‘Maps, guide books and internet access were all denied to me as I travelled in North Korea. The daily journal which I wrote up every evening was the only way I could record my personal impressions of this eccentric land. And I lived with the daily fear that I might lose that as well. Fortunately we left the country together, my journals and me. And they have quite a story to tell.’ – Michael Palin
The book behind the Channel 5 documentary – a glimpse of life inside the world’s most secretive country, as told by Britain’s best-loved travel writer.
In May 2018, former Monty Python stalwart, author and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal, where the countryside has barely moved beyond a centuries-old peasant economy, but where the cities have gleaming skyscrapers and luxurious underground train stations.
His resulting documentary for Channel 5 was widely acclaimed. Now he shares his day-by-day diary of his visit, in which he describes not only what he saw – and his fleeting views of what the authorities didn’t want him to see – but recounts the conversations he had with the country’s inhabitants, talks candidly about his encounters with officialdom, and records his musings about a land wholly unlike any other he has ever visited – one that inspires fascination and fear in equal measure.
Written with Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.