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Publisher's Summary

Dear Leader contains astonishing new insights about North Korea which could only be revealed by someone working high up in the regime. It is also the gripping story of how a member of the inner circle of this enigmatic country became its most courageous, outspoken critic.

Jang Jin-sung held one of the most senior ranks in North Korea's propaganda machine, helping tighten the regime's grip over its people. Among his tasks were developing the founding myth of North Korea, posing undercover as a South Korean intellectual and writing epic poems in support of the dictator, Kim Jong-il.

Young and ambitious, his patriotic work secured him a bizarre audience with Kim Jong-il himself, thus granting him special status as one of the 'Admitted'. This meant special food provisions, a travel pass and immunity from prosecution and harm. He was privy to state secrets, including military and diplomatic policies, how the devastating 'Scrutiny' was effected, and the real position of one of the country's most powerful, elusive men, Im Tong-ok. Because he was praised by the Dear Leader himself, he had every reason to feel satisfied with his lot and safe.

Yet he could not ignore his conscience, or the disparity between his life and that of those he saw starving on the street. After breaking security rules, Jang Jin-sung, together with a close friend, was forced to flee for his life: away from lies and deceit, towards truth and freedom.

©2014 Jang Jin-Sung 2014. Translation copyright © Shirley Lee 2014. (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

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  • zico
  • 05-19-18

Superb story of escape and survival

loved this book. Not only a great story of escape and survival but a great insight into the workings of the North Korean state and society. Very well read.

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  • Cate
  • 11-18-17

A must read

This was a great read. His story is gripping enough in itself but also his storytelling, as an accomplished poet, is excellent. He honestly helped me appreciate the relief of finding freedom - made me tremble to consider how easily we take our freedoms for granted. He also gives a clear explanation of North Korea, its history and government, from the perspective of first hand experience - a perspective that noone can understand looking from the outside, and this makes this book an invaluable work.