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1 Beaverton World History- Korea

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

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

ISBN13: 9780670023325
ISBN10: 0670023329
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped
 
North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.
 
In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. 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 mother and brother.
 
The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.
 
Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

Review:

"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, the only known person born into one of North Korea's secretive prison labor camps who has managed to escape and now lives in the U.S. Harden structures Shin's horrific experience — which includes witnessing the execution of his brother and sister after their escape plan is discovered — around an examination of the role that political imprisonment and forced labor play in North Korea and the country's fraught relationship with its economically prosperous neighbors South Korea and China While Shin eventually succeeds in escaping North Korea's brutal dictatorship, adjusting to his new life proves to be extraordinarily difficult, and he wrestles with his complicity in the atrocities of his past — he informed on his mother and other brother, which led to their execution. 'I was more faithful to the guards than to my family. We were each other's spies,' he confesses. Harden wisely avoids depicting the West as a panacea for Shin's trauma, instead leaving the reader to wonder whether Shin will ever be able to reconcile his past with the present. Harden notes both the difficulty of obtaining information about daily existence in North Korea and of fact-checking such information (including Shin's own version of events), and the book's brevity may leave readers wanting more from this brisk, brutal, sorrowful read." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A New York Times bestseller, 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 Donghyuk 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.

About the Author

Blaine Harden is a reporter for PBS's FRONTLINE and a contributor to the Economist, and has 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

jamarmn, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by jamarmn)
Virtually no one escapes from North Korea and especially not from one of their prison camps, but this young man did. And he tells his story of his life. Life in the prison camp is so bizarre you think you were reading a cross between science fiction and an account of the Holocaust.
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gregorywadebrown, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by gregorywadebrown)
I knew North Korea was a backwards country, but I didn't know it was this backwards! Crazy.
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Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, July 27, 2012 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
Shin Dong-hyuk is the only person known to escape from a political prison camp in North Korea after having been born and raised there. His story as told by Blaine Harden in Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West is extraordinary not only for the picture it paints of life inside the camp, but for the unlikely way Shin escaped and found his way to China, South Korea, and the U.S.

Indeed some of his stories of life inside the camp are so extreme that it’s hard to believe any human could endure life there for long periods of time, much less survive from infancy to adulthood. Shin was rewarded for snitching, his mother meant nothing to him except as a competitor for food, prisoners were killed for small infractions, and children were sometimes beaten to death. Recognizing that readers may be incredulous, Harden cites similar stories told by other prisoners who have escaped other camps over the years. He also details the ways he has endeavored to verify Shin’s story and ways he cannot.

As much as the story is Shin’s, it is also about North Korea and how its isolation from the world community has affected the people who live there. Escape from Camp 14 is not an easy book to read. It is shocking and at times gut wrenching to learn about why people are put in political camps and the conditions they endure there. And you can’t help but imagine the day-to-day struggle Shin faces in a world alien to the one he was raised in. But it’s an important book that will give you faith in the human spirit as well as a new perspective on North Korea every time it pops up in the news. I recommend it for ages 16 and up.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780670023325
Author:
Harden, Blaine
Publisher:
Viking Books
Subject:
Korea
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w maps; 8 pages b/w photos on insert s
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.13 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


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Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » Biography
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Featured Titles » History and Social Science
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History and Social Science » Asia » Korea
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Korea
Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Viking Books - English 9780670023325 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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, the only known person born into one of North Korea's secretive prison labor camps who has managed to escape and now lives in the U.S. Harden structures Shin's horrific experience — which includes witnessing the execution of his brother and sister after their escape plan is discovered — around an examination of the role that political imprisonment and forced labor play in North Korea and the country's fraught relationship with its economically prosperous neighbors South Korea and China While Shin eventually succeeds in escaping North Korea's brutal dictatorship, adjusting to his new life proves to be extraordinarily difficult, and he wrestles with his complicity in the atrocities of his past — he informed on his mother and other brother, which led to their execution. 'I was more faithful to the guards than to my family. We were each other's spies,' he confesses. Harden wisely avoids depicting the West as a panacea for Shin's trauma, instead leaving the reader to wonder whether Shin will ever be able to reconcile his past with the present. Harden notes both the difficulty of obtaining information about daily existence in North Korea and of fact-checking such information (including Shin's own version of events), and the book's brevity may leave readers wanting more from this brisk, brutal, sorrowful read." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

A New York Times bestseller, 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 Donghyuk 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.

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