"Through the extraordinary arc of Shin''s life, Harden illuminates the North Korea that exists beyond the headlines and creates a moving testament to one man''s struggle to retrieve his own lost humanity."- --Marcus Noland, co-author of "Witness to Transformation: ""Refugee Insights into North Korea"
'Harrowing . . . Harden s story of Shin Dong-hyuk differs from the best previous refugee narratives The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-hwan, Barbara Demick s Nothing to Envy because Shin was in every sense a product of Camp 14. Born in captivity to a pair of inmates picked by camp commanders for a loveless bit of procreation, Shin grew up with no awareness of anything beyond the electrified fences. He is like the boy-narrator of Emma Donoghue s novel Room, whose entire world is the backyard shed where he and his kidnapped mother are held captive. Except that the boy in Room knows love. Harden s book, besides being a gripping story, unsparingly told, carries a freight of intelligence about this black hole of a country'--New York Times
'Shin s existence in the camp and his escape to the unknown world beyond its fences is the remarkable and harrowing tale that former Washington Post reporter Blaine Harden recounts in spare, unadorned prose in Escape From Camp 14 . . . while the horrors of the Russian gulag, Nazi genocide and Cambodian mass murders have been amply documented, North Korea s grisly conditions remain shadowy and under-publicized. In depicting the depravity of North Korean prison life, Harden s book is an important portrait of man s inhumanity to man'--Washington Post
'. . . Now comes Escape From Camp 14, a still more harrowing account of the gulag within the gulag, the huge prison camps that litter the more remote provinces of this benighted country. Written by Blaine Harden, an experienced American journalist, it tells the extraordinary story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person born in the gulag to have escaped'--Observer
'A skilfully researched piece of book-length journalism uncluttered, as far as seems reasonable, with emotion. It is old now, the saying that for evil to exist, good men must do nothing. And that is what you take away, more than anything, from Harden's book. More than why the crimes against humanity are happening in the first place, more than whose responsibility it is to stop them, the question is why for the sake not of politics but of mankind is nobody in power doing anything about it?'--Spectator
'A work that deserves to be widely read'--Sydney Morning Herald
'Harden knows a lot about North Korea and he wears his knowledge lightly . . . Harden deserves a lot more than wow for this terrifying, grim and, at the very end, slightly hopeful story of a damaged man still alive only by chance, whose life, even in freedom, has been dreadful'--Literary Review
'With a protagonist born into a life of backbreaking labor, cutthroat rivalries, and a nearly complete absence of human affection, Harden s book reads like a dystopian thriller. But this isn t fiction it s the biography of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known person born into one of North Korea s secretive prison labor camps who has managed to escape'--Publisher s Weekly
'More so than any other book on North Korea, including my own, Escape from Camp 14 exposes the cruelty that is the underpinning of Kim Jong Il s regime. Blaine Harden, a veteran foreign correspondent from The Washington Post, tells this story masterfully. Harden doesn t flinch from the darker side of the story. He takes straight-on questions about Shin s credibility and explains methodically how he went about corroborating his story. He doesn t try to make Shin a difficult and damaged person more likeable. The integrity of this book shines through on every page'
--Barbara Demick, Samuel Johnson prize-winning author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
'A valuable read that casts a welcome spotlight on the most despicable regime on the planet.' --Financial Times
Twenty-six years ago, Shin Dong-hyuk was born inside Camp 14, one of five sprawling political prisons in the mountains of North Korea. Located about 55 miles north of Pyongyang, the labor camp is a 'complete control district,' a no-exit prison where the only sentence is life. No one born in Camp 14 or in any North Korean political prison camp has escaped. No one except Shin. This is his story. A gripping, terrifying memoir with a searing sense of place, ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14 will unlock, through Shin, a dark and secret nation, taking readers to a place they have never before been allowed to go. This is a story unlike any other Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea