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Tears of Blood: A Korean POW's Fight for Freedom, Family, and Justice Paperback – September 24, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"In this excellent, clear and highly readable translation we learn the moving story of Young-Bok Yoo, whose life exemplifies the tragedies and divisions of Korea during and after the Korean War."
-- Bruce Cumings, Chairman of the History Department at the University of Chicago, and the author of Korea's Place in the Sun.

"Required reading for those who care about history . . . about human rights, and about the almost unbelievable power of the human being to survive with dignity even under intolerable conditions."
-- Shirley Clay Scott, former Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Hunter College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479383856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479383856
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,314,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading this book with a lot of preconceptions: How much more can there be to a story about some guy who was taken as a POW in the Korean War and eventually escapes and makes his way back to his homeland? Well, it turns out there's a lot more. The complexities and contradictions are deep and multi-shaded. The injustices are difficult to swallow. The suffering human condition described is heartbreaking.

War, for lack of a better word, sucks. The populace does the bidding and suffers on account of the ideology of a few. We all know this, but this book brings this issue to the uncomfortable forefront. In one of the contradictions in the story, the author is forced to serve "the other side" in the prelude to the main story. Eventually, he fights for the South and is captured shortly before the ceasefire, and he is forced into hard labor. Here, again, complexities mount: another consequence of war is the displacement of people and the redrawing of territorial lines. Thus, the author's sole goal to get back to the South is muddied when he discovers part of his family is in the North. Further, to better his life and the life of his family in the North, he tries to become a Party member, something that can only be explained by this difficult and twisted story.

On a personal level, adding to the complexity, what the North has done with these POWs is unexcusable, but incredibly, after reading this book, for me, understandable. While their methods were inhumane, their motivations were logical. This understanding for me was unexpected. Finally, the firsthand uncomfortable account of the starvation makes me step back and question many things.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book with great interest. It was moving. It held my attention throughout. I've tried to read stories about Korean history in the past. I found other books to be projecting away from the reader. This story was very personal. It put a face on the Korean war. One person's journey helped me to understand what many people experienced. There's a lack of well written books about Korean history or culture that are in English. The other Korea books I tried to read were written by translators whose first language is Korean. Or these translators became so absorbed in Confucianism that their writing took on an overly formal tone. The translation written by Paul T. Kim is the best Korean to English translation I've ever read.

I hope that more well written books translated from Korean to English will emerge. For translators interested in following this path, I recommend that they study the style presented by Paul Kim as a how-to reference point. Paul Kim removes the formalities of Korean speech. This decision by the translator was excellent because overly formalized text has been the norm in Korean-English translations.
The story is one of survival and endurance. Despite the hardships that Mr. Yoo endured, I found the book very interesting. I was very curious to know what would happen to him next. How he would handle each situation that he faced.
The writing was vivid, subtle, and nuanced. I could see the pictures that the author and translator were painting.
Coincidentally, I watched the movie, The Way Back (director Peter Weir), at the same time as reading this book.
Combining the two works at the same time was a good choice. One complimented the other.
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Format: Paperback
History has never been a favorite subject of mine but it is deeply intimate stories rooted in historical moments like the ones shared in this book that make me want to learn more history.

disclaimer: I have know the translator and his family for over 10 years
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son's in-laws probably went through some of these same experiences. They would be about the same age as Young-Bok Yoo, altho they were never in prison. I read it and plan on passing it on to my grandchildren. Both of their Korean grandparents are deceased and i feel they should know something about that part of their heritage...just like their father (my son) is Jewish, and they should know something about the Holocaust.

The writing is very simple and straightforward...neither condemning, nor eloquent, just a retelling of this man's strength and courage to survive...just like many first-hand retellings by survivors of concentration camps in Poland.

I don't know how many people would chose to read this...my interest as I mentioned is because my family is linked with my daughter-in-law's Korean heritage.
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By Steve on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book telling how terrible North Korean regime is. Instead of sending prisoners to South Korea in 1953,they were sent to
mines after the Korean war.The author, one of the prisoners,escaped to South Korea and wrote this book.
President Carter should read this book because somehow he believes North Korea has better human right record than south.
South Korea is a true democratic country where freedom of speech,religion,assembly and press is guaranteed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book will kick you in the face. If you don’t walk away from it feeling shocked and angry at all the stupid things in the world, it is impossible to call you human. I know this book, personally, haunted me days after and even more so because it’s true and still happening. These soldiers were left behind and forgotten by their home country, most never seeing it again. The fact that something like this can happen is enough to ruin a few nights worth of sleep.
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