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Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable…

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Blaine Harden

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7875611,689 (3.93)86
Title:Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Authors:Blaine Harden
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:read 2012, biography, north korea, library, korea

Work details

Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (2012)

  1. 50
    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Demick's book explores the lives of several people who lived in and escaped from North Korea, while Harden's focuses on one individual who was born in and escaped from a North Korean slave labor camp. The two books complement each other.
  2. 10
    Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad by Melanie Kirkpatrick (one-horse.library)
  3. 10
    Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Harden's book describes life within one specific slave labor camp in North Korea, and Applebaum's explores the Soviet Gulag in depth, making use of Soviet archives and prisoners' writings.
  4. 00
    The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Chol-hwan Kang (ecureuil)

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English (53)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
A unique document dealing with a fundamental question of life. What does it mean to be human? ( )
  mtnmdjd | Nov 6, 2014 |
This look at one man's experience of being born and raised in an unacknowledged concentration camp in North Korea was fascinating and repelling. The idea that humans still treat each other with such cruelty is depressing and disheartening. I also found the emotional effects on Shin to be depressing. Even though he escaped his physical prison, the effect on his brain and emotional development means he is still trapped and life continues to be difficult. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Sep 17, 2014 |
Horrific. Enlightening. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
I've read a lot of thought-provoking and horrifying books about German concentration camps, but I was not thoroughly prepared for this book.

Of course, some of the themes are consistent - desperation, horror, starvation, and self-preservation at all costs. However, a huge difference between this book and many Holocaust books I have read is the fact that the subject of this book knew absolutely nothing about life outside the prison camp. He was born there and accepted that this was the way life was supposed to be. Memoirs by concentration camp survivors often include memories of lives before the Holocaust and varying degrees of freedom. Shin (the defector in this book) knew nothing else. His existence was a nightmare in a vacuum, and the fact that he escaped successfully was the result of extraordinary luck.

This is a lightning fast read, presented in the crisp style of a seasoned journalist. We are given context about North Korean domestic policy, its relationship with China, and its economic situation where appropriate, but the book does not get bogged down and kept my attention from start to finish. My understanding of the situation inside North Korea has expanded tremendously. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  slug9000 | Jul 10, 2014 |
Shin was born and raised in a North Korean prison, struggling daily to survive. While the author details the life as revealed through interviews and research, much about the realities of North Korea in recent history is woven in to provide a larger geopolitical context to the powerful individual story of suffering and survival. ( )
  ewyatt | Jun 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blaine Hardenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harden, BlaineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
There is no "human rights issue" in this country, as everyone leads the most dignified and happy life. -- [North] Korean Central News Agency, March 6, 2009
For North Koreans who remain in the camps
First words
Nine years after his mother's hanging, Shin squirmed through an electric fence and ran off through the snow.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description

Never heard the word "love" -- The boy who ate his mother's lunch -- School days -- The upper crust -- Mother tries to escape -- Mother tries to escape, version two -- This son of a bitch won't do -- The sun shines even on mouse holes -- Avoiding mother's eyes -- Reactionary son of a bitch -- Working man -- Napping on the farm -- Sewing and snitching -- Deciding not to snitch -- Preparing to run -- The fence -- Stealing -- Riding north -- The border -- China -- Asylum -- K'uredit k'adus -- South Koreans are not so interested -- U.S.A.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670023329, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Twenty-six years ago, Shin Dong-hyuk was born inside Camp 14, one of five sprawling political prisons in the mountains of North Korea. This is the gripping, terrifying story of his escape from this no-exit prison-- to freedom in South Korea.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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