaped from one of North Korea's many prison camps.

With a lot of recent events, I think it's important to understand the history of the country. also, Korea under Japanese rule might be interesting to.

Good Luck :)

EDIT: spelling

u/juliebeen · 2 pointsr/books

Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy is awesome.

One of my favorite non-fiction books.

u/DiKetian · 2 pointsr/books

One of the best ones I've read recently was Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. It's amazing to see actual real life inside North Korea how people live and die, and why they defect (including one middle-aged woman who was practically tricked by her daughter into defecting).

u/skeeterbitten · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Botany of Desire. The title turned me off, but it's actually really interesting and my whole family has read and enjoyed it.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary lives in North Korea Serious stuff, but so fascinating.

Stumbling on Happiness. Fun read on human nature and happiness.

u/MrPisster · 2 pointsr/worldnews

"Nothing to Envy"

Good read if your into that stuff.

Also "Escape from Camp 14"

That one is less about ordinary citizen's lives and more about the modern day concentration camps the North Korean government is controlling.

u/Liquidator47 · 2 pointsr/pics

Ok fine, but where's even that coming from?

After reading this I don't assume that it could be easy.

u/jejuislander · 2 pointsr/korea

Upvote for this. The excellent Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick deals with this issue towards the end of the book. A good read.

u/inkWanderer · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

If you're looking for a more in-depth work, there's a fantastic book about six North Korean refugees who are mostly rehabilitated in Seoul now. Here's the link; I highly recommend it.

u/NigelLeisure · 2 pointsr/History_Bookclub

If you're looking for a book on life in NK I'd recommend Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.

u/Both_Of_Me · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon
u/Entropian · 2 pointsr/unpopularopinion

19th century is not today, and yet Hong Kong is a problem right now. The British signed 99-year ease for Hong Kong in 1898, thinking that 99 years basically means forever. Then in the 1980s, the Chinese actually came to the British with receipts, demanding Hong Kong back. Politics outlast people's lives. History outlasts people's lives.

Just because the CCP is fucking terrible doesn't mean that the opium wars were fake, and that everything the West did in China back then was hunky dory. There's a clear through line from Western imperialism to the collapse of Qing in 1911. Read a history book written by a British person if you so choose.

I can laugh at the West without condoning what the CCP is doing. It's possible.

u/pustak · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I would go with Jonathan Spence's Search for Modern China for, well, modern China.

For a good basic though not comprehensive read on American Indians maybe Daniel Richter's Facing East from Indian Country. For a taste of more modern, survival oriented Indian history I think I'd point people to James Clifford's chapter (in The Predicament of Culture) on the Mashpee Indian land suit in the 1970's.

u/Whitegook · 2 pointsr/China

To be fair there's some truth in what you are saying. Tibet was a tribute nation to various dynasties since something like the 14th century, however I don't think any of them directly controlled Tibet - and they especially did not control the Tibetan Buddhist religious organization (for better or worse). It was more like frequent symbolic gift giving and emperors asking lamas sometimes to give off good impressions to their people other times as a way to show face while receiving gifts. Source

u/thenwhatissoylentred · 2 pointsr/China

you should read some books! jonathan spence's search for modern china is a good broad introduction.

u/ScholarsStage · 2 pointsr/ChineseHistory

A book I would recommend looking at is Jonathan Spence's The Search For Modern China *, which is one of the best and most readable books that touches on every question you've asked. You can follow its foot notes for more material citations

u/fc3s · 2 pointsr/history

The Shame of the Cities by Lincoln Steffens. A muckraking book about urban corruption in the gilded age.

Embracing Defeat by John W. Dower. Insights into the American occupation of Post WWII Japan.

Homeward Bound by Elaine Tyler May. A close examination of American life during the Cold War era.

In Pharaoh's Army by Tobias Wolff. Absolutely fantastic first person account of the Vietnam War. Better even, than "The Things They Carried."

u/fotoford · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

John Dower's Embracing Defeat is about Japan and the US occupation in the years immediately following WW2.

u/When_Ducks_Attack · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

Embracing Defeat by John Dower is a fascinating look at what happened after WWII ended and the Americans occupied Japan, and how the people adjusted and adapted.

u/silouan · 2 pointsr/Christianity

My only experience is in Nepal, where Buddhism is just one of the unorthodox streams within the spectrum of ordinary spirituality. Nepali people think it's kind of funny how westerners feel the need to organize and label religion into a bunch of -Isms. (This is the sort of western bossiness Edward Said described in his classic book Orientalism.)

u/wanderingtroglodyte · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

We don't really proselytize, so you wouldn't be "sold" necessarily. Also, are you thinking of an academic primer or something more basic?

There's the [Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture] ( and Essential Judaism. Those are both pretty good books. Also, Chabad has an excellent and very informative website, though in person they're a bit too much for me.

On a tangential note, I highly recommend From Beirut to Jerusalem and Orientalism if you're interested in the Middle East.

NB: While I'm expecting to catch some flack for the idiot's guide link, it is basically an "Explain Like I'm Five" book series.

u/Motzlord · 2 pointsr/Switzerland

Racism is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior, or superior. (Wikipedia)

So for the first part you are right, but stereotypes are bigger than race, they go way beyond that. In a stereotype you can include all races, sexes, sexual orientations and what not, while a "race" is pretty narrow-minded. Btw, stereotypes are not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the way our brain handles stuff that is new to us. It happens everywhere as well, it's not just us rich Swiss judging evil foreigners, it goes both ways.

If you're interested, I'd recommend giving this a read: James G. Carrier - Occidentalism, Images of the West
and Edward Said - Orientalism

u/ChachaKirket · 2 pointsr/ABCDesis

Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven

Orientalism by Edward Said

The second one is not South Asia specific but rather how we are viewed in occidental intellectual traditions.

u/hobbes305 · 2 pointsr/news

>The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, by Iris Chang (2012)

u/master_dong · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

Read "The Rape of Nanking"... it goes into great detail about the psychology of the Japanese during the period.

u/ottoseesotto · 2 pointsr/JordanPeterson

This isn't exactly what you're after, but I have this in my queue thanks to Peterson's Book list.

"Rape of Nanking"

u/bannana · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

The Rape of Nanking seems fairly easy Here and Here, though I don't know about the Soldiers of the Sun

edit: also available
I will say my library doesn't have Soldiers of the Sun but does have Rape of Nanking.

u/Boredeidanmark · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Try this

It’s not about just the Bolsheviks, but this was a fascinating book on the vast murder that took place in Eastern Europe in the 30s and 40s. Wash it down with something happy, I made the mistake of reading it back-to-back with this and became pretty depressed for a few weeks.

u/Tootenbacher · 2 pointsr/The_Donald

I've just ordered Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men: Amazon

The Rape of Nanking: Amazon

FYI, I just provided links so you could look them up quickly - I don't have any Amazon affiliation or anything.

I should have waited to finalize my order, because now I want to buy the book you mentioned as well.

u/Adultophobe · 2 pointsr/HistoryPorn

There was another version with that title printed years ago, but the one I'm referring to is this one published in 2012.

It's pretty eye-opening.

u/endymion32 · 2 pointsr/history

This, really, is what you want. Hiroshima by John Hersey. Yes, you can read it online for free; I recommend you buy it from Amazon for 8 dollars, because then you'll also get the fascinating Afterward.

This is a real classic of American journalism. You follow the lives of six people who were all living in Hiroshima at the time: what their lives were like just before the bombing; what they were like for the next few minutes, for that morning, that day, and the days afterwards. The hard copy comes with an Afterward: Hersey went back to Japan 40 years later to follow up on all six survivors.

Strongly recommended.

u/Bobalobatobamos · 2 pointsr/BetterEveryLoop

I'd say they should read this book, but you'd have to get them to actually read.

u/science_diction · 2 pointsr/atheism

The last one isn't a "miracle" it's coincidence. There was a guy who was in Hiroshima hospital who just happened to duck down and tell himself to be brave when the bomb hit. The flames ripped the glasses off his face and burned the entire hallway, but he was unharmed due to DUMB LUCK. Was that a miracle? Is Buddha the real god now? Read the non-fiction account "Hiroshima" for more stories like that.

As far as Fatima goes, there have been dancing plague epidemics in Europe and many other examples of mass psychosis due to water contamination / etc. There have also been laughing epedemics and PLENTY of people who mistake high up atmospheric phenomenon like red sprites for UFOs.

u/disputing_stomach · 1 pointr/books

Simon Winchester is really good. I enjoyed Krakatoa and The Professor and the Madman.

u/caprimulgidae · 1 pointr/european

I'm a climate change skeptic; I should probably mention that off the bat.

But ecological disturbances (droughts, epidemics, etc.) often trigger mass migrations, which in turn trigger wars when people migrate somewhere where there are already people.

Interestingly, there's a fair amount of evidence that they can also trigger fundamentalist movements. In Krakatoa the author talks about how Islamic fundamentalism took off in Indonesia right after the famous volcano. A lot of people's lives had been completely destroyed and they were looking for something hard to hold onto.

u/ktappe · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Strongly recommended book if you want to learn more about Krakatoa.

u/Baron_Wobblyhorse · 1 pointr/books

Apologies if these have been posted already, but I'd highly recommend Simon Winchester's work, particularly The Professor and the Madmad and Krakatoa.

Well researched, well written and thoroughly enjoyable.

u/J0HNY0SS4RI4N · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

This might not be in the same vein, but check out Krakatoa by Simon Winchester. It's a book on the legendary volcano explosion in the late 19th century that temporarily disrupted global weather pattern in that year.

u/RepostFromLastMonth · 1 pointr/worldnews

Yes. The older generation that still remembers are in favor of unification, but the younger generations see them as another country, and a burden that they'd have to pay for (in an already highly competitive society). They see them as a massive amount of uneducated and brainwashed refugees they would have to pay for who would not fit into modern South Korean society.

North Koreans do escape and defect to the south. It is not an easy thing for them. They are looked down on by the South Koreans, and they are in a place where the language is different, their skills and credentials are no longer valid (I remember reading an interview with a girl who was a doctor in North Korea, but her credentials were not accepted by places in the South and she had to go back to school).

North Koreans who escape to the South are automatically granted citizenship. Right now, with a trickle of defectors, that is fine. But if the country fell, they would need to keep them sequestered in NK, and then deal with the North's disillusionment as they see how bad they are off compared to the South, and that they will likely never be able to have the lives that the South Koreans have achieved after reunification and the anger that will bring. The issue would reverberate long after, and it may only be the children or grandchildren of those from the North who will finally succeed in the South.

If you are interested in the history of North Korea, I highly recommend reading Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, which gives a very good and complete history of North Korea from its founding till the 1990's.

After that, I recommend Nothing to Envy, which is a collection of interviews following the lives of six North Korean defectors.

Other Books to read:

  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee--A Look Inside North Korea
  • This is Paradise!: My North Korean Childhood
  • The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia
  • The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea
u/freemanposse · 1 pointr/history

I used this book. You might look for it in your local library.

u/Blitzpull · 1 pointr/worldnews

What world do you live in? Seriously, I would really like to know what deluded fantasy that you live in where this kind of money goes back to the people. It doesn't. You think this tourism helps people, think its help them open their eyes? Well what happens then if their eyes are somehow magically opened by the tourists who they have little to no contact with. Its not like you can walk up to someone and start talking to them, or does somehow the sight of a foreigner open their eyes to over 60 years of continuous brainwashing? But say they are somehow magically opened, what then? They are stuck in a country where their neighbors would rat them out for a hint of dissent, and they and their entire family would be shipped off to concentration camps that would make the Nazis proud.

Are you so fucking naive to believe this actually helps the citizens? Every time we try to give aid to the North, we can't even get the simplest guarantee from them that they would go to the people. They can't even finish their own infrastructures without foreign help, and even if they finish the outside they don't even bother to work on the inside. The vast majority of their spending goes to the military, we know this for a fact, that's why they invest so heavily into nuclear weapons and they actually have been able to accomplish some things (albeit poorly).

Economic liberalization would be helpful to the North for a variety of reasons but this is all tightly controlled, regulated and run by the state. This is not some private enterprise of North Koreans, they are carefully, screened, chosen and watched by a state, whose only purpose is to keep itself afloat and to keep its top people rich off the backs of its own citizens. But this tourism is stupid, especially when people come back with these misguided ideas of "Oh it doesn't look so bad". To think that this benefits anyone other than the state is a complete delusion. If you actually want to learn something about North Korea I would reccomend those books.

u/thompsonforsheriff70 · 1 pointr/northkorea

Sorry, wish I could answer your questions but I just found the post on Imgur and put it up. I did live in South Korea myself for the last 3 years as an ESL teacher and had a chance to visit the DMZ between the two countries, did a lot of research as well because I find it so fascinating and tragic that a place like the North can actually exist today. I think the answer to a lot of those questions you asked can be found in the VICE doc. There's one called "Mass Games" that is excellent as well. If you're interested in how the whole cult of personality/communist Kim succession thing took root, the book "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" by an American journalist who has visited DPRK several times is excellent.
From what I understand, you see only what they want you to see, you ask only certain questions and get only certain responses. It's all a dog-and-pony show. Korean food is pretty decent, and almost every guy on the peninsula over the age of 16 smokes like a chimney. Hope this info helps!

u/sfasu77 · 1 pointr/WTF

If you guys want to educate yourselves on this fascinating hermit state, read this:

BTW.. he just sentenced his family to death or best case, a life of hard labor.

u/HakanAzeri · 1 pointr/China

As a Sinology graduate, I thoroughly recommend anything by Frank Dikotter.

He's essentially one of the leading authorities on the PRC's history.

Another recommendation would be Yang Jisheng's excellent investigative work, "Tombstone":

So far, the only non-horrifically biased media work that I can think of that portrays China during WWII would be 《南京!南京!》by Lu Chuan.

u/rcmurphy · 1 pointr/books

Red Sorghum by Mo Yan - brutal Marquez-esque magical realism during WWII-era China.

Captains of the Sands by Jorge Amado - a gang of children and adolescents run rampant on the streets of Bahia, Brazil.

Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui - a really odd novel involving machines that can invade people's dreams. Very weird and fun.

Tombstone by Yeng Jisheng - the most thorough and brutal account you'll ever read of the Chinese Famine of 1958-62. Much talk of cannibalism and insect-nutrition charts.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho - it's both a collection of haiku by one of the medium's acknowledged masters and an idiosyncratic travel narrative of 1600s Japan.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - a great first Marquez to recommend to people who don't yet want to take the One Hundred Years of Solitude plunge.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - one of the few books I've read more than twice.

The Notebook, The Proof, and The Third Lie by Agota Kristof - a trilogy of short novels about distance and isolation in Europe during and after World War II. The three books form a narrative that contradicts itself, doubles back and retells events, and generally messes with your head until you're not sure what to believe.

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino - my favorite of Calvino's works. This is a collection of short stories about and narrated by heavenly bodies, mathematical formulae, supreme beings. They're basically cosmic fairy tales.

u/thrillmatic · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

The Mao system resulted in a genocide of a generation of peasants.

u/chiliman411 · 1 pointr/SargonofAkkad

During the great Chinese famine, China did the opposite of this. They would send farmers to dig canals and trenches, or to go work in steel mills, resulting in a loss of food production.

This will not have a positive effect. Sending people that have no knowledge of farming to work farms will be minimally efficient. While also reducing the efficiency of the industries that these people already have a specific skill set for. Even if the government instructs people on how to work the farms, odds are the government will not give correct instructions. And once again I refer back to the Great Chinese famine, where the government created the inefficiencies.

This is what happened in China, "ohh you have this crop growing food, well this isn't the crop we wanted. Plow the field again and plant this instead." Then they act surprised when no food grows.

See this book, Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962

u/antusheng · 1 pointr/JordanPeterson

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng

Not about imprisonment, but about man-made famine. In composition very similar to Gulag Archipelago.

Took 20 years to research and write in China, banned in China. 1,208 pages in the original Chinese, 656 pages in abridged English version.

u/Trarc_ · 1 pointr/todayilearned

>Broadly speaking, Dracula is about moral panic, and homosexuality was a MAJOR feature in moral panic in Stoker's time.

The "link by association" argument that ties Dracula to homosexuality gets to my issue, namely that an association argument isn't enough. The text in Dracula needs to mention homosexuality directly or implicitly for your claim to hold. In my opinion the strongest evidence the "lit crit" author you linked provides is that Count Dracula (male) desires Jonathon's (male) blood, but even this evidence is tempered by the fact that Dracula also attacks women. There is also the greater problem that there is another feasible alternate explanation for this, namely that Dracula's behavior stems from the vampiric desire for human blood both men and women have. This is quite unlike your "Roland Rump" example, where alternative explanations (e.g. that the relationship to Trump is mere coincidence) are absurd. The associations you and the paper mentioned need to be stronger to be convincing.

Secondly, consider the book Nothing to Envy, written by the American author Barbara Demick
about the oppression of those living under the North Korean regime. You could similarly argue that since this book is about oppression, then it is also about the oppression of homosexuals and colored people in the U.S., which are both "major features" of Demick's time. That would be an intriguing interpretation of the text. However, I wouldn't say, "Nothing to Envy is about racism against African Americans in the U.S," which is a stretch — even though we could support the assertion with exhaustive analysis (there are actually many fascinating parallels between the two). At best we could only say that racism against African has an indirect, peripheral influence on Nothing to envy. Ditto for homosexuality and Dracula.

u/Kiteway · 1 pointr/sociology

missyb described it best in her comment, but I'm making mine a separate comment to make sure you see this. In Barbera Demick's work Nothing to Envy, she describes the North Korean reaction to the death of Kim Il-Sung. People were being watched for their emotional displays, and everyone was afraid of not expressing enough remorse/love (in turn leading to ever more frenzied displays of emotion fueled by the others/the fear of being "out-devoted"). Like missyb says, "Don't be so accepting of people's stylised emotional displays." And please don't necessarily accept all the explanations of "it's a hive state" and "it's the power of religion in practice" as the sole explanations. While I have no doubt that the social structure and religious nature of the state have played major roles in creating this "love," most North Koreans aren't stupid or entirely brainwashed - and many lived through the famine and were forced to see the lies with their own eyes. Don't take their intelligence for granted.

It's a question with an answer that exists at the core of all authoritarian regimes: how much of what we are seeing is truly real? I encourage you to read Demick's work and make your own judgement call. (My answer: some of it is, some of it isn't. Unsatisfying, but that's the real world for you.)

u/msc1 · 1 pointr/firstworldproblems

me too! BTW, I'm reading Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick. It's horrying book about North Korea. If I can save up I'm gonna see N. Korea next year. I think next year I'll have something to karma whore about :P

I have ebook of it, if you want I can share.

u/Velleity · 1 pointr/pics

"And in food news, you've had enough to eat today."

It took a 30 Rock episode to get me reading about North Korea - go figure - but anyway, this pic is from their capital city.

This book set out to describe life in North Korea today, and if it even remotely resembles fact I feel terrible for those living there.

u/lowlifecreep · 1 pointr/ImGoingToHellForThis

the wiki on Korea before WWII and after is good for the facts.
I'm reading Nothing to Envy at the moment which recounts stories of defectors from after the war up until the present from North Korea. Gives a good incite to the day to day life of a North Korean.

There are some great films about the Korean War

Brotherhood of War

The Front Line

This film about the boarder of North and south is great also


u/jeremiahlupinski · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Also check out the book nothing to envy fantastic read.

u/tempstairs · 1 pointr/IAmA

There's a really well written book too that recounts the stories of a few escapees. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

u/Quackattackaggie · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

doesn't look like it is. won a non-fiction award.

u/adrenal8 · 1 pointr/Documentaries

On North Korean along with the Vice ones you've already seen I can recommend the following that you can find on Netflix:

Inside North Korea Lisa Ling (sister of Laura Ling, who was trapped in North Korea) travels to North Korea with an eye surgeon who is doing humanitarian work there. There's a really great scene after all of the patients get their bandages unwrapped.

Crossing the Line About Americans who defected to North Korea during the Korean War and live/lived in Pyongyang. Really interesting stuff.

Kim Jong Il's Comedy Club / The Red Chapel This one is about Korean-Danish comedians who go to Pyongyang to do a very peculiar comedy routine. It's full of awkward moments but there's some pretty insightful stuff in there.

A State of Mind I haven't seen this one, and it's not on Netflix, but it's the same director as Crossing the Line (he's earned DPRK's trust and is allowed access for movies). It's about North Korean girls preparing for the Mass Games.

Also two books I would recommend are Nothing to Envy about ordinary citizens lives during the famine of North Korea and The Real North Korea which explains why politically, North Korea has no choice but to continue the current path.

I don't have any recommendations for China, sorry.

u/unexceptional · 1 pointr/worldnews

Can't recommend the book that blogger talks about highly enough. For the lazy, and non-lazy, it's Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and one of the best contemporary nonfiction books I've ever read. SO GOOD.

u/Variable303 · 1 pointr/books

Thanks for the tips! The pie shakes at Hamburg Inn sound amazing. I actually just caved in tonight and got a burger/shake combo after a week of eating healthy...

As far as recommendations go, I have a feeling you've likely read most of the fiction I'd suggest. That said, here's a couple non-fiction suggestions you might not have read:

Walkable City, by Jeff Speck. If you've ever been interested in cities, what makes them work (or not work), and what types of decisions urban planners make, check it out. It's a quick read, entertaining, and you'll never see your city or any other city in the same way.

Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick. Told primarily through the eyes of two people, this book provides readers with a glimpse of what life is like for the millions of ordinary North Korean citizens.

Anyway, I know it's well past the time frame for your AMA, but if you get a chance, I'd love to know if there's any one book that helped you the most as a writer (e.g. King's, "On Writing"), or any one piece of advice that has carried you the most. I don't ever plan on writing professionally, but I've always wanted to write a novel just for the satisfaction of creating something, regardless if anyone actually reads it. I just feel like I spend so much time consuming things others have created, while creating nothing in return. Plus, getting 'lost in a world you're creating' sounds immensely satisfying.

u/cloudfor2000 · 1 pointr/IAmA

How true is the book "Nothing to Envy"

u/wickintheair · 1 pointr/IAmA

I don't think visiting a country who has a differing foreign policy is really comparable to visiting a country where an oppressive dictator has kept 23 million brainwashed people in utter poverty and starvation. Whatever money you spend in North Korea goes to those in power, and they certainly aren't using that money to feed their people. No, it's more like Hennessy and cigarettes.

Furthermore, anyone who suggests that the official tour that everyone who visits NK goes on is in any way a full and accurate depiction of day to day life in North Korea is kidding themselves. That tour is carefully crafted to only show what the propaganda arm of NK wants. You have two tour guides who are carefully selected from party loyalists, you're not allowed to leave their sight, you're not allowed to talk with anyone else, you're not allowed to take pictures they don't like. I'm not quite sure how you would bring a "glimpse of hope" to an average North Korean if you're not allowed to interact with them in any way.

If you're interested in learning about day to day life in NK, I would recommend reading North of the DMZ by Andrei Lankov, who studied in North Korea in the 80's, or Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, who interviewed many defectors about their experiences in NK.

Tourism isn't going to do much for the average North Korean. For a start, I'd place my money on soap operas smuggled in from South Korea and pirate radio stations.

u/made1eine · 1 pointr/IAmA

for people interested in everyday life in NK: I just read a fantastic book by an American journalist following the lives of (I think) 6 defectors while also providing some good historical and cultural background.

It's called Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. Highly recommended.

u/BlamelessKodosVoter · 1 pointr/worldnews

But that's a work of fiction. Here's a good book about the lives of North Koreans

u/unicorn-jones · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

I highly recommend Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea for a good look at the situation North Korea.

As I understand it (through this book and a few other works I've read on the topic), NK leaders/the Kim family are mired in a fantasy in which they see themselves as being under constant threat by S Korea and the West. They feel the need to constantly flex their muscle in order to demonstrate that they cannot be invaded the way they were by the Japanese and the Americans in the past. This, despite the fact that an estimated 500-600k people died of famine in NK in our lifetimes, which means that developing weapons and rocketry is sucking food out of the mouths of starving people.

Relatedly, it's to prove to the NK people internally that they are a mighty country that the world envies/is afraid of. Even without media access to the outside world, the average NK citizen knows how important military might is on the global scale, so seeing their country appear to be a player on that stage ensures that the citizenry continues to buy the government's lies about how important NK is as a world player.

u/WinonaForever · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

If you haven't already, I would recommend reading Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.

u/muj561 · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Here's the Amazon link:

And a Prezi review that includes a reading level assessment:

Reading level: middle school students to adults
few parts more appropriate for older middle school students
Interesting for: people who are curious North Korean way of life and how North Koreans reacted to an economic crisis, as well as struggles in society

u/joot78 · 1 pointr/SampleSize

I did take it! :)

P.S. My favorite NK defector(s) book is Nothing to Envy - if you read just one, go with that!

u/deadtous · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

I really enjoyed Nothing to Envy but it's about North Korea. Longform journalism.

u/joch256 · 1 pointr/videos

I'm pretty sure it's this book. Highly recommend

u/mindMob · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

This semester I had to read a non-fiction book too, so I picked this:

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

No regrets. Excellent flow, loved the author's way of presenting different events, multiple sources and excellent knowledge to acquire about the past and current life in North Korea.

u/biglost · 1 pointr/pics

yeah, loads are, its impossible to brush that aside at this point...but the issue comes the fact that they are still very ignorant to their situation relative to the rest of the world. Many still think they have the moral and economic high ground and are completely flabbergasted to see it any other way.

I recently finished this book and recomend it to anyone interested in the human side of DPRK, its phenomenal.

u/svanobanano · 1 pointr/IAmA

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick goes into this quite a bit, as well as just general life in the DPRK, if you're interested at all.

u/Schadenfreuder · 1 pointr/pics

The country's population is immensely famished. The majority of the population are forced to fend themselves with nearly zero assistance from Pyongpang, and thus they've eaten everything remotely edible over a decade ago. I've seen recipes for bark come out of that country.

There is an immensely fascinating book that does a masterful job of recapping the country's recent history and the struggles of the people: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North America.

u/robbie321 · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

It's incredible (ly depressing). You should read it. I live in Seoul so scary to think this is only like 60km away.

u/Fractology · 1 pointr/pics

If you're at all interested in how people are living (or, more appropriately, struggling to live there) in North Korea, you MUST read "Nothing To Envy." This is a book written from the stories of six North Korean defectors. I doubt there's a better source of information about the inside of this joke of a nation:

u/hipsterparalegal · 1 pointr/books

The most recent nonfiction book that had the biggest impact on me is "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea." Two friends have read it since and they were just as blown away as I was:

u/therealdrag0 · 1 pointr/WTF
u/boredcentsless · 1 pointr/worldnews

>They have smuggled TV shows from SK, they listen to radio, they work in some way or the other. They don't just sit at home and worship the Kims.

Some do, some don't. It depends on where you live in NK. The ones who would sit and remain in the country instead of bolting at the first chance most likely would. this is a good book about the situation

u/wizardomg · 1 pointr/Kanye

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

Also the person in the neighborhood that reports on you part I mentioned is from this book

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

u/iamaravis · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

I'm aware of the state of things in NK. I just didn't think "cult of personality", however extreme, counted as a recognized religion. :) Perhaps I'm wrong.

(Also, I just finished reading the fascinating book Nothing to Envy. Highly recommend it!)

u/SanFransicko · 1 pointr/worldnews

Piggybacking your comment to tell anyone interested in the situation in N.K. to read the book "Nothing to Envy"

This is true. When Jong Il was in power, and the famine was extremely harsh, free markets sprung up and foreign aid was available for sale. It was the first time a lot of people had been able to get white rice in years. I love to hear this; hopefully it's the beginning of the end for their government. When history looks back on what's been going on in North Korea, I'm sure it will judge the rest of the world harshly for letting this oppression go on so long, leading to the deaths by starvation of so many people.

There is an amazing but very dark book called "Nothing to Envy" link. It's an amazing snapshot of what's going on in that country, written at an interesting time. When Korea finally opens up, we won't be able to get the points of view of people who are absolutely indoctrinated with the propaganda of the North.

u/hawk_222b · 1 pointr/China

The Penguin History of Modern China
is a great overview and very easy to read.

One of the best books on the subject I've read is
The Search for Modern China by. Jonathan Spence but it is very dry.

u/ExOttoyuhr · 1 pointr/worldnews

If you haven't read Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII yet, you might find it interesting -- an in-depth picture of how things changed after the war.

The most important take-aways, I thought, were that the elites failed the people badly; that the US occupation administration (SCAP) basically installed itself as a shogunate; and that the Japanese populace was horrified when it discovered all the atrocities that the authorities had covered up during the war. I'm sure you could name plenty of countries that don't feel any guilt at all about their past crimes; this sense of guilt is very much to the Japanese people's credit, and I think their timidity today probably has to do with fear of committing similar horrors again.

u/TheRiddler78 · 1 pointr/samharris

B = "certain death" all things change, evolution is change over time. the universe is evolution, fighting to preserve a certain way of life is a doomed project. embrace change or succumb

the question is the wrong one.

A= fight to keep things as they are/where an ultimately fail

B= embrace a new way of life

u/NonsensicalRambling · 1 pointr/history

Hi, "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II" deals with this very subject and talks about the five years immediately following the surrender. It is a fascinating book and won the Pulitzer. I read it in conjunction with "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945" that deals a bit more expansively with the same subject in Europe and also won the Pulitzer. I cannot recommend either enough.

u/smokesteam · 1 pointr/Cyberpunk

> Looking at China's history, specifically it's occupation by the British Empire, and subsequently Hong Kong, I see their culture as fairly pliable.

By the time the British started doing British things in Asia, China was well on the way to becoming the failed state that lead to the conditions which made it easy for Imperial Japan to setup colonial operations. The more Chinese history I study and by this I mean reading their own and outside perspectives, the less pliable I see them in the long term.

>Now that's not fair, because I didn't say that ;)

Wasnt trying to put words in your mouth, just running with the idea and stating what I think is an important point. We cant be tricked into viewing all of humanity as a mirror of ourselves.

>If China can move through this stage, they'll come out ahead.

Since there has never in history been any movement in that culture away from what amounts to central governance by an all powerful state, and since historically this limits innovation, my money is not on them "moving through" but rather extending empire without cultural change. Their real challenge is a fight against internal collapse.

>If they can find or generate an issue to unify their citizenry under, they'll at least catch up to the western world, if not overtaking it.

So far all they got is jingoistic rhetoric & whipping up anger over past perceived injustice.

>The more history I take in, the more "full" the world feels. I get a sense of where things are coming from, and understand a context to events and places that I used to take for granted.

Thats the whole thing about people who dont understand the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

>If you don't mind my asking

American living here for almost 17 years. I have permanent resident status here but I wont ever go for citizenship. Came here on what was supposed to be a 3 month work assignment fully expecting to go back to NYC at the end. There's an old Yiddish saying: "Man plans and God laughs". Story of my life.

Just about all what you see in the Western media regarding Japan is exaggerated and at least a little if not a lot disingenuous. Life is hard for foreigners here because the local culture just never developed a real model of integrating immigrants. The entire social system is so different that if you didnt grow up in it you can never be fully part of it in many ways. It is so different that many Westerners just cant adjust themselves or their mental model of life vs the realities of life just cant align. I can explain how its hard for many to live here or tell you that things are different but honestly its not something you can understand without personal experience.

I guess politics here is like anywhere, especially anywhere with a parliamentary system, that is to say, a mess. When God was handing out stupid to the nations of Man, He certainly was equally generous to all and extra generous to the politicians. If you are curious or just want to read some true history that will surprise you, check Embracing Defeat about post war Japanese history.

u/Ohtoko · 1 pointr/ColorizedHistory

That's true, but they've also embraced peace (even though it was imposed upon them). The book Embracing Defeat by John Dower is a very good read on this subject; especially the beginning of the book, which talks about the reversal in attitudes toward war and peace, since both the US and Japan needed to scapegoat the military regime as the culprits of aggression.

u/yolakalemowa · 1 pointr/dataisbeautiful

The very recent Western civilization (if it could in fact be called a civilization) has a tendency to project it's own modern standards onto the entire history of mankind, as if it's the one and only proper worldview, according to whose standards every other past and present civilization on Earth must be judged. I challenge you to go read Orientalism by Edward Said to try to ameliorate any such unfelt tendencies. And don't worry, even the colonized end up measuring their own worldviews by the colonizer's standards, given the inferiority complex resulting post-colonization.

What I'm trying to say is that when you want to judge any far away culture (in time OR space) from your own, be very careful what elements you measure by your specific modern standards, and what elements you should judge by their distant standards. The prophet ﷺ was under constant attack by his enemies at the time, and his possible marriage to a 9 year old (many sources actually say 19, others 14, others 12 btw, but of course, the media will want to stick with the youngest of these), or the fact that he married multiple women weren't ones of the points of attack. Let that tell you something for starters: that both practices were considered normal at the time.

On another note, do you think a 9 year old female (or male for that matter) of 6th century Arabia would be the same as a 9 year old female in modern California, for instance? I'm talking in terms of maturity. Even today, have you ever met aboriginals? beduins? any community that still have not become completely westwashed and modernized? I have. And their 12 year old women can put our 21 year old women to shame in their maturity. Same with men, btw. At 21 years old, Mohammad alFatih led the Muslim army into Constantinople. There are many other examples. My own great grandmother, Syrian, married when she was 14.

Polygamy makes evolutionary sense more than polyandry, and our species have always been polygamous. So this, again, will have to be measured not by our current modern Western standards.

Actually, at the time of the prophet ﷺ, Islam came and limited polygamy to 4 wives, when the number was unlimited and when they had nothing to ensure the rights of the wives to inheritence and custody of children etc. Islam came to curb that and provided specific details about their rights.

I advise you also to read about the different understandings of "marriage" across human history. The model we're currently living (the marriage of romance and feelings) is but one of many in the genealogy of this institution.

Do you know anything about the wives of the Prophet ﷺ? We call them the Mothers of the Believers in Islam. Why don't you read and get to know them and understand the relationship going on in 6th century Arabia? For example, one of the common reasons behind marriage in premodern civilizations was for bigger tribal/societal reasons, like ending decade-long feuds between tribes and building alliances. Not to mention, marrying to provide divorced women and widows a safe haven to belong to a family and community.

That's not to say there was no love or beautiful romance. Go read about the Prophet's love to his first wife: Khadija, who was actually his employer at the time; one of the biggest business women of Mecca. Go read about his love for this wife Aisha you speak of. Talk about romance? He used to drink from the same spot where she placed her lips. They used to race and she'd always win (until she gained some weight, peace be upon her soul XD and he won for the first time.) He once ordered the entire army to stop and look for her necklace. She used to climb on his back and watch Africans dances when they come to Mecca. When he was dying, he asked the permission of his other wives that he be nursed and end his life in her appartment on her lap. He asked her for siwak before he died which she moisturized with her own mouth.

This Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) became one of the most prominent scholars of Islam, she was the scholar of scholars. The love story of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Aisha is one of the most beautiful stories of Muslim civilization.

u/MFPizza · 1 pointr/worldnews

Mmm... ideas of civilized/uncivilized still exist today (War Hawks in DC/Dawkins quote/Fedora wearing redditors). These distinctions, ideas of the other, racial difference, are precisely what allowed colonialism to take place. That and theft of an unbelievable amount of resources from other nations. Hell, civilizing language is used still today to justify bombing places from Yemen, to Pakistan. So your point about how this racist language is of some distant past is pretty mistaken.

Western liberalism, not really what it has been made out to be for people in the third world.

Worth checking out
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u/polyparadigm · 1 pointr/politics
u/Magnetronaap · 1 pointr/worldnews

Actually, you know what, if you want some real perspective on the matter read this book

u/txpunjabi14 · 1 pointr/islam

It's important to look at modern Muslim-majority nations within the context of post-colonialism, and it's also important to note the biases of western media, authors, and audiences when discussing. The fact that you think that Muslims cannot objectively comment on on narrate their own histories or politics is a really problematic point of view. Do you think western perspectives on Islamic societies are unbiased towards and unaffected by western colonialist and imperialist involvement in said societies? Do you seek out Muslim, Chinese, Russian, or African narrations of western history and society too? Deeming non-western narratives of and contributions to historical or political discourse, among many other subjects, as being deficient is frankly a hallmark of western exceptionalism.

As for the first topic, the subject is really broad, and each Muslim-majority country has its own post-colonial narrative, but The Oxford History of Islam has three chapters specifically dealing with what you're trying to learn about - Ch 13 European Colonialism and the Emergence of Modern Muslim States, Ch 14 The Globalization of Islam, & Ch 15 Contemporary Islam: Challenges and Opportunities. Keep in mind though that this book just scratches the surface in terms of covering the historical development of modern-day Muslim states and the discussion doesn't really delve into the details of each individual country.

Secondly, I think you should maybe read some work by Edward Said. Specifically, you should look at Orientalism and Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. Orientalism is a critique of western perspectives on and representations of eastern societies. Covering Islam is a bit more specific obviously, and it analyzes objectivity of western narratives on modern-day Islam and Muslim-majority society.

u/Rage_Blackout · 1 pointr/Anthropology

The bro force has come out to defend this fetishization.

If you want to take the academic/intellectual high road then at least read Edward Said's Orientalism to understand why people are criticizing this post. The crux of his argument is every bit as applicable here.

u/Sebatinsky · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

It would be well worth your time to read Orientalism by Edward Said.

u/spikestoker · 1 pointr/lost

As for whether or not Christian is any more real in the finale than in the first episodes, we receive a straightforward explanation as to why he appears in the island timeline, and a straightforward explanation as to why he appears in the finale. Seems difficult to debate.

I think a lot of the resistance to your theory is coming from the fact, as the creators insisted throughout the run of the series, Lost was a character-based show. The mythology of the island and the genre elements were a lot of fun, but the characters were meant to be the main event.

If the entirety of the series is taking place in Jack's head, it negates the importance of the very large cast; including the favorite characters of many (if not most) of the viewers. Further, a major thematic concern of the series is the dichotomy of "us vs. them," and the manner in which this breaks down given familiarity with those around us -- naturally, this theme cannot exist if all is within Jack's mind. Finally, the series presentation of the afterlife in season 6 is entirely based on the idea that what is most important in life is those around us ("nobody does it alone"), and that we should embrace others, no matter what that circumstances are that bring us together.

You mentioned an interest in the literary traditions Lost mentions; you might be interested in Edward Said's literary criticism, in particular his work on "Orientalism". This concerns the creation of an "Other," the implications of which should be clear with regard to its relation to the series, and a vital thematic element which must be negated if all is within Jack's head.

Sidebar: thanks for taking the time to continue the discussion here. Even though I disagree with your theory, the discourse surrounding the show always has been (and continues to be) the best thing about the series, and a large part of what makes it so worthwhile.

u/sharpiepriest1 · 1 pointr/worldnews

>Dude believe what you want but for every manuscript written by an islamic person there are ten thousand written non muslim that portray a brutal life under muslims.

This is something you want to be true, but isn't. You want it to be true, so you will never seek out information that contradicts it. I get the impression that you've never read a primary source written from within the Muslim empire. You've been told these things, but you're too intellectually lazy to wonder if they might be lies, misunderstandings, and myths. If you want to be spoonfed you interpretation of history instead of researching it yourself, that's your business. But don't claim to have knowledge of history if second hand accounts and Crusades-era anti-Islam propaganda are the shaky foundation you want to build your worldview on.

Once again, the image of Islam would be seriously shaken if you read something written by scholars, like No God but God or After the Prophet, or Orientalism. Unfortunately it's pretty clear that you lack the curiosity to verify what you believe.

u/Makesfolkslose · 1 pointr/worldnews

Orientalism is a huge concept that I can try and brush over quickly. (Check out the book if you ever have time.) Generally speaking, Orientalism is the process of essentalization, mystification, and commodification of the "East" as opposed to the "West" (in a geographic, cultural, and sociological sense). It functions on and reproduces the false binary of "us" vs. "them" and enforces value judgments that result in institutional racism and general misinformation. For example, the West is seen as enlightened, classical, and logical as opposed to the East which is mystical, romantic, and irrational. This produces and is produced by the mindset that we, as the more rational, evolved people, have a responsibility to enlighten the Oriental masses who otherwise will end up wallowing in their own sad, sad cultural practices.

Cultural imperialism is the act of enforcing one's cultural patterns/beliefs/etc. onto another community, often without meaning to or realizing what's happening and often without any outright violence or what would commonly be called "imperialism."

I find both of these concept severely degrading to the actual, real people at whom they are targeted.

I can only stress this point so many times: if this is an issue about the subjugation of and violence towards women, then let's make it about that. The niqab is not a catchall for structural violence, and banning it creates more problems than it solves. There are many other ways to deal with sexism and misogyny that will have more lasting, real impacts.

u/APairofDocks · 1 pointr/atheism
u/thebostinian · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/tiabguls1183 · 1 pointr/Philippines

You're kidding about believing the "Asia for Asians" propaganda, right? If you're up for some light reading, you'll see how the Axis Japanese bit off more than they could chew and translated their Bushido moral code into unsuspecting Asians--you know most of the horrifying war crimes that happen next--in Iris Chang's the Rape of Nanking. Most of the atrocities depicted were culled from Imperial Japan's occupation of China.

u/xDivineReborn · 1 pointr/todayilearned

A good book to learn more about what the Japanese did to the chinese is called the "Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang. It's a good book quite gruesome though. I apologize if this was posted in the comments already, but I thought I'd throw it in since so few people know about what happened in China at the hands of the Japanese.

u/Ask_Seek_Knock · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Okay based on that I'm going to suggest a few things you could add to your wish list. I promise I won't be offended if you don't like them, but you might find something you're interested in. :)

Tea things:

First for cute tea things, I highly recommend the flowering tea pot I received it as an Arbitrary Day gift and it's awesome. The teas are delicious and most importantly, to me, the tea pot is sooo cute.

Mana Tea infuser a lot of people have this on their wish lists. I should add it to mine too.

Tea Sampler There are several samplers with different types of tea from this company and a bunch of others. You should look around for sure.

Hello Kitty Stuff:

Add on Hello Kitty alarm clock

This Hello Kitty toy It's adorable.


Ceramic travel mug

History related:

Hitler Youth This looks like it would be a fascinating read.

The Roads of the Roma: A PEN Anthology of Gypsy Writers

Gypsies Under the Swastika

The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

u/raffyoh · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I remember reading a book on it, i think it was this one but it was quite some time ago. I remember being really disturbed as a kid reading about it. I think this was probably around the age of 12 or so.

u/lolwatzki · 1 pointr/WritingPrompts

To OP: there is a book about first hand recollections of the bombings already written, in case you were not aware.

u/R3MY · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I have four. I believe they are books that everyone should read.

Invisible Man

To Kill a Mockingbird


The Catcher in the Rye

Each one of these have changed the way I see the world. They all have amazing stories for the perspective of characters I normally would not have been able to identify with.

u/Nikkeh · 1 pointr/TheRedLion

Today I'm mainly working, but I'm really enjoying it lately so it's really not so much of a chore.

On the music front I'm really enjoying Olly Murs at the moment, it may be a bit wushu washy but it's super catchy and makes you smile

Reading wise I have almost (last 10 pages) finished Hiroshima by John Hersey and although it is obviously a bit grim, it's a fascinating read and I would definitely recommend it to you if you are at all interested in what happened to the people of Hiroshima after the bomb dropped. Once I've finished it I've got the entire Hitchikers collection by Douglas Adams to power through (sans the first one which I have already read)

As far as thoughts, I went good shopping yesterday and bought honey cured bacon on a whim (it was only 10p more in lidl) and holy crap! I was sceptical at first but the honey actually caramelised as I cooked it this morning and it is by far the greatest bacon I have ever had!

