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Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West | [Blaine Harden]

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

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (804 )
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3.9 (708 )
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Performance
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  •  
    A. Abbott South Dakota 11-23-14
    A. Abbott South Dakota 11-23-14 Member Since 2014

    Madam Music

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Book - But Be Careful!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is an amazing book and, besides educational, it is very moving. The narration was also fabulous. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of our World and humanity, but I must add this warning: It is poignantly depressing. The horrors written about within this book are still ongoing for millions of people in North Korea. The fact that these events took place so recently, and are still ongoing with no end in sight, 'set me off' into a depressive episode that lasted longer than the period it took to read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 09-16-14
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 09-16-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Good Story, Terrible Narration"

    I'm normally wary of books read by the author, but this one takes the cake. Blaine Harden blows through punctuation relentlessly throughout the entire book, making it a massive run-on sentence. The actual story is well-written, but the manner of the narration just kept making me lose interest to the point that I'd zone out and have to re-listen to whole chapters to figure out what I missed. The story is worth hearing, but if you can find the time to read the book instead, I recommend going that route.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    burkanuck 05-13-14
    burkanuck 05-13-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Amazing Story"
    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    His struggle with understanding what most of us just consider normalcy after being raised in utterly inhuman conditions.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of his speech at the end of the book.


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the book was excellent. This story is absolutely amazing, in particular, how everything fell into place at the exact right time in the exact right way for his escape to be possible.
    I enjoy authors reading their books but Blaine was a little bit less expressive than I would have hoped.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margret Berkeley, CA, United States 05-05-14
    Margret Berkeley, CA, United States 05-05-14
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    "Was looking forward to it"
    Would you try another book from Blaine Harden and/or Blaine Harden?

    I was not impressed with this book. The story could have been compelling but I found the whole telling of the story to be a list of atrocities - which this man's life was, but the author did not create a way for me to want to hear it all. I stopped after only 6 chapters...it was enough.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mike Barrie, Ontario, Canada 03-02-14
    mike Barrie, Ontario, Canada 03-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "HOW CAN THE HUMEN RACE BE SO CRUEL & SICK"
    What made the experience of listening to Escape from Camp 14 the most enjoyable?

    JUST A SHOCKING BOOK!!!!!


    Any additional comments?

    In this day & age there is just no reason for such sick & disgusting behavior. Men like that should be ELIMINATED cuz theres just no saving scum like those who thought up of such a place!!!! what a book!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 01-15-14
    Stephen 01-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Escape from Camp 14 - An Unique Defector"

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Long beach, ca 12-04-13
    Denise Long beach, ca 12-04-13

    online shopper

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Haunting"
    Would you listen to Escape from Camp 14 again? Why?

    I would not, it was too heartbreaking, but I am glad I did


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    How in the camps it was truly every person for themselves, even your family would steal from you. It was all about self preservation.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There is not favorite scene from this book- the part about his escape was the most intriguing


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Going under the electric wires


    Any additional comments?

    Today this brave soul lives 10 minutes from me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Visalia, CA, United States 11-15-13
    David Visalia, CA, United States 11-15-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome, Engaging, and Powerful"
    Where does Escape from Camp 14 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Escape from Camp 14?

    There were so many it is hard to list. This story is powerful


    Any additional comments?

    To me, a must read!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John N. Berg Portland, Oregon 08-30-13
    John N. Berg Portland, Oregon 08-30-13 Member Since 2014

    buddhapop

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating and Horrifying"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Bard 07-16-13
    H. Bard 07-16-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Riveting story but narrator a bit distracting"
    What did you love best about Escape from Camp 14?

    Out of this world story. I cannot believe it's true. Stories like this are why I prefer non-fiction over fiction.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Blaine Harden’s performances?

    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.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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