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This review is from: Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West (Kindle Edition)
Once you've started this book, it's very difficult to put down.
How this man survived the brutality of a 'Total Control' North Korean prison camp is impossible to conceive. From watching classmates being beaten to death and his mother and brother being executed, to being tortured over hot coals at the age of 13 and suffering near starvation for the first 24 years of his life, to the soul-destroying work ethic and unparalleled cruelty of the prison guards, how Shin Dong-hyuk is still alive, let alone now living happily in America, is breathtaking. His story is heartbreaking from the very beginning, yet his ability to keep on going in the face of absolute punishment will inspire all who read about it. The worst day you've ever had, will likely pale in comparison to a normal day in the life of this guy.
Blaine Harden has done a great job of presenting the details, and obviously cultivated a strong relationship with Shin. The book is short but there's more than enough in there for you to appreciate the gravity of the situation in North Korea, and its relationship with both South Korea and China.
Worth every penny.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2012 7:42:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2012 7:46:51 AM PDT
Hi- Curious how this is Amazon Verified as neither the Kindle nor book version are available yet? Thanks, looking forward to reading this
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2012 8:30:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012 7:48:14 PM PDT
The Kindle version is definitely available, because I bought it on March 20th! It was published on March 17th.
It's just the hardcover that's not released until March 29th.
Make sure you click through to the kindle version of the book (it has its own page), which can be accessed using in the 'formats' box on the hardcover book page.
Posted on Mar 28, 2012 11:02:22 AM PDT
if you've seen his interviews, he is not "happy" and he states he will never be "happy" although he is living comfortably physically. he says he suffers in mental anguish everyday b/c of the things he went through and he just has to deal with it. i don't think you can ever recover from that kind of childhood.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 4:53:39 PM PDT
Yes you're right, he'll never know true happiness, his past will haunt him forever. I think living 'comfortably' would have been a better way to put it.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 10:06:16 AM PDT
I think that it is worth mentioning that this man's life in Korea was very similar to the life of a black slave in this country only 150 years ago. As he continues to be a damaged person even after his escape, so too can we see lasting multi-generational damage in the compassion-impoverished in America. Wounds take a long time to heal.
Posted on Jun 4, 2012 9:20:52 PM PDT
The Chinese bound the feet of girls to restrict the growth of their feet. In Escape From Camp 14, the North Koreans are revealed to practice a system to constrict man's soul. Shin was born into a prison camp in which he was punished from birth for political 'sins' supposedly committed by his forbears. Under total control, with all sense of family nullified, the word love totally unknown, through brutal torture, starvation and with every good human impulse extinguished and deformed, and totally isolated psychologically, Shin manages to escape his horrific prison and struggles to find a new life amidst a normality which is totally alien to him. Only the stirrings, and later the storms, of his conscience remain as the tattered dregs of his humanity. Politically this is an important book because it takes us into a reality inaccessible to all but the inmates, bringing the atrocities committed by North Korea before the lens of the world--atrocities that even exceed Auschwitz in their scope and duration. Psychologically it stands alone as a study of the effects of extreme manipulation and cruel dehumanization on the developing human psyche. Like a psychological quadraplegic Shin has found a new life in America and amidst his struggles to learn and adapt to another way, has come to find a redemption for his suffering by sharing his story to a world which needs to be made aware of the utter depravity of the North Korean ethos. Shin, I can only say that since I have read your story you, and the North Korean people, are in my prayers--only God can redeem the chaos and rebuild the human hearts so horribly damaged!
Johanna, author of another survival book from closer to home: 'Graffiti On My Soul'
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2013 12:03:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 25, 2013 12:04:16 PM PDT
Jack, I don't understand how you can possibly compare the black experience to what is happening in North Korea. Yes, slavery was a horrible thing, but I think the way North Korea completely crushes and destroys a human soul through horrific physical, mental, and emotional torture/cruelty is far, far worse. You are comparing apples and oranges.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2013 3:53:43 PM PDT
JL, you are sadly ignorant of American history. You think it is fun to be whipped for hours, opening the skin on the back to raw flesh until you bleed to death? When plantation owners did this, all of the slaves were required to watch. You don't think this creates lasting psychological scars? Slaves in America were not simply unpaid workers. They were the victims or horrible psychological and physical abuse much worse than the average Korean. And this happened for generations for over 200 years, not just since 1950.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2013 6:02:36 PM PDT
I'm not at all ignorant of American history, but you obviously don't know how to read. Did I at any point say being whipped, etc was "fun"? No, I didn't. I think you have a hangup about slavery. And I completely disagree with your assertion that it was any worse than what's happening in North Korea. Regardless, it's completely idiotic to argue about which version of torture is worse. Does it really matter?? Torture/abuse/murder isn't ever good, so why did you even make such a stupid comparison in the first place?