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)
I recommend buying this book.
This is North Korean escapee is unique since he should not have made it and he was born in the camps. The odds are astronomical.
Overall, the story was well researched and prefaced by the author. He gave good background material on the local, national, and international trends and conditions that provides the context for those not familiar with Korea. One thing that escapes the author, the escapee, and the general activist community why these camps are tolerated is that China needs North Korea since it is useful to them and no one from the other side (Japan, US, and RoK except the older generation) is interested in the expensive and dangerous unification with the PnK. The people in these camps will continue to suffer, live, and die horribly.
I would not, it was too heartbreaking, but I am glad I did
How in the camps it was truly every person for themselves, even your family would steal from you. It was all about self preservation.
There is not favorite scene from this book- the part about his escape was the most intriguing
Going under the electric wires
Today this brave soul lives 10 minutes from me.
This is one of the top books I've listened to, but I also have an interest in what goes on in NK so that may have affected my interest.
There were so many it is hard to list. This story is powerful
To me, a must read!
I couldn't stop listening to this story. Its horrible to imagine that between 150,000 and 200,000 people are currently living in North Korean prison camps today. That the prisoners were physically abused is horrible, but what they go through emotionally is even more astounding. I have several friends who have read or listened to this book and without an exception we all found it fascinating. I highly recommend this book.
Out of this world story. I cannot believe it's true. Stories like this are why I prefer non-fiction over fiction.
I don't know. Mostly he was fine but once I realized it sounded like 2 people were reading it in the middle of sentences, it became difficult to listen without distraction. It seemed as if they went back in later & re stated portions of sentences. Therefore volume & inflection can vary in a single sentence. It's not terribly often but once I noticed it, it drove me a little nutty. If you haven't listened yet, try to forget I mentioned this. The story is incredible & this quirk is easily overlooked.
Definitely worth a read! The story is captivating and gives, hopefully, a truthful insight of the North Korean imprisonment. The regime's terror and general abuse of its people is unbelievable. Interesting and frightening all the way through.
I am a journalist and editor. I help people write personal, persuasive essays. It's fun work!
I would listen to this again if I feel I have forgotten how much evil there is in North Korea. This book is so sad. The worst part is that it is all verifiable. I found myself looking things up on Google and then just shaking my head in disbelief.
The writer does a great job of telling the story through the eyes of the escapee, but he also keeps us grounded by noting when things don't add up or when the story has changed over time. It's not just an emotional punch to the gut. It's factual.
Well, he's a better writer than narrator. He had little inflection in his voice. But no worries. He's a great writer!
You need to understand North Korea
Not a fairy tale
The description of him escaping from the camp.
This is a real story. No fairy tale happy ending here. This audio book will open your eyes to some of the horrific things occurring in North Korea.
An Amazing Story
Reads like a novel, but is very telling and educational about life in North Korea.
I would--there's so much information of the current North Korea that I know I missed pertinent information.
It seemed like at random times, a different voice was dubbed in. It made it distracting while listening.
I would highly recommend for everyone to check out LINK, the human rights organization that was mentioned in the book.
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