Palin is candid in this book about feeling there is something missing: ‘They’ve been playing a game with us. We have been indulged, but never fully informed.’ He recognises that the country he is shown is, for the most part, fake. But his desire to find something good is overriding... [T]he book doesn’t do much to make us feel we know the North Koreans. Palin’s writing lacks the vigour of his presenting; it isn’t as evocative or inspiring as it should be when describing somewhere so cut off from the rest of the world. The documentary — showing scenes of rejoicing, dancing and eating — manages this to a greater degree. It makes a big difference to see a smiling face rather than having one described.