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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable life story, 10 July 2012
This review is from: Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West (Hardcover)
There aren't very many news stories or articles about North Korea, which is considered to be one of the most isolated and restricted countries in the world. It is the first time that I have ever read the memoir of the former North Korean refugee.

Shin was born in the labour camp 14. It is so sad to read that an extremely innocent child was forced to live in the brutal and inhospitable environment where he didn't hear the word of `love' or `sympathy', and he was never celebrated his birthday until he managed to escape to South Korea. Having been brought up in the prisoners' camp, he rarely saw his parents and brother. He was given the education, but he was only given the rudimentary level of education which enabled him to follow the instructions of work. Raising questions or disobeying the teacher did not only get him into trouble but would be liable to be given very harsh punishment or if unlucky, he would be shot immediately. He was forced to do hard labour in the very appealing conditions from the young age and saw a number of fellow pupils or workers died.

The memoir produced by Blaine Harden is very honest and constructive, and it gives the evidence of the brutal school and work environments Shin experienced, how he would have thought of his mother and brother being executed when he was 13, and the way his life and thought would have changed after meeting of less strenuous teacher and Park who told him the life of outside the labour camp and outside of North Korea. Having done scrupulous and through research, he reveals the detailed account of history and politics and discovers the very notorious actions of transferring collections of disaster funds to the North Korea Community Party, which have been happening since 1980s.

I have to say Shin's story is extremely harrowing, hard-going, gripping, and remarkable, and I was very glad and relieved to learn that he survived to the end and read through his life. I do hope that this memoir will help to increase awareness of North Korean's human right's issues to the world.
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Location: London, UK

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