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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 2013)

by Blaine Harden (Author)

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1,294779,260 (3.93)109
Title:Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Authors:Blaine Harden (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden (2012)

  1. 60
    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. 20
    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.
  3. 10
    Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad by Melanie Kirkpatrick (TomWaitsTables)
  4. 00
    The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Chol-hwan Kang (ecureuil)

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» See also 109 mentions

English (74)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
the topic is interesting and frightening. the North Korean people don't have any compassion for their own people. They are split up by classes and the poor classes are thought of as non-human so it makes it "easier" for the guards to brutally kill the slaves. They are brought up to HATE Americans. If this is how they treat their own people, imagine what they want to do to Americans.
The good news is they're crumbling from within and half starved seems to be something they're familiar with and cyclical, so they're not much of a threat outside of themselves.
The book itself however, isn't very well organizes or well written.
The last chapter made the rest of the book worthwhile. The struggles Shin continues to face will probably be lifetime issues and the fact he continues to face them is a testament to his character, even though he sometimes feels he's useless garbage.
He compares the Kim dynasty to worse than Hitler. ( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
This is a chilling portrait of a young man born in captivity and raised to distrust everybody including his own parents. A heartrending description of how a child can be raised completely without love and trust and the psychological consequences.
The prose, coming from a journalist is not surprisingly very journalistic. I never felt that I got much of an idea about who Shin really was, and I have a feeling that Blane Harden hadn't really got a handle about the true motivation and personality of this young man either. Language is probably one of the barriers to this, as all communication had to come through a translator.

For the full review check out my blog: Engrossed in a Good Book ( )
1 vote CharlotteBurt | Nov 24, 2018 |
Incredible story of Shin's escape from a North Korean gulag. I knew that the country had a dictator, but what has happened to the people as a result is impossible to believe. The poor, hungry, illiterate populace have an unbelievably difficult life. In many cases, animals had a better life. At least animals weren't forced to work until they dropped, survive on corn meal (when available), be tortured and/or executed because you had 5 kernels of corn in your pocket, and never know love. ( )
  sraelling | May 6, 2018 |
Good, in that it's a modern, first-hand account of life in North Korea. Like Shin, the escapee, at the close of the book we see the stark contrast in North and South Korea. I left asking myself, 'What will happen when another generation of North Koreans experience famine and torture and brainwashing etc.'? The risk of war is too great, with North Korea having nukes and a million armed albeit starved troops. With the cost of repatriation rising daily, we will all be watching how this will play out for years to come.
Blaine got some concern going in me and made me care about the issue, so his book was a success from that standpoint. It's an issue that probably doesn't get enough focus, so it's good he brought the perspective of one interesting escapee, to the West.
He had a tough topic and an even tougher subject to work with and came thru the trial standing. In the end, I may be too like my South Korean trade partners (writing this review on my Samsung Galaxy S4...) and too filled with consumer-apathy to care. ( )
  LongTrang117 | Oct 6, 2017 |
Shin Dong-hyuk was born in Camp 14, a North Korean political prison camp. From birth, his most pressing drive was food. All prisoners teetered constantly on the edge of starvation. He and the other prisoners were taught to snitch on one another to be rewarded with supplemental food. Among other deprivations, each person slept on concrete floors, got new clothes only twice a year, and, since there was no hot water, they could rarely bathe and were forever lice-ridden. Students did hard labor in freezing conditions without any warm outerwear. He had to watch as others were hanged or shot for breaking the rules. Each day, for each prisoner, was a struggle for survival.

But Shin Dong-hyuk did what no one had done before; he escaped. He then struggled to live in a world radically different from what he'd known. In the years since then, he's been telling the world about the terrors that have been going on throughout North Korea in the prison camps for over 60 years and the impact of such imprisonment on its captives. This is a harrowing tale, both of deprivation and guilt, that left me wondering what will ultimately happen to North Korea and why the world allows it to continue. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blaine Hardenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harden, BlaineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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Nine years after his mother's hanging, Shin squirmed through an electric fence and ran off through the snow.
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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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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 6 descriptions

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