- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Broadway (September 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307716139
- ASIN: B008SLOKKY
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,815,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The World Is Bigger Now: An American Journalist's Release from Captivity in North Korea A Remarkable Story of Faith, Family, and Forgiveness Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In this stunning first book, film editor Lee (for Current TV, the cable network cofounded by Al Gore) recounts the months she spent in a North Korean prison during the spring and summer of 2009. Lee and her coworker, Laura Ling, were arrested for entering North Korea from China while working on a documentary chronicling the dreadful privations faced by North Korean defectors once they reached China, conditions especially harsh for women, as many were sold into the sex trade or forced into marriage. Lee discusses in detail the time she and Ling spent in captivity, divulging the scare tactics employed by the guards, like all-day interrogations in an attempt to gain "suitable" confessions. Maintaining her sanity by thinking constantly of her family and praying in secret, Lee rises above illness and a looming 14-year prison sentence to paint a lucid self-portrait.
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Current TV film editor Lee was captured along with colleague Laura Ling when their crew—documenting defections from North Korea—very briefly crossed the border between China and North Korea. Lee, of South Korean descent, had been particularly affected by the stories they documented of travelers on an underground railroad from the oppressive regime, including women forced into sexual slavery. Her captors used her heritage in their psychological campaign to induce guilt and drive a wedge between her and Ling during five months of detention that culminated in confessions, a trial, and sentencing to 12 years in a labor camp. Lee recalls the harsh conditions of detention and her reliance on her Christian faith and her longing for her family—particularly her young daughter—for survival. Following their release after diplomatic efforts led by former president Clinton, Lee continued to struggle with regrets about the forced confession and revealing sources, possibly hurting people they’d intended to help. This is a heartrending story of serious challenges to a journalist’s credo and a woman’s test of faith and endurance. --Vanessa Bush
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Euna Lee, whose mother still lives in South Korea, writes a straightforward account of her days in captivity and since she speaks the language, conversations are written as she remembers them with her North Korean guards and others she came in contact with. She desperately missed her husband and her 4-year-old daughter, Hana, who were back in their home in California. She and Laura Ling were separated and didn't have much contact while held.
I admired Euna's statements of her feelings as the book went on and of her terrible fear of never getting out and going home. She envisioned being held there for the rest of her life in a labor camp or being executed. She had heard the stories of some of the defectors and knew that life in North Korea could be brutal and impoverished under the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il. Lee says that saving face was the most important thing and the country must always be presented as doing well. Previously the country had gone through a period of famine and starvation and food and money went to the top, as is usually the case. Her faith got her through and although at times her mood went way down, for the most part she tried to stay positive and hopeful.
I found it well worth reading this book and also Laura and Lisa Ling's book to learn more about North Korea and to get a glimpse of what the most isolated country is really like. Euna Lee felt that the people that she came in contact with were nice to her and for the most part, friendly. It was the military men who first captured her who were rough and violent, kicking Laura Ling in the head, causing a very bad wound.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling were released after Lisa Ling, Laura's sister, and a lot of other people in high positions got to work and eventually had President Bill Clinton fly to North Korea and work things out for their release.
A very insightful and interesting book.
When freed, Laura Ling got together with her sister Lisa to write a book about their experience through it all. They are both two well known journalists in front of the camera. I think that's (possibly) why it took longer for Euna's book to publish and that was what I was waiting for as she had a story to tell as well, and I am grateful that she did. The two books by these journalists/correspondents are completely different from each other's writing of the events.
They were there to do this story 'in China', as no one has permission to step onto North Korean soil, unless invited by Dictator Kim Jong Il, that is.
Euna tells of her story as she produces and gets as much input in what amounts to as a short amount of time they have to be in China and located quite near the access to North Korea. I don't think they fully knew to the naked eye as to where the exact lines were drawn into the snow being unfamiliar with the area, but their driver/guide seemed to. So a driver and three correspondents from Current T.V., U.S.A. took chances with their lives, as well as other people's lives to give the world their first video documentary of a kingdom that is so remote and closed to outsiders. The documentary was about North Korean refugees and what plights they took for freedom. And once refugees escape North Korea for freedom in China by crossing the river, they were not always met and put into what they thought would be a mainstream of the outside world. And that is what these journalists went there to do...interviews even with persons who did not want to be named or viewed on camera. As well, they wanted to take much view in at a point of crossing...where North Korean defectors were apt to cross the river into China most easiest, and that place, where the river narrows, is where Euna and Laura's lives changed.
If you don't know the story, first they were captured, detained, interrogated and ended in signed confessions stating basically they were spying on North Korea. Admitting to that was from months of daily interrogations (separately), which they could no longer stand. And for that they were sentenced to so many years in N. Korea's notorious labor camps, which I must add I find sick to my stomach that they are still up and running inhumanely as I type this.
The two women had also been sacked with their possessions which included paper work of interviews, as well as video tape....both mediums very incriminating as it portrayed them as spies of North Korea. They had told the defectors whom they interviewed that they would keep them safe, and when the girls were caught they tried destroying as much media as they could. Materials that were not deleted was terribly hard for Euna to live with after promising them total privacy.
I highly recommend her book because not only does it tell the story as it happened to her and events leading up to the capture, but she also gives you a glimpse of what this closed-knit country was like and the people who all had to live without amenities that could certainly be available to them, but is not due to their civilization simply because of the paranoid little dictator, Kim Jong Il, who in fact received the title of ruler when his father passed away. And that brings me to a book that I really suggest that you read. It is great in material about this topic...North Koreans who defect. The name of this book is called, ESCAPING NORTH KOREA, and it is written by MIKE KIM.
It is a must read. It is one of my five top favorite books and I have a substantial home library of non-fictional reads! The book entails what it is like to live in North Korea, and what it is like for different people who try to defect: Some make it out for good, and some do not. There are so many variable situations at one's attempt to do so. Defecting from that country is not just black n' white...it is so gray. So please take a chance if you are interested in North Korea as it is such a well written book, whether you just want a fascinating read, for a school project, or whatever. You won't forget the contents, that's for certain!
But back to Euna Lee's book, I'm so glad that she wrote it for us (it was worth the wait in paper publication!) and I send Blessings to she and her family, as well as those in her native land of South Korea.
I would highly recommend this book to all who are curious about God's love and watch care over His children. He sees, He hears, and He cares.
Most recent customer reviews
Her fmaily never gave up hope.Read more