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The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot Audiobook

The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Escape from Camp 14, the murderous rise of North Korea's founding dictator and the fighter pilot who faked him out

In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot, New York Times best-selling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deception - and escape.

As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That was until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly $1 million today). The theft - just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953 - electrified the world and incited Kim's bloody vengeance.

During the Korean War, the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans.

Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kim's shadowy rise as well as from never-before-released US intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the world's longest-lasting totalitarian state.

©2015 Blaine Harden (P)2015 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jfm 08-09-15
    Jfm 08-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story"

    Didn't expect to hear so much about Kim il sung as well as the Korean War in general. I recommend this audiobook. The performance was really clear and comprehendible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor Of The Nati 11-27-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Didn't expect such a gripping story"

    love love love it. I had listened to and thoroughly enjoyed Escape from Camp 14, another of the authors books, but I still didn't expect this to be so good. My standard for a good audio book is if it keeps me driving around town just to listen. This one hit that mark. I found myself running numerous errands that I either made up, or had been putting off for some time, just to keep listening. Worth a listen not only for the historical perspective about the founder of the DPRK, but also the very personal story about a man who had had enough and decided to take his chances with his enemy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ernest Newton, NJ, United States 08-04-15
    Ernest Newton, NJ, United States 08-04-15 Member Since 2011
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    "An important story."

    This story is very important for Americans because most of us know very little about the formation of North Korea. Knowing some of the history helps in understanding their actions today.
    The other half of the story adds a wonderful personal touch to the book. I enjoyed learning about this pilots journey to reach America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ar 07-01-15
    ar 07-01-15
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    "Seriously an amazing and enjoyable story"
    What did you love best about The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot?

    The narrative kept moving, switching scenes seamlessy, and kept you wanting to know what happened next. It was full of fun insights and small quirks that other histories would overlook.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Obviously the fighter pilot himself. He's got moxie.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

    THANKFULLY Mark Bramhall had the good sense not to Perform Characters in various voices, etc. he just told the story like I was reading the book, without the goofy kids-play accents and whatnot.


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

    Not really, but thats not to say it wasn't great. It's greatness was spread so equally that no particular moment was just SO amazing. Other than the climax, but thats sort of by definition what you would expect.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fun story for just about anyone, and not too long. It's going to be especially great if you like history, or have any fascination with the utter bizarreness that is North Korea. Surprisingly, it had a lot of Korean War info in general regarding the state of affairs as the war went on, between US, Korean, Chinese, and USSR forces. Kind of was expecting, for some reason, it not go into to much actual military or political history outside of this guys story, but was pleasantly surprised!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Destiny 05-06-15
    Destiny 05-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful written book"

    The tie between the fighter pilot and the North Korean leader was on point. I wanted to understand how this country came to be. This book did not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Apgar Midwest U.S. 04-02-15
    K. Apgar Midwest U.S. 04-02-15

    book and music fiend

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    "Fantastic listen"

    A great story that lends itself to a fantastic Audible experience. Mark Bramhall is officially my favorite Audiblizer. Nicely done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan 03-31-15
    Evan 03-31-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Must read!! Amazing insight into N. Korea"

    What a story! I'm 34, born and raised in California, so needless to say I do not know a lot about the history of North Korea. Learned a lot from this book. Kenneth is an amazing man, thanks for sharing your story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Carl V. LaGrotteria 03-27-15
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    "Outstanding character development !"

    The book develops the main character flawlessly. there is also a ck ear picture
    of the ineptitude government in North Korea.
    it's hard to believe that the dictators in North Korea :continue to survive in a state of economic decay and enslavement of the people. great read filled with copious historical information. I highly recommend this book. Carl

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Guerin Shea Nashville, TN USA 03-25-15
    Guerin Shea Nashville, TN USA 03-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Tale of two citizens"

    Breezily finished this fine work in 6 days. I loved the excellent illustration of the immense chasm of the lives of "The Great Leader" and an ordinary airman who saw through the deceit and with remarkable courage left his home to start a new life. The only thing lacking for me was that I wanted a more complete picture of Kim Il Sung, but even 70 years after his rise to absolute power that still isn't available to us.

    I heartily recommend this book - it is a testament to both the damnable shame of human oppression and the indomitable resilience of the human spirit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Rj 03-22-15
    Rj 03-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A parallel between a defector and dictator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    As long as my friend was interested in, and had some knowledge of north Korea, yes.

    If someone wasn't already interested and craving more information about north Korea and those who escape, or who have an interest in the US government, i don't think this would be enjoyable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There arent many options. I found the information about kim more interesting than the pilot. It is surprising the inside information about kim.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scenes were fast and moved quickly without really delving in about feeling. I understand this was written a long time after the events took place, but my favourite scenes involved project moula and the following events.


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

    No, the story wasn't meant to give a strong emotional impact. At least i hope not, it came accross very detached.


    Any additional comments?

    Despite my comments, I enjoyed the story. It's hard to compare this to " Nothing to envy" or " dear leader", both of which have the gritty, real experience that i hate to be fascinated by in memoirs about North Korea. Its not on the same level, but has a lot of information and and interesting look at the early years of how the dictatorship got started. I loved it while i listened, but a day later and I dont remember the story like i still remember events from the previously mentioned memiors (nte, dear leader)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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