We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea | [Jang Jin-sung]

Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.
Regular Price:$22.67
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

In this rare insider's view into contemporary North Korea, a high-ranking counterintelligence agent describes his life as a former poet laureate to Kim Jong-il and his breathtaking escape to freedom.

"The General will now enter the room."

Everyone turns to stone. Not moving my head, I direct my eyes to a point halfway up the archway where Kim Jong-il’s face will soon appear.

As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

Never before has a member of the elite described the inner workings of this totalitarian state and its propaganda machine. An astonishing exposé told through the heart-stopping story of Jang Jin-sung's escape to South Korea, Dear Leader is a rare and unprecedented insight into the world’s most secretive and repressive regime.

©2014 Jang Jin-Sung. All rights reserved. (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (35 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (4)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.7 (35 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.8 (34 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 07-12-14
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 07-12-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent View into North Korea"
    Where does Dear Leader rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is an excellent book. I was throughly entertained. I have always wondered how life is inside North Korea.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dear Leader?

    I loved the escape across the River that separates China from North Korea.


    What about Daniel York’s performance did you like?

    Good performance.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to this book on my way back and forth to work.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cammarata 07-12-14
    Cammarata 07-12-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You cant get away from Orwell's "1984"."
    If you could sum up Dear Leader in three words, what would they be?

    Thats easy!! A plagiarist of George Orwell, a pedophile, and a narcissistic sociopath. I am not overstating when I say this book could change your life. Your own problems will simply disappear into an embarrassing haze of utter meaningless. Forget North Korea's violations concerning nuclear proliferation, this government has inflicted genocide using starvation against its people, and should lose their sovereignty. The suffering of the Korean people most notably the execution of the soul is a repeat of man's worst history. Never has a such a high ranking official from North Korea defected and lived to tell about the horror left behind. There is actually a "Room 101" used for practically the same atrocities as in Orwell's 1984. Speechless and heartbroken, there is nothing else to say. A must read!!!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David corpus christi, TX, United States 07-12-14
    David corpus christi, TX, United States 07-12-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stop browsing and get this Book"

    Warning this book my cause you problems at work and or in your relationships. Because once you start listening you can't stop.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-05-14
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-05-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    106
    106
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exposing the truth."
    What made the experience of listening to Dear Leader the most enjoyable?

    All the information revealed to me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dear Leader?

    Jang meeting Kim for the first time.


    Which character – as performed by Daniel York – was your favorite?

    Jang and the other North Koreans.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Truth Exposed.


    Any additional comments?

    A great book about a mysterious government.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam G 07-04-14
    Sam G 07-04-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Rare Glimpse into the North Korean Psyche"
    Any additional comments?

    This work of non-fiction is not only informative, but it also offers the drama of a novel. It's impossible to stop listening once you start.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-17-14
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-17-14 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    464
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    427
    321
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    248
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "richly detailed account of getting out"

    A captivating and richly detailed recap of the authors escape from North Korea. Very interesting to hear exactly how it was done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aimee United States 07-13-14
    Aimee United States 07-13-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Book"
    Where does Dear Leader rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great non fiction book that tells a horrible truth


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed what North Korea is like for the regular people


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sunzal Mexico City 07-11-14
    Sunzal Mexico City 07-11-14 Member Since 2009

    Sunzal

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    99
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't stop listening"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dear Leader to be better than the print version?

    Just an incredible book...better written than the others about north NK. Really heart-wrenching.


    What other book might you compare Dear Leader to and why?

    Esape from the 14th and a few others about NK. This wasn't about the prison camps like those, which I liked. This was about real life during the famine.


    What does Daniel York bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not much...a little overdone with the female characters


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic. Can't stop thinking about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 07-12-14
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 07-12-14 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Book Worth Listening To"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dear Leader to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well, after listening to "Escape From Camp 14" I was prepared for most anything, and that preparation served me well. No one denies that the poor, enslaved souls of North Korea live under a regime second only to Stalin and his Gulag Archipelago (have we forgotten that he murdered almost twice as many people as Herr Hitler?). From that vantage point this book reinforces the notion that the torture of these people is one of the most heinous crimes of this and the last century.

    With that in mind we find ourselves at "Mr. Jin-sung's" book. Does it stand as fiction, the truth, or on ground somewhere in between. I say the latter and for the following reasons:
    1) The circumstances of his escape are too incredible to be believed. His month long journey at times rings impossible and leaves the listener in a state of bewilderment. Maybe it was written as it was for good reasons, but it is hard to believe that his trip occurred as he would have us believe;
    2) The grammar and sometimes use of Western phrases raises the suspicion that his ghost writer (and I surely do believe there was one) added a Western tone that I found obvious and disturbing;
    3) The author comes off as too naive by half. He wants the listener to believe that at the tender age of 27 he worked his way into the very CLOSEST circles of Dear Leader, I mean among the top ten, if not five, confidants, and yet when he is in China he finds the culture and "wealth" there incomprehensible. For a man whose job partially included the task of learning to think like a South Korean by learning everything he could about them this unending litany of shock over encountering a culture in northern China-not far removed from South Korea-as a bit much.

    Okay, even with those flaws I recommend the listen. The description of how North Korea and its "government" worked in the 1990s and early 2000s (which I chose in the main to take at face value) leaves one speechless.


    Did Daniel York do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    OK but that is not a reason to listen to the book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Only as set out above.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 07-14-14
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 07-14-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    56
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unbelievable--really."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who doesn't mind fiction portrayed as non fiction.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    This is not a question related to Dear Leader.


    Have you listened to any of Daniel York’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    To my knowledge I haven't.


    Any additional comments?

    I feel this is a book BASED on fact. It's impossible to believe it all. It is poorly written. I hope the author is held to account for selling mostly-fiction as non fiction.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.