Synopses & Reviews
The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escapedand#160;North Koreaandrsquo;s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalinandrsquo;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.and#160;In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the worldandrsquo;s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shinandrsquo;s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existenceandmdash;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.and#160;The late andldquo;Dear Leaderandrdquo; 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 Koreaandrsquo;s government denies they exist.and#160;Hardenandrsquo;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 worldandrsquo;s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.
"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.
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.
An inspirational memoir chronicling the life of Joseph Kim, who not only survived and escaped the devastating famine in North Korea as an abandoned young boy, but made it to the United States and is now thriving in college here.
A searing story of starvation and survival in North Korea, followed by a dramatic escape, rescue by activists and Christian missionaries, and success in the United States thanks to newfound faith and courage
Inside the hidden and mysterious world of North Korea, Joseph Kim lived a young boy’s normal life until he was five. Then disaster struck: the first wave of the Great Famine, a long, terrible ordeal that killed millions, including his father, and sent others, like his mother and only sister, on desperate escape routes into China. Alone on the streets, Joseph learned to beg and steal. He had nothing but a street-hardened survival instinct. Finally, in desperation, he too crossed a frozen river to escape to China.
There a kindly Christian woman took him in, kept him hidden from the authorities, and gave him hope. Soon, through an underground network of activists, he was spirited to the American consulate, and became one of just a handful of North Koreans to be brought to the U.S. as refugees. Joseph knew no English and had never been a good student. Yet the kindness of his foster family changed his life. He turned a new leaf, became a dedicated student, mastered English, and made it to college, where he is now thriving thanks to his faith and inner strength. Under the Same Sky is an unforgettable story of suffering and redemption.
From the bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the murderous rise of North Koreaand#8217;s founding dictator and the fighter pilot who faked him out
In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot, New York Times bestselling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deceptionand#151;and escape.
As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That is, until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly one million
dollars today). The theftand#151;just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953and#151;electrified the world and incited Kimand#8217;s bloody vengeance.
During the Korean War the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans.
Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kimand#8217;s shadowy rise, as well as from neverbefore- released U.S. intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the worldand#8217;s longest-lasting totalitarian state.
About the Author
Blaine Harden is a contributor to The Economist, PBS Frontline, and Foreign Policy and has formerly served as The Washington Post's bureau chief in East Asia and Africa as well as a local and national correspondent for The New York Times and as a writer for the Times Magazine. He was also bureau chief in Warsaw, during the collapse of Communism and the breakup of Yugoslavia (1989-1993), and in Nairobi, where he covered sub-Saharan Africa (1985-1989). He is the author of three previous books: Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent (Norton, 1990), A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia (Norton, 1996) and Escape From Camp 14 (Viking, 2012). Africa won a Pen American Center citation for first book of non-fiction. Escape From Camp 14 enjoyed a number of weeks on various New York Times bestseller lists, and was an international bestseller published in 27 languages. He lives in Seattle with his family. His newest book The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot will come out from Viking in April 2015.