Without You There Is No Us Book Summary - Without You There Is No Us Book explained in key points

Without You There Is No Us summary

Suki Kim

My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

Listen to the first key idea

Key idea 1 of 9
4.5 (11 ratings)
16 mins
9 key ideas
Audio & text

What is Without You There Is No Us about?

North Korea is a closed society into which very few people are able to peek. This book is the story of an American journalist who got into the country by posing as an English teacher. She recounts her astonishing experiences and paints a very human picture of the country that so few are privileged to see. The phrase “Without You There Is No Us” comes from a chilling patriotic hymn sung twice a day, every day by the author’s students, expressing their devotion to their Great Leader,  Kim Jong-il.

About the Author

Suki Kim is a Korean-American journalist, writer and scholar. Her debut novel, The Interpreter, won the PEN Beyond Margins Award. To write this book, she lived in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea as an English teacher at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

Table of Contents
    Key idea 1 of 9

    It’s extremely difficult to get into North Korea.

    The first problem with investigating the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is getting in. Suki Kim had an interesting strategy: she went in with a group of missionaries, disguised as a volunteer English teacher.

    If the North Korean authorities had known she was actually a Western journalist, they never would’ve allowed her into the country. Very few tourists are allowed in, and it’s especially difficult if you’re South Korean or American – the United States is the “imperialist enemy,” after all.

    On average, fewer than 2,000 Westerners are granted access each year, and visas – as you might’ve guessed – are quite difficult to come by.

    It takes a very long time to process a North Korean visa because it has to be approved by so many people. Even after Kim’s visa was approved, 35 North Korean government agencies had to stamp it before it could be released.

    There’s another problem, too: you have to get your visa from a North Korean embassy or consulate, but very few countries have them, so you need help from a country that does. American citizens have to go all the way to Beijing to get their visas!

    North Korean visas are also typically issued just before the visitor’s trip is supposed to start. Kim was approved as a teacher for the summer semester of 2011, but didn’t get her visa until late June. Her lessons started on 4 July, so she was in quite a rush. You can’t buy your plane tickets until you have your visa, so after the long wait, you have to hurry up to get there on time.

    Once you get there, the craziness has only just begun.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Without You There Is No Us?

    Key ideas in Without You There Is No Us

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    Who should read Without You There Is No Us

    • Anyone intrigued by this enigmatic country
    • Anyone interested in a first-hand account by a person who actually lived in North Korea
    • Anyone who wants to learn more about North Korea’s cruel and unusual treatment of its citizens

    Categories with Without You There Is No Us

    What our members say

    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    25 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial