- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062000683
- ISBN-13: 978-0062000682
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 150 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #642,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Somewhere Inside: One Sister8217;s Captivity in North Korea and the Other8217;s Fight to Bring Her Home Paperback – May 24, 2011
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From the Back Cover
On March 17, 2009, while filming a documentary on the Chinese–North Korean border, Laura Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were violently apprehended by North Korean soldiers, charged with trespassing and "hostile acts," and imprisoned by Kim Jong Il's notoriously secretive Communist state. Kept totally apart, they endured months of interrogations and a trial before North Korea's highest court that led to a sentence of twelve years of hard labor in a North Korean prison camp.
When news of the arrest reached Laura's sister, journalist Lisa Ling, she immediately began a campaign to get Laura released. Her efforts led her from the State Department to the higher echelons of the media world and eventually to the White House. Lisa takes us deep into the drama between people in the highest levels of government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and eventually former President Bill Clinton, who arrived in North Korea in mid-August for a suspenseful rescue.
Somewhere Inside is a timely, inspiring, and page-turning tale of survival set against the canvas of international politics. Writing with their strong, poignant voices, both sisters go beyond the headlines to reveal the unique bond that has sustained them throughout the most horrifying ordeal of their lives.
About the Author
Laura Ling is host and correspondent for E! Investigates. Previously she was vice president of Current TV's investigative journalism series Vanguard.
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Euna Lee and Laura Ling had flown to Yanjin, China to do a documentary about North Koreans who were leaving their country and defecting to China to get away from the hard lives they had in North Korea. The city of Yanjin is very close to the North Korean border and the defectors had to go to the northernmost tip of North Korea and cross the Tumen River to get into China. Guards were patroling the area since they knew it was a popular spot for defectors. Euna and Laura had a guide and he encouraged them to just walk across the frozen Tumen River to the North Korean shore and assured them that nothing would happen. As I read I kept asking myself why the two women set foot on North Korean soil even for a few seconds when they knew how dangerous it was and the consequences if they were caught. The minute they stepped off the frozen river and onto North Korean soil, guards were after them and chased them back across the Tumen River and actually captured them on Chinese soil. The guards were abusive and violent, beating Laura and kicking her in the head which resulted in severe headaches for a long time after their capture. As journalists with a good bit of experience, you'd think that they would never have taken that chance, knowing the risks.
Lisa and her family, along with her husband and Laura's husband, went into instant action when they got the news of what had happened, Being in journalism for a long time, Lisa Ling had met a lot of people in government upon whom she could hopefully call for help. Her sister and Euna were not being treated well at first and were separated in the jail where they were being held. They slept on pallets on the floor and wore the same clothes that they were captured in the entire time.
This book was a page turner for me, as Lisa first approached one person after another in the U.S. government to try to get someone to help negotiate the two women's freedom. She approached Al Gore and finally Bill Clinton through a maze of diplomats and others.
While being held Euna and Laura were guarded by Korean women and the two authors of the book changed the names of just about everyone to protect their safety. I don't know how well it protected the guards because they became friends with Laura and Euna. There is a lot more to the story of these two women that makes for an intriguing read. They were very fortunate that they had the resources they had available to them because most people wouldn't have that luxury and would be stuck there with the Dear Leader.
I found the book enjoyable and informative.
And so began a five-month journey into hell as American captives in a repressed, isolated country that despises the United States.
This spellbinding tale is alternatingly told by Laura and her sister, journalist Lisa Ling, who was doing everything she could from her California home to free Laura and Euna. Those efforts extended to the highest reaches of the U.S. government.
While Lisa was begging and cajoling, Laura was being interrogated day after day and eventually tried and sentenced to hard labor for 12 years. The fact that we all know how the story ends (happily!) takes nothing away from this riveting, compelling book that was written from the heart.
I also liked that she and her sister both wrote this book together, as you can better understand what was being done over here to secure her release. The photos of her family and events in her life were just a great addition to the book. Giving a face to all the people back home working to get her released was satisfying.