To answer your bonus question, I am with EE, from an old Orange contract, and although their phones and signal are alright, their customer service is shite! I have been double charges multiple times and have only been able to get a refund for one or two...

u/solyanik · 1 pointr/changemyview

I am sorry, but where do you even get your facts? Hiroshima was in fact chosen not for military (there were plenty of much bigger military targets), but because it was unbombed, and allowed to assess the impact on civilian population.

Terrorists do not choose civilians because they are defenseless, but because in democratic societies they directly influence - and therefore are responsible for - policy. For instance, in Imperial Russia terrorist attacks were directed at Czar and his henchmen.

u/spoofycrisp · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Well, he did get to live in extreme luxury and sleep with multitudes of young women who worshiped him while his country burned around him and the people blamed everyone but him for it. I honestly don't think he gave a shit about anything but himself.

A disgusting, acrid, evil human being he was, but he may well have been brilliant in his own way.

This book provides an excellent summary (backed by tons of data) of this and the thousands of other disastrous mistakes made by Mao and his personality cult, and details his hypocrisy as well.

u/Guybrush_Fandango · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Post may get buried, but hey!
I highly recommend reading Mao's Great Famine. By Frank Dikötter.
I lived in China for 11 years, and thought I was pretty aware of most of the crazy shit that went down during the Cultural Revolution.
This book proved me wrong. It was SO much crazier than I had thought.
It was the first (I believe) time that official party documents have been translated and released, and gives a great look at the inner workings of the party and how truly fucked it all was from the get-go.

u/WaywardChronicler · 1 pointr/pics

Sure but four urban workers and three farmers don't do much against a tank. It's also shockingly hard to coordinate a whole bunch of people like that, especially in a nation so censor-happy as China. I'm drawing off of half-remembered facts from Dikötter's book here, but I think a lot of what made the Great Famine so devastating is that the government forcefully isolated starving villages to prevent word of famine from spreading.

I don't know, I think the thought that the Chinese or the Koreans or whoever else can just rise up and start a fun democracy is romantic, but I don't think its feasible. Not because of culture, but just plain logistics.

u/Montana_Fish · 1 pointr/politics

how about this one

or this

or this that'll be fun for you to read..

u/toryhistory · 1 pointr/changemyview

>we've empirically seen the ways socialist experiments have failed, and thus, we'd adapt our methodology.

But you haven't. You're promising more of the same, and failing in exactly the same way.

>this number is empirically false and goes off of broken assumptions in one book that has been proven, by historical analysis, to be entirely fabricated, more or less.

No, it certainly hasn't.

>t takes into account soviet war deaths, which were not caused by socialism, and also the fact that those war deaths lead to people not being born at all, which i don't think counts as a death.

It most certainly does not. Some estimates start by looking at those sorts of figures as a way of establishing demographic baselines in poorly documented societies, but none of them finish there and that is not where the 100 million figure comes from. You should really read arguments before you dismiss them.

>the overwhelming majority of socialists, give or take, like, two, do not want central planning.

As I said, there are only two options, central planning or markets, and you reject markets. On top of that, you cannot have collective ownership without collective decision making, and that means central planning.

u/ItsAConspiracy · 1 pointr/Futurology

There's a popular book which claims that the Japanese did make that argument, and gave up the gun for a century. Apparently though it's not all that accurate.

u/maak_d · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook
u/BobasPett · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive
u/DarthDammit · 1 pointr/history

Giving up the Gun

Cool book about feudal Japan's mastering of, then subsequent abandonment of firearms.

u/OfMiceAndMenus · 1 pointr/moronarmy

Yeah, those 'r's are tricky. It's more like a combination of D and L.

The Pict-O-Graphix versions are pretty useful. They have one for Kana, which is like a really tiny pocket-book, and then one for Kanji which has about 1000 kanji and is rather large. Like this

u/notacrackheadofficer · 1 pointr/LifeProTips

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is a great book.
Penmanship is technically drawing.
Another fun exercise is using a children's kanji book regarding Japanese calligraphy.
Some random choices arbitrarily picked as examples.
The more you draw, the better you get at drawing.
Chinese traditional drawing books are also helpful.

u/pcmmm · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

When you say you have studied Japanese for 2.5 years that's really not enough information. Have you been to Japan? Have you been there for an extended amount of time (e.g. several months?). I doubled my number of Kanji while I was staying in Japan, whenever I saw a sign / something written on my milk carton / my aircon remote, I would look it up and learn it that way. While in the subway I would take my time to look up random Kanji I saw in the advertisments.

I would use Kanji flashcards of the kind you can by in 500 box sets and go through a couple of them after a day of life in Japan: some characters I would have seen today but maybe would not remember, so going through the flash cards would help me remember them and clarify their reading. I would not learn with flash cards of Kanji I hadn't ever seen before - a useless exercise for me, I can only remember characters I've seen used in a real-life context. I don't "learn" Kanji programmatically taking them from some list and remembering the on- and kun-readings, I will only ever care about what I need to know in order to understand the text I'm working on. A children's book, song lyrics I got from the internet, texts for learners, Wikipedia articles, NHK news. The real lesson is: in order to get good at reading, you have to read a lot. Today I got a copy of a printed newspaper (読売新聞), you can buy those internationally, I got one from my local retailer at a train station in Germany. Reading an article takes an hour and a PC with a Kanji search by radical and a dictionary site, but I can do it.

For refreshment, I use resources like the amazing etymological dictionary "A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters" which will tell you the historical evolution and proper decomposition of Kanji, some stories can be really interesting. With this help I can tell that when seeing a character such as 緒, it consists of thread (糸) and the pronunciation しょ/しゃ(者), hence "the word meaning together (=bound by a thread) pronounced kind of like 者)". Next to etymological help you can also use pure visual clues.

When you read real Japanese texts, you quickly realize that 2000 Kanji is not enough. Even children's literature would use characters outside of that official list. 3000 is more realistic. You should have material (dictionaries, flash cards etc.) that covers more than the official list. Don't despair though, actual Japanese native speakers take their time learning them, too! The more Japanese you come in contact with every day, the better.

u/imtootiredforthis · 1 pointr/videos

This idea has been around quite a while - at least for Japanese use of Chinese characters. I picked up Kanji Pict-O-Graphix over 15 years ago when I was starting to learn Japanese.

u/uberscheisse · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

there is a book that is called "kanji pictographics" that helps with about 1000 basic kanji. nice to have on your coffee table. or kotatsu once you get to japan.

u/cbmuser · 1 pointr/videos

Also, her idea isn't actually new or revolutionary. I bought the book Kanji Pict-O-Graphix some months ago.

That book was published in 1992.

u/jlptbootcamp · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

I think Heisig is good as a reference book, as in, if you have difficulty learning/remembering a particular kanji, you can take a look at it and hopefully that will lock in the kanji and pronunciation, but as the only way to learn kanji it seems a bit troublesome to me. Another book that is pretty good is Pict-o-Graphix which again is good as a reference book, not a good learning resource.

I personally use Anki and a new site memrise to practice a lot of kanji reading/meanings.

u/whistleridge · 1 pointr/history

Peter Hopkirk wrote a superb book about this, called The Great Game. I highly recommend it.

It will make you very, very angry at US policy in Afghanistan and central Asia.

u/A_Fortiori · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.

u/irishjihad · 1 pointr/Military

The Great Game - Peter Hopkirk

Anything else by Hopkirk is also worth reading, but The Great Game focuses on the rivalry between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It's a long book, but very readable. I read it before the current conflicts and went back and reread it. Amazing how little some things change.

u/hiacbanks · 1 pointr/worldnews

Chinese textbook claim Tibet is always part of China, this is not correct.
India textbook claim China has nothing to do with Tibet until 1950 invasion, that is not correct either.

Nationalism blind people's mind, and it has nothing to do with Communism or Democrats. Both side brainwash their people for political reason.

do yourself a favor to borrow a book called great game.
At least learn some history of Tibet first.

for such a complicated issue, there is not black white answer.

u/FinnDaCool · 1 pointr/worldnews

> Chinese textbook claim Tibet is always part of China, this is not correct. India textbook claim China has nothing to do with Tibet until 1950 invasion, that is not correct either.

This is incredibly basic understanding of academia. This is literally entry-level thought. Even at Wikipedia they've always disallowed sources based on criteria just like this. This is not something you should be trumpeting as giving your opinion authority, this is something you should assume everybody already knows.

Because they do.

> do yourself a favor to borrow a book called great game. At least learn some history of Tibet first.

I appreciate the offer, but I am already pretty well versed in this topic. Apart from anything else, your reccomendation lacks accuracy - the Great Game was between the British and Russian Empires, with Central Asia merely the staging ground. Moreso, that staging ground focused on the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan and the push to India, not the Himalayas. Tibet would be a passing reference in such a text.

u/veeko · 1 pointr/AskReddit A book I'm reading that is really awesome and that I was looking up reviews for.

u/gustavelund · 1 pointr/geopolitics

There are a couple from the great game period, where Russia and Britain were rivaling each other in the central asia. You'll likely find plenty original intelligence officers as authors in the references of Hopkirk's "The Great Game".

u/mrook5260 · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

You should read Ghost Wars by Steven Coll. It's a historical account of that ends on Sept 10, 2001, so doesn't directly fit your request. That said, it is the most comprehensive overview of the events that led up to 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror. Pulitzer Prize winner:

u/NewspaperNelson · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Seems like Ghost Wars called into question some of the stories about Wilson's higher level contributions to the war.

u/TJBlake · 1 pointr/pics

Whilst you're right the Taliban and Mujahidden are separate entities, one coming after the other, to say that 'The US had nothing to do with this organization or their takeover of power in 1996.' is disingenuous at best.

The Taliban very much came from the ashes and socially-politically tilled land the US prepared. They actively fostered a climate of radicalisation and militancy, they even translated the Qu'ran into Russian satellite languages, with their own militant interpretations, and canvassed the Soviet satellites with it. They actively armed, taught, funded, harboured and trained militant behaviour. It's a bit of a stretch that the US had no hand in the rise of the Taliban. They very much prepared the way. That's the sort of ball that doesn't just stop rolling when the Soviets pull out of the country.

  • Mohammed Omar, the spiritual founder of the Taliban, was himself Pashtun Mujahidden that fought the Soviet occupation! He actively recruited not only in Madraddahs, but in the Afghan refugee camps from the proxy war the west enabled, and then the other Pashtun Mujahidden factions began to join him.

  • A prominent supporter of Omar and the Taliban, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had his own supporters, the Haqqani Network, which very much WAS set up with the help of the CIA. He's said to be the one who first introduced suicide bombers to Afghanistan. He was an ardent Mujahidden fighter and leader, who now fights for Omar and alongside the Taliban.

    The Taliban and the Mujahidden, whilst different, go hand in hand with one another. In many cases the Taliban forces they're fighting very much are connected to the Mujahidden and the Cold War operations:

  • Take for example Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, also former Mujahidden but who set up the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) faction. Still fighting against NATO forces, very much maligned by Mohammed Omar's political party, but still part of the Taliban led insurgency. Again a Mujahidden fighter that sets up his own faction with other former Mujahideen fighters, builds a powerbase, maligned by the Taliban when they first came to power but now fight as part of the insurgency.

  • An other prominent Taliban insurgent leader: Sirajuddin Haqqani. Son of the afore mentioned Jalaluddin Haqqani - father - son - Mujahidden - Taliban. The continuity line is there for all to see.

  • The CIA itself had strong links with Pakistan's ISI throughout the 80s and 90s, even at one stage approving its directors, and for the latter half of the 90s the ISI is well known to have supported and worked with the Taliban when Omar first took control. Certainly Omar's role and connection with the Mujahidden helped him come to power. The radicalisation was already there from the Soviet operations, Omar just pointed them in the direction of his own aspirations for Afghanistan using the lessons they'd learned. Pakistan directly favoured backing the winning Pashtun faction as their candidate to take over Afghanistan. When it became clear that faction was going to be Taliban they threw their support behind them.

  • Fazal-ur-Rehman is a pro-Taliban Pakistani that held office in Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto. He is known to have used his connections with the ISI, which the CIA helped become what it is, to in turn help and provide assistance to the Taliban in the 90s. Indirectly again the US-MI6 intervention in the 80s can be followed back to the rise of the Taliban, not just by Pakistan and the ISI discretely offering support as matter of judged foreign policy, but ISI was already infiltrated at the highest levels by a known Taliban sympathiser effectively turning the capability of the infrastructure put in place over to the emerging Taliban through the compromised security at the hands of a radical fundamentalist.

    The Taliban is not Mujahidden, that much is true.

    "The US had nothing to do with this organization or their takeover of power in 1996" - is most definitely not true. The Taliban are the bastard child of the Frankenstein monster the CIA, MI6, ISI and Saudi Arabia cobbled together in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

    For much more reading with numerous CIA and MI6 testimony, from mid-level all the way up to a director of the CIA, and industry acknowledged (Pulitzer):
u/tinkthank · 1 pointr/worldnews

>Al Qaeda was founded by a Saudi royal

Umm...what? Bin Laden was not a member of the Saudi royal family.

Also, the Bin Laden family is huge. There are members of Osama bin Laden's family that are fashion models in Europe (See: Wafah Dufour bin Laden).

Saud Family

As per the source:

u/reyeater · 1 pointr/China

well...organ harvesting from FLG people was confirmed by investigators many times. I saw even a book on this somewhere...

u/ReddJudicata · 1 pointr/todayilearned

It appears to be sourced from this book:

This isn't the BBC article referenced, but it's a similar, older report from the guardian.

Here's an earlier from Gutmann:

u/sassy-andy · 1 pointr/television

A docu-drama based around Nothing to Envy, a fantastic and devestating book by Barbara Demick about six seperate people who esacpe from North Korea.

It would have to have the HBO treatment and cannot shy away from the violence, torture and emotional gravity of the situation - whilst at the same time not glorifying it.

There are six(?) escapees who are documented in the book, so a 6 - 8 episode, self contained series would be incredible

u/leaf_onthe_wind · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I would donate it to Liberty in North Korea. I think what they're doing is extremely important but not enough people know/care about the people of North Korea.

And keep some to fund me and my boyfriend moving to Korea when we finish our degrees because I don't think I could move in with his parents!

This book, or any of the books in my wishlist, if I were to win :)

Thanks for the contest!

u/KrisK_lvin · 1 pointr/MensRights

> i ask you to explain to me, how the average person has the required level of knowledge on politics to make informed decisions about who should run state?

It’s not necessary to explain this to you because the question is entirely irrelevant. It is a very narrow and parochial understanding of knowledge which becomes apparent if you reverse the question: How can any one individual, or small group of select individuals, have the required knowledge of the populace to make informed decisions about how the state should be run on their behalf?

The issue is not whether "the vast majority of people” have or don’t have "the required level of knowledge on politics” because they don’t need whatever this specialist knowledge is to have specialist knowledge of their own lives and families.

In fact, for that matter, specialist knowledge of the kind you are talking about is highly disputed, is not a well-defined object that can be learned or not and is the subject of endless debate - in a democracy at least that’s true. Under a dictatorship you can simply have dissenting voices silenced.

> … dictatorships are less pleasant but democracies are just as corrupt as any dictatorship its just far less obvious ...

That is absolute rubbish. I mean it’s not even a different point of view, just actual palpable nonsense.

The only way in which that statement could be true is if we were to extend the meaning of ‘Democracy’ to include countries like North Korea as they are named the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea or Zimbabwe or any other places which ostensibly have some form of democracy, let’s say Nigeria, but where corruption is absolutely rife and not even “far less obvious” but plain to see to anyone from the minute they wake up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night.

The important point there from your argument is that the issues of corruption in the latter ‘democracies’ have absolutely nothing to do with the form of government they have, or who is in power at any one time, or whether or not the populace at large have what you call "the required level of knowledge on politics to make informed decisions”.

Corruption exists in democracies such as the US or the UK and so on. But so do burglary, murder, extortion, rape, riots, inequality and any number of other crimes and injustices. A democratic system is not a promise of utopia and was never meant to be.

You’re a student so you’re young and it’s fine to hold pompous and silly ideas for the sake of shocking older people such as myself, but if it really is the case that you have actually "done considerable research” into dictatorships and democracies, then perhaps you could tell me what your thoughts on. The Open Society and Its Enemies: Volume 1: The Spell of Plato as I have to say your comments are rather suggestive of the idea that you think a dictatorship ruled by an elite class of selfless and benign philosophers would be just as good, perhaps better, than a democracy.

You could also, for instance, look at books such as these and explain where you can find anything comparable happening under a functioning democracy (and not e.g. those I mentioned before):

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World by Theodore Dalrymple

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot

u/InventedBeards · 1 pointr/pics

Wow, he shot the cover of Nothing to Envy, an excellent book.

u/3danimator · 1 pointr/WTF

I have. I know all about the sea org, its nothing like living in NK and to suggest otherwise is an insult to north korean suffering.

For one thing, they can leave anytime they want. if they wanted to badly enough. For another, no one in sea org is eating bark to survive.

please read this book to get first hand accounts of how it was during the famine in NK

Its heartbreaking. Especially the classrooms of young kids getting smaller and smaller in number as more of them die from malnutrition and the teacher being too hungry to give them any of her meagre amounts of food and feeling guilty for the rest of her life.

u/datakeep · 1 pointr/Israel


> Would the Palestinians have had to leave if violent panarabist states hadn't initiated a war with the newly independent state of Israel?

Please read a history book. (For instance Ilan Pappe). Almost half a million Palestinians had been ethnically cleansed by Jewish terrorists before the neighbouring countries intervened to halt the unfolding catastrophe.

