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Few understand the complexities of the isolated nation North Korea. (

Questions About North Korea? What To Read To Understand

Feb 20, 2013 (Talk of the Nation)

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North Korea's third test of nuclear devices turned the eyes of the world onto the isolated nation and heightened fears that the country could become a nuclear power. The North Korean government emphasized that the goal of these tests is to eventually target the United States, "the sworn enemy of the Korean people."

The history of the country and the circumstances that created this animosity toward the U.S. remain unknown to many Americans.

"[North Korea] is, of course, the most closed society in the world," American Enterprise Institute researcher Nicolas Eberstadt tells NPR's Jennifer Ludden. "It is the closest thing to a perfect totalitarian dictatorship we have on the planet at the moment."

Eberstadt, who has written several books about North Korea including The North Korean Economy: Between Crisis and Catastrophe, says we're learning more about the country than ever before. Eberstadt shares his suggestions for the books and sources that shed light on the history of the nation and its international relations.

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