North Korea’s prison camps are roundly condemned as heinous, but remain untouched. When an idealistic young reporter takes on a mission to help shut them down—bearing Hemingway and Vollmann in mind—he winds up on the doorstep of the Embassy of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.
This past winter and much of the spring, I sank into a deep funk with too many steaks, too many beers, too many late nights, and almost zero exercise. Everything, from personal motivation and work ethic through to relationships, was grinding to a halt.
Hoping to kick-start a change, I decided to live the U.S. government’s definition of a healthy lifestyle for a month. My hope was that I could replace my lethargy and slobbiness with physical activity and greater mental resilience. If similar experiments in masochistic, time-specific life changes—everything from Super Size Me to The Year of Living Biblically—were to be believed, enlightenment was just a short burst of extremism away.