> They had several countries to flee too. How about the Arab countries that were partially responsible for there predicament in the first place? There connection to any of the myriad of Arab countries would be no less weak than the connection of the expelled Arab Jews to the newly formed state of Israel.

Yet, to this day, Palestinians remain stateless.

u/jerseycityfrankie · 0 pointsr/worldnews

Crack open a book once in a while Glue Boy. Using motion pictures as a guide is a waste of time. I recommend the book Japan at War, an Oral History.
Which is a series of transcriptions of interviews with japanese who were alive during and participated in the war. As close to the truth as I am likely to get. A theme in the book is how reluctant the interview subjects were to tell their stories, since the prevailing mood since the end of the war was to gloss over every negative aspect.

u/tsingi · 0 pointsr/canada

I don't think I've EVER seen a pic of Harper with a grin like that.

It's not Apartheid, it's ethnic cleansing.

They want the Palestinians gone, South Africa wanted to keep the blacks subjugated.

Ilan Pappe: "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" if you feel like getting the full story.

u/sideways86 · 0 pointsr/AskHistorians

If you're interested in digging deeper on this subject, this is a great book:

u/Shulamite · 0 pointsr/Libertarian

And that’s why I know you don’t have any idea about communist China,whether past or present one.If you do care about China instead of using it as a promotion of your ideology,you could read tombstone or live a happy life in your imaginary world.

u/mddking · 0 pointsr/China


Yes, you can think that those people die because ccp's awful policies Indirectly. And how do you know that ccp were willingly and actively trying to purge those people? And to those murderers who knowingly and consciously kill iraqis, what do you wanna say to them? if you already wanted to grill ccp on the fireplace, what will you do to those US soldiers and their commanders?

u/TheSnowWillRiseAgain · 0 pointsr/gameofthrones

The shallowness people call out in Danys plot and character in the east is due to the very overused western trope, Orientalism.
As great as Martin is he does have to resort to this literary style with her because otherwise she would have no purpose for the first few books/seasons. It offers substance to a plot that western entertainment can grab on to.

It boils down to the idea that her atrocities as a super white and perfect and westerosi raised person and a young women to boot, are justified because what the ordered "normal" west do in terms of culture and law are the "correct" ways in our minds and in the character minds of the West. And that the east are in news of this reform regardless of how harsh it comes off as. Because they are considered, lower, more savage and animalistic. The examples in the show are everywhere.

Examples in western entertainment are everywhere too, one that everyone can relate to is the scene in Indiana Jones when Indie squares off with the masked "Arab" who is too I'll educated to not back down from a gun fight with a knife, and he pays.

An anthropologist Edward Seid coined the trope.

u/GideonWells · 0 pointsr/news
u/iamyoursuperior_4evr · -1 pointsr/pics

The gullibility and smarmy naivete in this thread is just pathetic. Yes. War is bad. What a revelation. Why hasn't anybody else thought of that before?

If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside go buy a Hallmark card or go browse /r/aww.

People living in the real world understand that geopolitics is a game of advantage that you can't circumvent by pleading for everyone to join hands and sing Kumbaya. When you appease dictators and cede ground to them you simply enable and embolden their behavior. Furthermore, the South Korean president is hugging and holding hands with a mass murderer who has enslaved over 20 million people, condemning them to a live a life of near starvation and physical/psychological imprisonment. You're the leader of an extraordinarily prosperous, democratic country; have some dignity. You're meeting a piece of human excrement who is feeling on top of the world right now. You shake the man's hand for diplomacy's sake. You don't hug and caress him.

It's just so god damned pathetic how naive people are. What's happening here is that South Korea learned to live under a nuclear DPRK a long time ago. What they can't abide is constantly ratcheting up brinksmanship that is eagerly stoked by a senile reality tv star with the strongest military in the history of the world at his beck and call.

China, RoK, and DPRK have cooked up this appeasement scheme to dupe Trump into thinking he's quelled the DPRK threat. DPRK will keep its nuclear weapons (the announcement that they've completed their nuclear weapons program and no longer need the facility they're shutting down should have been a good indicator of DPRK's intentions for people that were too blind to them up until now) and as we can see here, the Kim regime gets boatloads of photo opportunities, diplomatic prestige, increased security internally, increased legitimacy externally and inevitably sanctions relief. China will benefit from further DPRK stability and increased trade opportunities (and leverage on Trump as well). And South Korea gets to see the sabre-rattling cease and they receive the same benefits China does from prolonged security for Kim regime. They don't want to deal with that humanitarian crisis either. Trump gets a plaque on his wall that says "Best Negotiator Ever" and a polaroid of a North Korean testing facility with a "closed" sign on the gate.

But don't let me get in the way of everyone "awwwwww"ing over this like it's a picture of a cat hugging a golden retriever. Bunch of rubes.

edit: Can't wait to see all the memes come out of this. Kim Jong Un is gonna have his image rehabilitated the same way GWB did lol... But I don't want this to just a useless rant yelling at silly people. So, before you guys start memeing up KJU let me give you guys a short reading list of DPRK books I've greatly enjoyed (I've been fascinated with DPRK for at least a decade):

  • Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea. This is a great firsthand account of an "inner" party member who lived the relatively high life in Pyongyang as a propagandist.

  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Exactly what it sounds like: biographies of normal people who live(d) in DPRK over the last 30 years. This book is shocking, sickening, heart wrenching, triumphant, and any other superlative descriptor you can think of. Can't recommend it enough.

  • Aquariums of Pyongyang. Nothing to Envy describes gulag life in detail but this book delves into it exclusively and I found myself enthralled but revolted at the same time. You'll have to take breaks to process the horror and atrocities it describes.

    So yeah, check any of those books out then come back here and see if you're still inclined to "oooo" and "awww" and talk about how sweet this is.
u/chasingliacrazy · -1 pointsr/Music
u/citaworvk · -2 pointsr/history

This book is pretty relevant...

I should also point out that some discredit this work.

u/Mrslinger85 · -2 pointsr/history
u/LukaCola · -2 pointsr/todayilearned

If this sounds surprising, I suggest people read the book "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea"

Amazon linky

It's nice because it doesn't just focus on what is horrible but also speaks about the people's lives, their thoughts, feelings, dreams, etc. It's very humanizing, especially when some of the people written about talk about how much they loved their leader and worked to meet the party's desires.

I think the thing that kind of surprised me was how, after the death of one of the Jongs, everyone basically competed with each other to appear sad and distraught in their public mournings. After all, someone who didn't express this might be seen as subversive. Her description of it all is far better than mine, it's a good book.

u/Deesooy · -2 pointsr/Art

Weren't we done with this type of imagery ?

u/thefilthyviewer · -3 pointsr/Israel

ethnic cleansing:

According to Benny Morris, Ben Gurion in 1938 said:

"I support compulsory [Palestinian Arab population] transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral."

So, spare me your denials...its as disgusting as Holocaust deniers.

As for bombing people...oooohhh, where do I begin...shall I start with the car bombings, letter bombings, and other terror attacks by the Irgun and Haganah? Shall I talk of the slaughter of Palestinians between 1948-1950 who were trying to return home? The Massacres in 1955? What about 1956? Shall I speak of 1967? Shall I talk off the attack on Lebanon in 1978? Or the bombing of Beirut in 1982 that killed 20,000 civilians? Or how about the bombing of Lebanon in the mid-90s? 2006? Shall I speak of Gaza 2008 and the horrid ghetto it is now?
Ohhh so, so much blood and destruction...all for your glory, o Israel.

u/FBernadotte · -3 pointsr/Israel

>It is just being pointed, by_the_Palestinians_themselves that the main cause of their leaving was the Arab attack

Lord, I guess when you drink that Zionist kool-aid you often start to hallucinate. Pray tell, which Palestinians "point out" that the main reason they fled or were forced out of their homes was the "Arab attack"? Better go back to munching on your urinal cake.

The main reason for the flight of the Palestinians was the deliberate intent by the Zionists to expel them. This sad fact is burned into Palestinian consciousness. The cognitive dissonance must be painful for you when you're reminded about these matters, so you resort to such absurdities as to pretend that Palestinians believe themselves to blame!

u/pmg1986 · -4 pointsr/eu4

Not sure how you could take Asian history courses without being introduced to this, but if you haven't read it, I suggest you do. If you have, I find it bizarre you would make a mod like this...

u/Sr_Carlos_Danger · -7 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

I seriously doubt that was the problem that they had with using simplified definitions over nuanced ones (and yeah, there's a big, important difference between or-ee-ent-tal-ism and Orientalism) in a discussion that was clearly complicated enough to call for them was that those were the "white man's" definitions. Unless, of course, you went to college in a blaxploitation movie, in which case I have so, so many more questions for you.

u/shylock · -8 pointsr/AskReddit

Here's a good place to start. It's written by a jewish israeli guy, so it's obviosly biased to a degree in favor of israel... however I don't think you could get a book more honest than this published in the west. You couldn't get one published that was nearly this honest if it had not been written by a jewish israeli.