by Blaine Harden
A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.
North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.
In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden's harrowing narrative of Shin's life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world's darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.
Very rarely will you see a non-fiction review on my site. It's not because I shun the genre, it just generally can not hold my attention.
Sadly enough, some passages in this book read like... fiction.
The horrific descriptions of life and death will be certain to give you nightmares simply because they are truth. You can't lie to yourself and say a delightfully twisted mind created these dark scenarios to set the backdrop for a knight in shining armour. These twisted minds are evil and wielding the tiny bit of power they have to make those weaker than them suffer.
But I digress.
Blaine Harden narrates the story of Shin. A unique case of a North Korean born in a prison camp and raised according to the "rules". Snitching, death, hunger, and toil were all the norm for Shin, until he heard of the outside world. Innocent of brainwashing (he was not important enough, just an animal) and ignorant of geography, history, culture, and luxury - his motivating force was food (make's sense, he was constantly starving.)
This is a true ONGOING story. Read it, even though it is hard. And share it.