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Publisher's Summary

Throughout the late 1970s and early '80s, dozens of Japanese citizens were abducted from coastal Japanese towns by North Korean commandos. In what proved to be part of a global project, North Korea attempted to reeducate the abductees and train them to spy on the state's behalf. When the project faltered, the abductees were hidden in a series of guarded communities known as "Invitation-Only Zones" - the fiction being that these were exclusive enclaves, not prisons.

In 2002, Kim Jong Il admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens and returned five of them (the other eight, he said, had died). From the moment that Robert S. Boynton first saw a photograph of these men and women, he became obsessed with the window their story provided into the vexed politics of Northeast Asia. In The Invitation-Only Zone, he untangles the logic behind the kidnappings and shows why some Japanese citizens described them as "their 9/11". He tells the story of how dozens were abducted and reeducated; how they married and had children; and how they lived anonymously as North Korean citizens. He speaks with nationalists, diplomats, abductees, and even crab fishermen, unearthing the bizarre North Korean propaganda tactics and the peculiar cultural interests of both countries.

A deeply reported, thoroughly researched treatise on the power struggle of one of the most important areas in the global economy, Boynton's keen investigation is riveting and revelatory.

©2016 Robert S. Boynton (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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Over enthusiastic reader!

I prefer books to be read , not performed . I felt this narrator's delivery detracted from the content. I couldn't and won't listen to him again. Book content is OK, but doesn't draw any good conclusions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Amazing research

Robert does an amazing job humanizing the sad and tangled stories of each abductee. His ability to provide context was the highlight for me.

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Waste of a credit

If you are having trouble sleeping then this book is perfect. It's beyond boring.

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A story now told.

Would you listen to The Invitation-Only Zone again? Why?

I would

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Invitation-Only Zone?

The kidnappings being admitted to.

What aspect of Ralph Lister’s performance would you have changed?

I would've hired John Lee as narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not that I can recall.

Any additional comments?

A must-have for anyone wishing to learn more about North Korea.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful