Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, William A. Boik

Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, William A. Boik (ISBN 970-0-615-19087-7, DBM Press, LC, 6412 Brandon Ave., #123, Springfield, VA 22150; Web site: www.dbmpress.com. Softcover,  8-1/2” x 10 3/4”, 120 pages, more than 300 color photos, 2008, $37.95).
   
    Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the first detailed color study of North Korean orders, decorations, and medals to be published and readily available to the western market.
   
    Featuring more the 300 color photos, the author illustrates and explains the significance of North Korean orders and medals. Whereas the obverse and reverse of each medal is shown, there are also photos illustrating the variations of each award, the award certificates and cases.
   
    Appendices in the book will serve collectors as well: The first provides the total number of awards presented during the Korean War  to both North Koreans and the Chinese People’s Army volunteers. The second lists the order of precendence for the awards — valuable for ascertaining proper display. The third shows the ribbons for each award and, finally, there is a very useful reference establishing estimated values for each award.
   
    Though Orders…is a groundbreaking work, it is unfortunate that more attention was not given to the photography. Far too many images are digitized, rendering them useless except for superficial identification purposes. Furthermore, the choice of a bright red background for each image may appear symbolic of the Communist nature of the subject, but it creates a very difficult viewing environment in which to study the medals, often blending with the enamel surfaces of the actual awards. Nevertheless, the volume will be a welcome source for anyone with an interest in the awards of the DPRK. —John Adams-Graf 

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