Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BACK AGAIN! Review: Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the WestEscape from Camp 14
Blaine Harden

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.
In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. 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 mother and brother.
The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.
Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

Hey guys! I'm back! Been a crazy month, had a great time, but all the same it's good to get back to routine. So this last week since my return to reading I finished Escape from Camp 14- a biography (aren't you proud of me??) documenting the above. And wow. 

I'll start with this- it's an emotionally tough read. Don't give it to a kid. But even if you have a sensitive stomach, I firmly believe we all have a moral obligation to learn from this. In fact, I won't be surprised if it props up on one of my siblings' English curriculums when they hit high school. I had NO IDEA of the atrocities I read about, and was inspired to do the research as a result. I'm astounded by what I found- both of the occurences and the tremendous, (yet not big enough) beautiful efforts volunteers are making to put a stop to it. 

So that was my opinion as a human being^^. As a reader I was really intrigued by the psycological effects Shin's life has on him today and was satisfied by their presentation. However, I do wish the biography would've had a more solid resolution- the book was clearly published at a very confused time for Shin so that's how we left off. 

The publication includes pictures, illistrations and general knowledge of Korean history which was really helpful and much appreciated! So all that's left for me to say is, any ideas of how I could get involved? 


P.S. Much as you'll impress your teacher, I do not recommend doing a book report on this. It was exhausting and complicated. Yes, I speak from experience :/

1 comment:

  1. Yes, is amazing how this issues just keeps getting swept under the rug. It makes you feel quite helpless. Nice review. Thanks for visiting and commenting on mine.


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