Much of the secretive nation's early history has been airbrushed to serve the regime's current propaganda and control needs.
Beyond nuclear sabre-rattling, North Korea spooks investors with its attitudes toward profit repatriation and managerial flexibility.
Kim Jong Un's government understands that markets are politically dangerous, but can do little about them.
Veteran North Korea watcher suggests democracy is a bridge too far and China's path might appeal to Pyongyang rulers.
Roads, power, and phone lines take second place to heavy industry and weapons programs in North Korea, a noted expert says.
Lack of interest in economy, condemnation of Chinese reforms, are troubling omens for the country's future.
Younger South Koreans do not see unification with destitute North as the only future outcome.