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Escape from Camp 14 Audiobook

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

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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

4.3 (1165 )
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3.9 (1024 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sharey 05-19-16
    Sharey 05-19-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent!"

    Finally, a book without fluff where no word is superfluous. Excellent story, writing and narration. It far exceeded my expectations and I ended up listening to it, virtually straight through. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Keswick, ON, Canada 02-15-15
    Russell Keswick, ON, Canada 02-15-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Non Fiction or Fiction"

    I've always felt that it is important to include books that reflect the reality of our imperfect world along with my regular indulgences into the Sci Fi and Mystery genres. My recent purchase, Escape from Camp 14 was a powerful true story that had me outraged about the labor camps in North Korea. So why did I only give it two stars in that category?

    In January of 2015 the prisoner, Shin Dong-hyuk, recanted parts of his story. It was published in 2012 and fortunately I waited until 2015 to listen to it. Otherwise I would have been indignantly blathering on about a false story for three years. I still think it is horrible over in North Korea labor camps. There is too much other evidence to deny this fact. But, Shin Dong-hyuk has recently recanted parts of this story that had moved me so intensely. The remaining stuff still reflects badly on the North Korean regime, but it is tough to know if this is not more of the same and made up.

    This is the first time I've given out a spoiler that may have ruined the story. Google certainly is a great leveler when researching the truth. It even returned a North Korean propaganda film of Shin's dad responding to the book. That sounded phoney and untrustworthy as well. So now I will probably never know the real true story about a defector who probably experienced torture and injustice at the hands of a brutal dictatorship and felt the need to overstate and lie about it.

    I started out intending to write a review demanding that you read this book. After a bit of research it has ended up as a piece that will probably discourage potential listeners - and I still need to find a non fiction book to balance out my appetite for fiction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Ryde, Australia 09-17-15
    Richard Ryde, Australia 09-17-15
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    "Interesting story but"

    Interesting story but they really need someone else to read it.
    If voice was just flat and boring and sometimes hard to listen to

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Giancoli South Jersey 10-18-17
    D. Giancoli South Jersey 10-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Unbelievable - the details shared from NK is horrific."

    Story is wildly fascinating and cringe worthy at the same time. Goes through very fast - blew through it in 2 days. Normally I get in like 3-4 hrs a week at best. The criticism of the performance and audio is accurate. The narrator isn’t that bad - but the production sounds like a team of jr high kids out it together - and it was their first attempt. Kind of embarrassing for whoever published this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. R. 10-08-17
    J. R. 10-08-17
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    "The world needs to hear this book"

    People everywhere need to hear this book. One cannot even imagine the horrors of life in a North Korean prison camp, you need to hear them first hand. Where your lot in life was decided by your ancestors up to 75 years ago, and the side they took in a conflict they did not even understand. Americans especially, need to hear this book. Especially those who proclaim socialism and communism is a utopia....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shaun 10-05-17
    shaun 10-05-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Headline"

    Great book. Definitely recommend. Made me really appreciate the freedom we have here in America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kendra Hartsell 09-29-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Remarkable"

    This is a must read (listen). Shin's story should be told again and again. It will make you ever so greatful to live in a free society and motivate you to help the North Koreans

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 09-10-17
    Paul 09-10-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This Book Will Change You"

    I have recently revisited Harden's gripping account of the escape of young Shin Dong-hyuk from North Korea. In spite of post-publication revelations that Harden had been misled to a certain extent by our escapee, the core of the story remains a chilling example of the hell that is life in the DPRK.

    I purchased this book nearly five years ago and have never forgotten the misery, suffering, and despair that are so clearly outlined in Shin's story.

    Harden's narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JQP1 08-17-17
    JQP1 08-17-17
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    "Terrible reader"

    The story is good enough, but the author should absolutely not have read the book, he's just terrible at it. He has no emotion or changes in his voice and for some reason, there are many edits to the reading. These edits are really bad... really bad. The author will be reading when mid-sentence the sound will change & a different voice will dub in for maybe one word, maybe part of a sentence. I feel like the author recorded this in his basement & did the edits very poorly with no attempt to make it sound good.

    The story is decent, but I could not get over how terrible Blaine Harden is at reading his own book.

    It's really bad, I wouldn't listen to it again & don't recommend it to anyone else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 07-20-17
    Adam 07-20-17
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    "Interesting story but....."

    I very rarely enjoy when an author narrates his own book. This is not the exception to the rule. Pretty bland and uninteresting performance. Not the worst I have heard, but a pro would have been a much better choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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