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Christopher

Chicago, IL, United States

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  • Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Blaine Harden
    • Narrated By Blaine Harden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (547)
    Performance
    (482)
    Story
    (488)

    North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped - but Shin Dong-hyuk did.

    Amanda says: "Worthwhile, but difficult on many levels."
    "One tough listen but a story everyone should hear"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Escape from Camp 14?

    The no frills, matter-of-factness with which the details of life in a labor camp are laid out gave it a gut-wrenching punch thats difficult to describe. There were some chapters I had to stop in the middle of just to fathom how hellish and how 'other' reality is for this country. Some images and scenes will be forever burned into memory. The comparison this book made that has yet to leave me now months after reading this is that concentration camps in Nazi Germany, in many cases (Aushwitz for example) were open for only 3 years. These North Korean labor camps have been running for 50 years, starving entire generations and in some ways creating even more insidious torture for people who are born, raised and die there without ever knowing a different life. You cannot read this book and keep your world view intact, it will be changed.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Shin of course was a captivating character. A balanced portrayal of a life scarred in so many ways and yet resilient. You want to hug him, hate him, cry for him, sometimes all at the same time.


    Which character – as performed by Blaine Harden – was your favorite?

    The absence of dramatic effects, almost like a black and white film vs an over the top computer generated film give the facts this story roll out a piercing quality that pokes all the way to the reader's soul. Seriously, I did have to stop and digest some of the scenes and ask myself how far can humanity really go when turned on itself.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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