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The Aquariums of Pyongyang  By  cover art

The Aquariums of Pyongyang

By: Chol-hwan Kang, Pierre Rigoulot
Narrated by: Stephen Park
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Publisher's summary

"Destined to become a classic" (Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking), this harrowing memoir of life inside North Korea was the first account to emerge from the notoriously secretive country - and it remains one of the most terrifying.

Amid escalating nuclear tensions, Kim Jong-un and North Korea's other leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party state, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education."

Kang Chol-Hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea. Sent to the notorious labor camp Yodok when he was 9 years old, Kang observed frequent public executions and endured forced labor and near-starvation rations for 10 years. In 1992, he escaped to South Korea, where he found God and now advocates for human rights in North Korea.

Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this book brings together unassailable firsthand experience, setting one young man's personal suffering in the wider context of modern history, giving eyewitness proof to the abuses perpetrated by the North Korean regime.

©2005 Chol-hwan Kang, Pierre Rigoulot (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"A chilling testimony....Freezes the heart and seizes the soul." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A triumph against silence." (Financial Times)

"The Aquariums of Pyongyang is one of the most terrifying memoirs I have ever read. As the first account to emerge from North Korea, it is destined to become a classic." (Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking)