North Koreans could change the world. Today their country can annihilate South Korea and Japan. By 2020 their aim is to have submarine-launched missiles able to nuke the US mainland.
So who are the North Koreans? What do they think and feel? Are they belligerent automatons, indoctrinated by years of propaganda, with fingers hovering over trigger buttons? Or simply ordinary men and women who have been shaped by fear or national idolisation, willing to do anything to be accepted and to survive?
To answer these question, photographer Nick Danziger and author Rory MacLean, two of today's most sensitive chroniclers, travelled across the country, meeting farmers, fishermen and the captain of the national football team. They spent a morning one hundred metres underground with a 22-year-old subway train dispatcher and afternoons at the capital's dolphinarium, a lavish entertainment complex created to convince North Koreans of their prosperity. At the Museum of the Victorious Fatherland War, as the Korean War is known in the country, they spoke to a much-decorated national hero who boasted, 'When I was eighteen years old I shot and killed 367 enemy soldiers.'
From the spotless streets of Pyongyang to the pine-fringed beaches of Wonsan, along the Youth Hero Road, an all-but-deserted strategic highway built by some 50,000 conscripts out of 'patriotic duty', Danziger and MacLean create a telling portrait of both ordinary and extraordinary North Koreans, catching a glimpse of real life in the world's most secretive nation, at a turning point in its - and our - history.
'Danziger is the stuff that legends are made of.' -- Literary Review
'One of the world's top photojournalists.' -- Practical Photographer
'Rory MacLean is more than a gifted writer. He is a man whose artistry is underpinned by a powerful moral sensibility.' - Fergal Keane, BBC
'MacLean is one of the most strikingly original and talented travel writers of his generation.' - Katie Hickman