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Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home Paperback – May 24, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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*Starred Review* In 2009, Laura Ling, a reporter with Current TV, traveled with a film crew to the region of China that bordered on North Korea to report on defections, particularly of women who were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery. The crew momentarily crossed into North Korea, and Ling and Euna Lee, her editor and translator, were captured. Given the hostilities between North Korea and China and a recent critical documentary on North Korea by Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, the women knew they were in for an ordeal. Laura was beaten during the capture, and the women were held in isolation and faced meager meals, cold, and little medical treatment. In the U.S., Lisa and her family prayed and called on powerful contacts, including Al Gore and Bill Richardson, to win the women’s release. During the time of their captivity, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired off missiles, increasing tensions with the U.S. and UN. The women were eventually tried for attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and negotiations with prickly North Korea, they were finally released after five months in captivity. This memoir alternates between the sisters, with Laura recalling the escalating peril of her capture and imprisonment and Lisa recalling heightened worries as weeks dragged into months. A riveting story of captivity and the enduring faith, determination, and love of two sisters. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.
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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.