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Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad Hardcover – September 18, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad + Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea + Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Price for all three: $36.15

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594036330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594036330
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“With the perfect, hypnotic flow of a consummate journalist, Melanie Kirkpatrick has created an encyclopedic, magnificently researched and reported portrait of the dramatic resistance to the slow-motion holocaust that is taking place in North Korea as you read this. Her account is as captivating as a thriller, but unlike a thriller it is morally compelling. What elevates it to the ranks of the finest books is the skill of its author and the selfless urgency of her appeal. Many a prize has been awarded to books not half as deserving.” — Mark Helprin, Author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War

“Escape from North Korea should be assigned reading for anyone—policymaker, academic, or journalist alike—who think they know anything about the Kim family dictatorship. Melanie Kirkpatrick shows how “the new Underground Railroad” is not only providing an escape route from the prison camp that is North Korea, but something even more important as well. She shows how that escape route, aided and expanded, can bring down North Korea’s despotic regime and free its entire people. Kirkpatrick combines exhaustive reporting with insightful analysis in a powerful and compelling tale of repression and freedom.” — John R. Bolton, Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations


“A riveting, meticulously researched account of the harrowing journey North Koreans must take to reach freedom. Kirkpatrick describes in detail the secret network of safe houses, transit routes and brokers that have emerged in China and other countries to enable North Koreans to escape. Similar to the Underground Railroad in the United States that liberated slaves, the network achieves inspiring successes and tragic failures. The book will interest both the general public and serve as a powerful tool for policymakers, academics and advocates interested in lending support to one of the world’s most persecuted people.” — Roberta Cohen, Co-chair of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

About the Author

Melanie Kirkpatrick is a journalist, writer, and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She was deputy editor of the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, where she was a longtime member of the editorial board and op-ed editor. She lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Jack David.

More About the Author

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK is a writer and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. She had a long career at The Wall Street Journal, where her jobs included running the op-ed page, editing the editorials, and serving as deputy editor of the editorial page. She grew up in Buffalo, attended Princeton University, and has lived in Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Manhattan. She now resides in rural Connecticut with her husband,Jack David.

Customer Reviews

This book is very well written and organized.
Frosty T. Kat
As this author points out as his peoples hear the truth the country`s dictator will fall.
StevieBoy on the Kindle
I would recommend this book to anyone, an especially to those interested in Asia!
m

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John C. Brewer on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been following Melanie Kirkpatrick's work at the Hudson Institute for years and she is an absolutely outstanding journalist and writer and has done a superlative job with Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad. I especially appreciate the credit she gives to Chinese Christians in aiding escapees. Having written one of the few other books out there on North Korea I have used her work over the years in my own research. I want to encourage anyone interested in this problem to buy this book and get educated on the subject. "Free Tibet"? How about "Free North Korea!" Thank you, Ms. Kirkpatrick for writing this important work and best of luck on your product launch!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
An estimated 24,000 North Koreans have fled the nation of 24 million to South Korea - those that succeed have a difficult time adjusting to life in a free society and their education/skills may not be up to the task. Since 2004, 128 have gone on to the U.S., and an estimated half-million live within China. Few tried to escape prior to the early 1990s - until then life in China wasn't much better, if at all. Then came a major famine in North Korea, coinciding with improvement in China. The author reports that it is easier for women to escape because they're less likely to be missed (if homemakers) and reported to authorities; in addition, women are more likely to be taken in by Chinese families. (The 'bad news' is that many end up married to Chinese men or pressed into prostitution.) Some are recruited to leave North Korea by those connected to this 'slave trade.'

About 250,000 North Korean men are employed in Russia's Siberia as loggers, and a number of them also manage to escape.

Mail service to/from North Korea is limited - South Korea is not included. Cell phones are programmed to work domestically only, the Internet, radio, and TV are run by the State

Border guards operate under 'shoot-to-kill orders, and those found by the Chinese within that nation are returned to face severe punishment. Crimes of an individual in North Korea are paid for by three generations of that individuals family. About 200,000 North Koreans are in political prisons - their crimes may be a minor as possessing a Bible or failing to show respect for a portrait of one of North Korea's 'Dear Leaders.'
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Holita on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This outstanding book will wrench your heart as well as relate the harsh realities of North Korea. This is a reader must, not only for scholars, theologians and politicians, but also for any compassionate person with a desire to do whatever it takes to help a repressed society. Hats off to Ms. Kirkpatrick for so skillfully handling this delicate but important issue.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gail Buyske on September 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Melanie Kirkpatrick has written a book about an unimaginably cruel system in a way that enables the reader to absorb the information instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer horribleness. She also paints a picture of indomitable human spirit, both on the part of the North Korean escapees and those who help them. It's a beautifully written and carefully structured book that no reader will forget.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Thornton on September 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written with the skill and heart of a story-teller and equally so with the scholar's unshakable regard for facts. A former Wall Street Journal deputy editor who has spent years living in Asia, Kirkpatrick develops solid arguments for ways to change a country that is frozen in time. Because of her credentials and the story she tells so well, her ideas are certain to command the attention of policy makers. But beyond Washington and New York, many readers may be moved to act once they've read the harrowing narratives, the descriptions of ordinary souls bravely helping others, once they've read Kirkpatrick's careful portrait of a grotesque and unimaginably cruel regime.
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40 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Biro on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you really want to learn about North Korea then the following books will teach you far more than you will find here.

1. The cleanest race (B.R. Myers)
2. Nothing to envy (Barbara Demick)
3. The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in a North Korean Gulag (Pierre Rigoulot, Yair Reiner).

Escape from North Korea, is a choppy collection of tales about refugees and Christian missionaries with the usual naive liberal conclusions and solutions for solving the current crises. Let's be realistic, the North Korean regime will only collapse due to a military coup, or the assassination of Kim Jong Eun. There will be no revolution no matter how many Kpop cds find their way into the hands of the average North Korean. Most likely will be the gradual opening up of the country through trade and tourism, as we saw in China, but if you are waiting for an unarmed Confucian populous to rise up, cast off their shackles and overthrow their God (as this author appears to think), then you will be waiting a very, very, very, long time.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By AbbyNYC on December 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on North Korea. I find this one to be very disappointing, both due to the quality of the editing and writing and due to the author's questionable politics and opinions woven throughout the work.

The book is in need of copy editing. On page 182, for example, it states, "As one worker put it, 'the [aid] teams realized that the government fabricated whatever they wanted aid workers to see: malnourished children in nurseries when more food air was desired..." Well, I suspect it was food AID, not food AIR, that the regime desired. Similarly, on page 277, "None of that could happen North Korea- yet." I assume Kirkpatrick meant that none of that could yet happen IN North Korea. Besides the slopping copy editing, I found the writing style to be choppy and disjointed. Rather than elaborating on a topic, Kirkpatrick would repeatedly touch on a topic briefly (e.g. cell phone availability) and then return to it later in the book. This led to repetitious, but often superficial, coverage of issues. The writing could also use smoothing out in many areas, particularly in Kirkpatrick's introduction of new people into the book. She would often jump to a new name at the beginning of a paragraph, stating a few sentences about what they were doing. It was often unclear at first if people were being newly introduced or if they were someone previously mentioned in the text.

Kikrpatrick profiles the leaders of many organizations that SUPPORT SENDING ESCAPED NORTH KOREANS BACK INTO NORTH KOREA. She interviews the founders of some of these groups throughout the first half of the book, introducing several as rescuers of North Korean women being sex trafficked in China.
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