Blaine Harden

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

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<b>With a New Foreword <p></p>The heartwrenching <i>New York Times</i> bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. <br /></b> <p>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.</p> <p>In <i>Escape From Camp 14</i>, 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.</p> <p>The late &quot;Dear Leader&quot; 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.</p> <p>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. <i>Escape from Camp 14</i> offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world's darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.</p>

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With a New Foreword

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped.

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.

With a New Foreword

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. 

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.

Specifications

Publisher
Penguin Publishing Group
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
256
Author
Blaine Harden
Title
Escape from Camp 14
ISBN-13
9780143122913
Publication Date
March, 2013
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.80 x 5.10 x 0.60 Inches
ISBN-10
0143122916

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(4.1)out of 5 stars
5 stars
13
4 stars
20
3 stars
7
2 stars
1
1 star
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Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Entertaining novel
“Shin squirmed through an electric fence and ran off through the snow… Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do it” (Harden 1). Blaine Harden’s novel, Escape From Camp 14 is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, a prisoner born and raised in a North Korean political camp in 1980’s and his extraordinary escape to freedom in 2003. The story follows Shin’s daily struggle inside the camp and adapting to the outside world after being trapped in a political camp for 23 years. Shin’s life is based off of sacrifice and willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel’s main themes. Escape From Camp 14 is an engaging and heart wrenching story that follows a young man's dangerous escape from a North Korean political camp, his struggle to survive, and is a memorable story escaping a North Korean political camp. Escape From Camp 14 is more than a nonfiction story, Blaine Harden captures the secrets of inside of one of the world’s most oppressive political camps and Shin Dong-hyuk’s history-making escape. Escape From Camp 14 talks about the sacrifices Shin makes and how he is willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel's main themes. Shin was born and raised inside Camp 14, a political camp next to the Taedong River in North Korea where his mother and brother were killed and he was tortured in an underground prison for over six months. Shin worked in a garment factory fixing sewing machines when he met Park Yong Chul and together they planned their escape. One conflict Shin faces while planning his escape, is that he knows nothing about the outside world, “teachers said nothing about North Korea’s geography, its neighbors, its history, or its leaders. Shin had only a vague notion of who the Great Leader and the Dear Leader were” (Harden 28). Luckly Park had been to China and had family there. The day of the escape, Shin and Park were sent to the mountains to stack wood which put them close to the fence and gave them cover to hide under but when Park reached the fence first, he ended up dying from the electric current they did not know about. Shin squeezed through the fence and hiked around in the woods but he did not know where he was going because he relied on Park to set them on their way to China. With the help of the homeless, opened armed families, bribed Korean guards and LiNK (also known as Liberty in North Korea), Shin made it to China, South Korea, and America where he became a human rights activist. Shin’s escape was important because he was the first person ever born and raised inside of a North Korean Political Camp to escape. It provided useful information to companies like LiNK who are trying to get out other prisoners. Escape From Camp 14 is worthy of publication because it is a true engaging story that will make it hard for the readers to put the book down. It is an extraordinary story about Shin’s escape and his struggle to survive ins
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
This book read like a ...
This book read like a newspaper article (with no deep insight or revelations). A pretty mundane read, littered with untruths. North Korea still fascinates me though.......
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Entertaining novel
“Shin squirmed through an electric fence and ran off through the snow… Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do it” (Harden 1). Blaine Harden’s novel, Escape From Camp 14 is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, a prisoner born and raised in a North Korean political camp in 1980’s and his extraordinary escape to freedom in 2003. The story follows Shin’s daily struggle inside the camp and adapting to the outside world after being trapped in a political camp for 23 years. Shin’s life is based off of sacrifice and willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel’s main themes. Escape From Camp 14 is an engaging and heart wrenching story that follows a young man's dangerous escape from a North Korean political camp, his struggle to survive, and is a memorable story escaping a North Korean political camp. Escape From Camp 14 is more than a nonfiction story, Blaine Harden captures the secrets of inside of one of the world’s most oppressive political camps and Shin Dong-hyuk’s history-making escape. Escape From Camp 14 talks about the sacrifices Shin makes and how he is willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel's main themes. Shin was born and raised inside Camp 14, a political camp next to the Taedong River in North Korea where his mother and brother were killed and he was tortured in an underground prison for over six months. Shin worked in a garment factory fixing sewing machines when he met Park Yong Chul and together they planned their escape. One conflict Shin faces while planning his escape, is that he knows nothing about the outside world, “teachers said nothing about North Korea’s geography, its neighbors, its history, or its leaders. Shin had only a vague notion of who the Great Leader and the Dear Leader were” (Harden 28). Luckly Park had been to China and had family there. The day of the escape, Shin and Park were sent to the mountains to stack wood which put them close to the fence and gave them cover to hide under but when Park reached the fence first, he ended up dying from the electric current they did not know about. Shin squeezed through the fence and hiked around in the woods but he did not know where he was going because he relied on Park to set them on their way to China. With the help of the homeless, opened armed families, bribed Korean guards and LiNK (also known as Liberty in North Korea), Shin made it to China, South Korea, and America where he became a human rights activist. Shin’s escape was important because he was the first person ever born and raised inside of a North Korean Political Camp to escape. It provided useful information to companies like LiNK who are trying to get out other prisoners. Escape From Camp 14 is worthy of publication because it is a true engaging story that will make it hard for the readers to put the book down. It is an extraordinary story about Shin’s escape and his struggle to survive ins
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
This book read like a ...
This book read like a newspaper article (with no deep insight or revelations). A pretty mundane read, littered with untruths. North Korea still fascinates me though.......
“Shin squirmed through an electric fence and ran off through the snow… Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do it” (Harden 1). Blaine Harden’s novel, Escape From Camp 14 is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, a prisoner born and raised in a North Korean political camp in 1980’s and his extraordinary escape to freedom in 2003. The story follows Shin’s daily struggle inside the camp and adapting to the outside world after being trapped in a political camp for 23 years. Shin’s life is based off of sacrifice and willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel’s main themes. Escape From Camp 14 is an engaging and heart wrenching story that follows a young man's dangerous escape from a North Korean political camp, his struggle to survive, and is a memorable story escaping a North Korean political camp. Escape From Camp 14 is more than a nonfiction story, Blaine Harden captures the secrets of inside of one of the world’s most oppressive political camps and Shin Dong-hyuk’s history-making escape. Escape From Camp 14 talks about the sacrifices Shin makes and how he is willing to do anything to survive, two of the novel's main themes. Shin was born and raised inside Camp 14, a political camp next to the Taedong River in North Korea where his mother and brother were killed and he was tortured in an underground prison for over six months. Shin worked in a garment factory fixing sewing machines when he met Park Yong Chul and together they planned their escape. One conflict Shin faces while planning his escape, is that he knows nothing about the outside world, “teachers said nothing about North Korea’s geography, its neighbors, its history, or its leaders. Shin had only a vague notion of who the Great Leader and the Dear Leader were” (Harden 28). Luckly Park had been to China and had family there. The day of the escape, Shin and Park were sent to the mountains to stack wood which put them close to the fence and gave them cover to hide under but when Park reached the fence first, he ended up dying from the electric current they did not know about. Shin squeezed through the fence and hiked around in the woods but he did not know where he was going because he relied on Park to set them on their way to China. With the help of the homeless, opened armed families, bribed Korean guards and LiNK (also known as Liberty in North Korea), Shin made it to China, South Korea, and America where he became a human rights activist. Shin’s escape was important because he was the first person ever born and raised inside of a North Korean Political Camp to escape. It provided useful information to companies like LiNK who are trying to get out other prisoners. Escape From Camp 14 is worthy of publication because it is a true engaging story that will make it hard for the readers to put the book down. It is an extraordinary story about Shin’s escape and his struggle to survive ins
This book read like a newspaper article (with no deep insight or revelations). A pretty mundane read, littered with untruths. North Korea still fascinates me though.......

