The shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.
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.
In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and, through the lens of Shin’s life, unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence: he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.
Blaine Harden is a contributor to the Economist and has formerly served as the Washington Post’s bureau chief in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. He is the author of Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent and A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
©2012 Blaine Harden (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“If you have a soul, you will be changed forever by Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14…Harden masterfully allows us to know Shin, not as a giant but as a man, struggling to understand what was done to him and what he was forced to do to survive. By doing so, Escape from Camp 14 stands as a searing indictment of a depraved regime and a tribute to all those who cling to their humanity in the face of evil.” (Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times best-selling author of Lost in Shangri-La)
“This is a story unlike any other…More so than any other book on North Korea, including my own, Escape from Camp 14 exposes the cruelty that is the underpinning of Kim Jong Il’s regime. Blaine Harden, a veteran foreign correspondent from the Washington Post, tells this story masterfully…The integrity of this book shines through on every page.” (Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea)
“With a protagonist born into a life of backbreaking labor, cutthroat rivalries, and a nearly complete absence of human affection, Harden’s book reads like a dystopian thriller. But this isn’t fiction - it’s the biography of Shin Dong-hyuk.” (Publishers Weekly)
This man's story surprised me and changed my perception on North Korea. I love how after all the pain and struggles he went through, he found his faith in Christ. Thank you.
Ani Rotseh Likroh
The story is compelling g and will keep you engaged. But the book is written as a piece of journalism and not as a story or biography. Still, it is well worth your time. It is good journalism. It is not great literature
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes I feel like the narrator, also the author, didn't even try to learn how to pronounce the Korean he used before speaking it. Hence the slightly lower performance rating.
As I listened to the story, I often found that my allergies were acting up because my eyes would water. In all reality, this book gives an amazing and great breaking look into a NK Political prisoners life from birth to after defection.
After living in Korea for 2 years, I am always interested in news from the north. I'm constantly wondering why more is not done and what I can do to help the conditions there. This book sheds light from a different perspective and drives home how truly different the world is from inside North Korea than it is from outside. And, the fact that even if were to all change today- it will take generations to undo the damage the Kim family
has done to North Korean family.
The story is at once riveting and repulsive. We listened as a family on a long drive. My elderly father finally had enough and removed his hearing aids and ignored us. It is hard to fathom the level of inhumanity. And even as you grasp and accept it you have to come to terms with the reality that this mans experience is not unique. It is in fact going on right now today. That I think was the worst part.
This book reads like a series of articles awkwardly strung together. The author throws in unrelated material at odd times in Shin's timeline. He then writes "Shin wasn't aware of these events..." to tie it in. Shin overcomes hardship, but this book's delivery does not.
The story is enjoyable. There were sound issues in a few sections but it was nothing big and the story was compelling enough that it didn't matter.
I loved the part of the book where he says that people in concentration camps have been more likely to survive when they were in pairs and then he references people who knew Anne Frank. Those people say that Anne Frank never lost her will to live because of sickness, starvation or the abuse but rather after her sister died. Shin on the other hand never knew the kind of bond Anne Frank had with her sister until he met Park who was improsined when he returned to North Korea. When he formed that bond, this was when he got the will to move forward and try to escape the camp. Even in the most horrifying circumstances, it isn't ruthlessnes that will get you out alive but a simple bond. Some love and friendship that many of us take for granted.
This book is so informative and moving. Please read it!
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