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These are the Generations
These are the Generations
by Eric Foley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.95
138 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing..., November 6, 2012
I have read numerous books about North Korea,
and I can say that this book is certainly unique in the story it tells.

An amazing, amazing story...

The Tears of My Soul
The Tears of My Soul
by Hyun Hee Kim
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from $17.06

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Account Still Relevant Today, April 28, 2009
This review is from: The Tears of My Soul (Hardcover)
In "Tears of My Soul," Kim Hyun Hee tells the incredible story of how she was trained as a North Korean espionage agent and selected to carry out the mission given by Kim Jong-il, North Korea's "Dear Leader," to blow up a South Korean airliner. Kim Hyun Hee was apprehended after Korean Airlines flight 858 crashed, killing 115 passengers. In this book she explains how for weeks after being taken captive she attempted to conceal her real identity, but the South Korean investigators methodically carried out their interrogation, uncovering numerous flaws in her argument. Eventually she gives up, confessing her true identity and the crime she had committed. After a dramatic trial confirming her guilt she was nevertheless pardoned by the South Korean government, which deemed that the North Korean regime, and not Kim Hyun Hee, was to blame for the tragedy.

After being so completely brainwashed by the North Korean system, Kim Hyun Hee was shocked to find that Seoul and South Korean society were in fact nothing like the awful descriptions given them in North Korean propaganda. She thus comes to the sad realization that all she had been taught in the North were lies. She feels terrible for the crime she committed. She is welcomed by the South Korean church and she finds forgiveness in Christianity. Moreover, she was filled with joy to find out that her mother's relatives live in the South.

Family is one of the major themes of the book. Kim recalls with fondness the youth she spent with her family in Cuba, where her father served as a diplomat. A division was created between her and her family, however, after she was selected to serve as an agent. During her years of training her visits home became increasingly rare. From her father's perspective she was no longer his daughter but a daughter of the North Korean communist party. Before departing on her fateful mission, Kim Hyun Hee stole away from the training compound in the mountains to visit her family in an attempt to make things right. Throughout the book Kim would become emotional whenever describing her feelings for her family in the North

"Tears of My Soul," published in 1993, remains relevant today. The North Korean regime continues to flout the international community and follow its own rogue course. It pours scarce resources into the military and its long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs, even as its people go without the most basic necessities. Kim Hyun Hee's tells her truly remarkable story in "Tears of My Soul," providing readers with a behind the scenes look into how the North Korean regime operates. Kim Hyun Hee wrote this memoir in order to expose the evil North Korean regime and, in a gesture of contrition for her terrible crime, she donated all of the proceeds from this book to the families of the victims of KAL 858.

This is Paradise!
This is Paradise!
by Hyŏk Kang
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.21
68 used & new from $0.96

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have read "Aquariums in Pyongyang" . . ., April 23, 2009
This review is from: This is Paradise! (Paperback)
"This Is Paradise!" is the riveting account of Hyok Kang's childhood in North Korea and his escape to China and , eventually, South Korea. What makes this book unique is that it provides a glimpse into the North Korea of the 1990s from a child's perspective. Moreover, Kang is quite an artist, and his sketches of select scenes from his North Korean childhood and his escape add considerably to this book.

Hyok Kang's "This Is Paradise!" comes following the success of Kang Chul Hwan's best-seller, "The Aquariums of Pyongyang", the first book written by a North Korean refugee about life in North Korea and escape from the communist country. Hyok Kang's account is shorter than Kang Chul Hwan's, and it does not provide the same detailed historical background of North Korea or the opinionated analysis found in "The Aquariums of Pyongyang." This is understandable considering that Kang Chul Hwan is significantly older than Hyok Kang (who was only born in 1986). Kang Chul Hwan had also spent significantly more time in South Korea before writing his book, giving him more of a chance to learn about communism worldwide and the recent history on the Korean peninsula.

While there are many parallels between this book and "Aquariums of Pyongyang," Hyok Kang's situation was notably different from that of Kang Chul Hwan. Whereas Kang Chul Hwan living in North Korea during the 1970s and 80s, when Kim Il Sung was president, Hyok Kang experienced North Korea under the rule of Kim Jong Il in the 1990s, when there was a severe shortage of food and a reported 3 million people died of starvation. While Kang Chul Hwan came from a privileged family living in Pyongyang, Hyok Kang hails from the Northeastern city of Onsong, far removed from the capital. Unlike Kang Chul Hwan, Hyok Kang never spent time in a North Korean gulag, although the harshness of the circumstances he lived through was reminiscent of Kang Chul Hwan's experience. Their escapes from North Korea also differed considerably. Whereas Kang Chul Hwan escaped along with a friend, Hyok Kang escaped together with his family.
While Kang Chul Hwan was able to go directly from China to South Korea, Hyok Kang and his family reached South Korea via a circuitous route through Southeast Asia.

Hyok Kang has an amazing story to tell, and his impressive illustrations allow the reader to visualize life in North Korea. While Hyok Kang's tale corroborates with Kang Chul Hwan's account, his experience differs significantly enough to make this book another essential reading for anyone interested in the human rights situation in North Korea. In fact, "This Is Paradise!" is such a remarkable story that it can be read and appreciated by anyone.

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