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 41 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

have not read the book but watched the movie

I saw the movie on this guy and liked it a lot (netflicks). I watched partly because my boyfriend is south Korean, so I'm interested in Korea because of that and all the current events going on with that to. but if u want to see the world not such a happy go lucky way this is the book or movie to get into.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

It feels odd to give a...

It feels odd to give a book like this five stars because that indicates that you liked the contents and really they were quite horrifying. This is about a boy who grew up in a North Korean labor camp and escaped. The things that he went through growing up are just unimaginable.Overall though the reason this book got 5 stars is because it is important for people to know about the North Korean labor camps and that they are still around and that people are being treated like this now in 2012. It is not history it is a current event.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

What a heartbreaking s...

What a heartbreaking story. I am very ignorant to what is going on in N. Korea. This young man's story was an educational moment for me. We learn about why N. Koreans are put into these camps. I assumed (with my Western mind) that they committed crimes, but this isn't the case at all. In N. Korea, you truly are visited by the sins of your father. I am going to continue to read more about N. Korea and try to get a broder view of what goes on there.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Escape from Camp 14: ...

'Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West' by Blaine Harden is a harrowing biography of a person born and raised in a political camp north of Pyongyang, North Korea. Shin-In-Geun's earliest memory is watching his mother and brother executed. He now blames himself for it. He was only four years old but he was trained to not trust his family but to be a snitch. So when he figured out that the two were planning an escape, he turned them in. He saw executions often in the camp. The guards stuffed stones in the prisoner's mouth so they couldn't make a noise and made them wear a hood. His food was meager, corn porridge, cabbage soup, and pickled cabbage. When he and the other boys were allowed, rats, snakes and insects that they caught were added to their diet. One girl in his class was beaten to death for stealing five grains of rice. When he was school age, he slept on the floor of a dormitory and learned counting and more obedience to the camp's rules. No geography, no history, in fact he grew up thinking that his world was the same everywhere. He didn't even know about the ruling dynasty of Northern Korea, the Kims. If he thought that camp life was all there was, why did he escape? Not for freedom, I think you would be very surprised to find out why he squeezed through an electric wire fence. How did he first find out about the outside world? He had no sense of family, when and how did he learn of that? This is a riveting story, a true story and makes you think of what a different world it is in North Korea and even worse, in one of the camps. I could talk all day about this book, there is so much more to it. I cannot recommend this book high enough for an eye opening true story from the other side of the world.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Ive read a lot of tho...

I've read a lot of thought-provoking and horrifying books about German concentration camps, but I was not thoroughly prepared for this book. Of course, some of the themes are consistent - desperation, horror, starvation, and self-preservation at all costs. However, a huge difference between this book and many Holocaust books I have read is the fact that the subject of this book knew absolutely nothing about life outside the prison camp. He was born there and accepted that this was the way life was supposed to be. Memoirs by concentration camp survivors often include memories of lives before the Holocaust and varying degrees of freedom. Shin (the defector in this book) knew nothing else. His existence was a nightmare in a vacuum, and the fact that he escaped successfully was the result of extraordinary luck. This is a lightning fast read, presented in the crisp style of a seasoned journalist. We are given context about North Korean domestic policy, its relationship with China, and its economic situation where appropriate, but the book does not get bogged down and kept my attention from start to finish. My understanding of the situation inside North Korea has expanded tremendously. I highly recommend this book.


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