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Publisher's Summary

Eunsun Kim was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. As a child, Eunsun loved her country...despite her school field trips to public executions, daily self-criticism sessions, and the increasing gnaw of hunger as the countrywide famine escalated. By the time she was 11 years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun too was in danger of starving. Finally her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Told with grace and courage, her memoir is a riveting exposé of North Korea's totalitarian regime and, ultimately, a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

©2012 Éditions Michel Lafon (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A sobering account of survival of the fittest in North Korea by a young woman on the run for nearly a decade." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 03-25-16

Not Much New Here, but Courage and Hope to Spare

There are so many defector books out now that it takes quite a bit to distinguish one from the other. There are plenty of books about North Korea also.
If you're really, really interested in North Korea, I suggest "Nothing to Envy," here on Audible. If, however, you've not been introduced to stories from defectors, "A Thousand Miles to Freedom" is quite fine indeed. Eunsun is a strong, courageous young woman and her story deserves to be heard. You'll learn of the famine in the 90's, the terrifying reality of crossing the border, life in China (where things are supposed to be great), selling body, soul, and family for a chance, just a chance for a life without so much hunger and suffering.
And it's extraordinary to watch (or should I say, listen) as Eunsun realizes that she's lived a life of brainwashing, where no one is allowed to question or to think for themselves.
All along the way, her despair, her anger, her fear are palpable, and Emily Woo Zeller turns in a good performance.
If you've listened or are addicted to defector memoirs, there's really not much new here, but it's definitely worth it as a half-credit or Daily Deal. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just that it's really fairly short and there are so many, many other memoirs out now. But Eunsun is admirable and what she and her family went through is harrowing and worth the listen. Pretty edge-of-your-seat stuff, with plenty of courage and hope to go around.

91 of 99 people found this review helpful

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A powerful and moving true life story

This book was exceptionally well written and narrated. Eunsun Kim has done an exceptional job in providing us with an honest and revealing true story of the horrors of The North Korean dictatorship and the struggles of the people of that country, whether they remain there, or whether they struggle to escape.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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An unforgettable story written from the heart.

What do you do when the government food store just closes up and doesn't reopen? There are places where you can buy food but you don't have any money at all. As she and her mother struggle to survive, they travel far and experience unbelievably rough times. Eunsun Kim does a great job conveying the both what it was like to grow up in North Korea during better times, and the amazing journey to freedom. The description of the escape into Mongolia was particularly gripping. When in the end, she makes her way to true freedom, it is a real pleasure when she finally gets to experience a much better life.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful story

Where does A Thousand Miles to Freedom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 3

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

All the problems they incurred in China

Any additional comments?

This was one of the best true stories I've ever heard. I'm not usually big into non-fiction, but after this book I'm more inclined to listened to the more often. It was interesting to hear about North Korea, a country not many know much about, and the people within. I was amazed throughout the whole story. Also the narrator did a wonderful job.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Only A Heart of Stone Could Fail To Be Moved

The one great achievement of horrendous tyrannies is that they produce our most inspiring stories of human courage and triumph against impossible odds. Eunsun Kim's book is a worthy addition to this literature. Read î.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Wow, what a riveting story!!!

The author was really good at telling her story in great details. After hearing this story, it had made more aware of the situation in North Korea and more aware of what the North Koreans defectors have to go through to get escapee their own country. It was one of those story that couldn't stop, you just wanted to finish. This story showed strong will for Human survival.
I would rec

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Taryn
  • Suffern, NY, United States
  • 04-12-16

Compelling

This is the first book I have read about North Korean's horrible conditions and those who risk everything to leave and it was compelling for me. There are no adequte words to describe how heartbreaking this story is, yet it tells us how the human spirit cannot be broken. The story of one familys journey to freedom is told in an unflinching manner. I am looking forward to reading more about N. Korea. It puts our lives here in America with our freedoms and all the things we take for granted in perspective!

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating!

Well written and well performed. Great insight into a country of which we know so little. I highly recommend this book!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Nicely told escape from North Korea

I own several escape from North Korea books and although I have enjoyed the others a great deal... The author of this one is so straightforward and positive in her account that I listened in one setting and wanted more. Nicely done.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic book

Where does A Thousand Miles to Freedom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This story is so unreal. I can't believe there are humans on Earth still going through things like this. Please give it a read and it will open your eyes to a struggle most of us could not even comprehend. I will probably listen to this audiobook more than once.

What other book might you compare A Thousand Miles to Freedom to and why?

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What does Emily Woo Zeller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The way the book is read makes you almost picture Eunsun Kim reading the book. Very well done.

If you could give A Thousand Miles to Freedom a new subtitle, what would it be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

Listen to this audiobook.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful