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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book we all must read
I've read most of the recent books about North Korea; both those by scholars and those by escapees. This one, written by a journalist, Blaine Harden, is excellent. It brings to life the terrible reality of life in one of North Korea's many Gulags that exist today. And, what is even more shocking, it reveals the life of a young man actually born inside the Gulag who...
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by CJ Craig

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars shocking insight into North Korea
I felt the story when based on the experiences of the individual was quite shocking to realise this is still going on now and is quite similar to horrors of Nazi and Stalin prison camps. However I don,t feel it was very well written no fault of Shin but the ghost writer. I also felt it was very much put from the point of view of a what I guess would be a very right wing...
Published 12 months ago by peter trodd


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The futurist dystopia of Orwell made flesh, 24 April 2012
By 
Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West (Hardcover)
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A cruel and unforgiving read. Beneath the surface of almost everything, you'll find the perhaps unglamourous reality. The naked muscle on the end of the fork. The willing blindness of many is unsurprising. As Barbara Bush said, "'Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?'"

In this way, Escape From Camp 14, is essential reading for anyone with an interest or curiousity in the workings of the modern world. With a picture of a dystopian present that could easily be taken from the pages of a futurist author of several decades ago, it shows us a world that frankly is almost beyond imagination.

Only one person has escaped from this world. The bizarre, and frankly incoherently cruel reality of a North Korean workers camp. Here, children are born into slavery and prison. Captured for their lives to atone for the alleged sins of their parents. As a psychological device, it portrays the world as is, with nurture over-riding almost all other factors. If you don't know of something, all you know if that you know. Could you imagine something as glorious as sky if you had never seen it, or even heard it? Would you dare to hope for a cheeseburger, if your only experience of food was rice, water, and lettuce?

The trials of Shin, told without compunction or flair, are shocking in their ceaselessly mundane cruelty. Of parents shot in front of their children for no crime apart from being suspected of knowing of an escape plan. Of not even knowing for years that their parents are next to them. Of not even knowing of the existence of cities. Or television. Of only ever knowing of one other counmtry in the world - America - that wants to destroy North Korea at all costs, as if it were nothing but a single-purposed, unstoppable, political Mothra. Of being kept from this fate (in all probability, somewhat glorious, given that the quality of life in KimJongIlland is so undoubtedly grim), solely by the actions of a heroic, despotic, egocentric but unquestionable, utterly rampant dictator. Oh, it's easy to mock from the comforts of a heated living room, but this is the stuff of dystopian science-fiction and George Orwell. Imagine weeping at the thought of being able to read a newspaper. This is the world of Camp 14.

Written bleakly and without flair, the factual account of this ordeal that is, at this second, subject to millions of humans, is nothing but a punishing experience. Books like this aren't meant to be enjoyed, but endured, and perhaps, Camp 14 is a work that any serious scholar, or curious bystander, of politics needs to undergo to see how easily ideals can become idols and idiots crushing the flowers beneath their feet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fan-flippin-tastic!!!, 9 April 2014
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Could not put this down. Not only did it give a heartbreaking and emotional account of what it was like being born into a labour camp in communist North Korea. It also gives a historical background to North Korea and the politics and foul play happening there. The stories of torture and murder are horrific and makes you feel very sad to live in this sort of world in 2014. Couldn't recommend it more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book and pass it on for others to read and share., 24 Feb 2014
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This truly nightmarish world has been allowed to continue for more than 50 years. Why? How many people are dying there today? How many will die there tomorrow? If everyone reads this book maybe we can then resolve to make the nightmare stop. North Korea has only one friend, no not Rodman. China. China is the key to unravelling this puzzle. The UN has published its report, but the UN has no power. We make the world what it is. Not God, not Governments. If we all stop buying Chinese goods in protest China will be forced to listen and help NK change. North Korea is one giant prison. The guards in the camps are also victims. A lifetime of indoctrination has turned them insto monsters.
We make the world what it is, we need to make this nightmare stop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Disturbing, 21 Feb 2014
By 
D. Foot (London) - See all my reviews
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This is no "Great Escape" sequel. No chummily named tunnels and potato whisky. This is a deeply disturbing account of life as it still is in North Korea under an unspeakably cruel and tyrannical regime.

Parts of it inside the camp were really shocking. The book evolves into an interesting study of relationships under concentration camp conditions, and the lasting effect on those incarcerated even after they leave the camp.

My only criticism is that I would have liked more detail of Shin's travels in China.

It's a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars escape from camp 14, 29 Nov 2013
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Mr. Jesse Brookes "Jesse" (Kidderminster) - See all my reviews
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This book was a real eye opener as most of us only see what we are supposed to see i.e. the propaganda on the news. The book tells us what life in North Korea is really like and it made me realise how lucky I am to be born British.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw and Frightening, 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West (Hardcover)
A must read for North Korean enthusiasts in an area that lacks a lot of reference due to Dictatorship , a sad insight into the lives of millions.
Perhaps more would be done if they possessd oil ????
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly shocking, disturbing and utterly appalling that these prisons are still in operation., 10 Oct 2013
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Mr. A. S. Bassan "Jitbassan" (London,UK) - See all my reviews
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Buy this book. Buy it, then pass it around. Tortured, starved and brutalised all before the age of 13. How he managed to survive in what is certainly hell on earth is astonishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book shocked me., 6 Jun 2013
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Most of us hear vague things about North Korea's dictatorship, but it was only on reading this book that it really hit me what is going on there. When reading this book, I had to keep reminding myself that this is not fiction, and it's not even the past. I have read a lot of Holocaust material, but am not used to reading about things like that which are still going on in our world. A powerful read. I can't help thinking this should be forced on many of the world's politicians.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape from Camp 14 will stay with you long after the final page., 27 May 2013
I picked this up on a whim while wasting time browsing a bookshop one day, it's a habit I have which often leaves me with yet another book i'll never finish, but this time was quite different.

Escape from Camp 14 tells the harrowing and eye-opening tale of Shin Dong-hyuk's perilous journey from the horrific Camp 14, in North Korea, a place so terrible the government refuses to admit it's existence.

Blaine Harden's narrative captures Shin's story in a balanced and honest way; it is a difficult read at times, owing to the shocking subject matter, but it will open your eyes to what really goes on in the ever secretive Democratic Republic of North Korea.

We talk a lot about the horrors of Nazi Germany, the Russian Gulags, and even the modern atrocities occuring in Syria, Sudan and Darfur, but no one ever mentions the despicable acts that are outlined so vividly in this biography. I would urge everyone to read this book. It will rock you to the core.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How fortunate are we in the UK., 22 May 2013
By 
Julie Turnbull (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
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A testament to the human spirit. Very thought provoking and difficult to believe that this is still going on today. He is the age of my sons and when they as children enjoyed fun love and laughter he endured incredible suffering. Made me cry
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