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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.
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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 (67 )
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  •  
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 07-12-14
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 07-12-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cammarata 07-12-14
    Cammarata 07-12-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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!!!


    3 of 3 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
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    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-05-14
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 07-05-14 Member Since 2010
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam G 07-04-14
    Sam G 07-04-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marin Goleta, CA, USA 07-26-14
    Marin Goleta, CA, USA 07-26-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Unbelieveable!"
    Where does Dear Leader rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The combination of an exciting personal narrative with shocking expose about what goes on in North Korea as recently as 10 years ago blew me away. I loved this book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara A. Russell Sedona, AZ United States 07-26-14
    Barbara A. Russell Sedona, AZ United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2002

    Triadbooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Prepare to see the layers of truth revealed"
    What did you love best about Dear Leader?

    The slow unfolding of the authors change of heart and willingness to ask himself the difficult questions. After all, he was priviledged, well fed and taken care of physically. To willingly work himself out of the labrinthe of lies and deceit was amazing to me.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I didn't have a favorite character. Jang and all those he worked with and those who helped him were fascinating to me. Looking forward to hearing more from the author.


    What about Daniel York’s performance did you like?

    I have not listened to any other performances by Daniel York before this. I can say only that he was remarkable in making the entire story come to life and believable.


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

    A Manual on how to lie to the world and get away with it!


    Any additional comments?

    It's hard after listening to this book to not go off on a political rant, but I think I'll do that elsewhere.
    Well worth the listen. I agree with the reviewer who mentioned after hearing these truths it is very difficult to pay attention to our petty little problems.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 07-24-14
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 07-24-14 Member Since 2011

    Dr. Jim Fox -- Former College Professor and Mental Health Therapist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everyone living in a free world should read this!"

    This is a heart-touching story that will make you feel and think deeply. You will get a great insight into how a starving country will allow adults and kids die by the thousands, and yet to keep the world from focusing on that will militarily attack disputed islands and do other things just short of war to keep things confused.

    It shows the depth of evil in a communist dictatorship. Often, I am asked why I back a large western military. The answer to me is simple. Evil lives on. Everyone should read this book (or listen to it via Audible) to obtain a clearer understanding of what can happen in a totally corrupt nation -- even to the "privileged".

    This is a book a thinking person will be very glad they took the time to read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-23-14
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-23-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "North Korea is a giant personality cult"

    I found this book thoroughly interesting, engaging, and thought-provoking. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure whether to believe everything Jang Jin-sung has written here. At several points, it was gut wrenching in the way that those old WWII newsreels are ... you know the ones I mean ... you can't bear to keep looking, but can't bear to look away either. Like with those old films, the most horrifying thing to realize is that this is actually going on in the world right now -- people are living in that place, so deeply deceived and kept under the thumb of one of the most vile regimes known to man.

    If everything Mr. Jin-sung has related here is true, North Korea is a terrible place to live, and its leader(s) are the scum of the earth -- the scum of the scum of the earth. It will indeed be a joyous day when that regime is overthrown.

    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
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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