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Escape from Camp 14

One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


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. Blaine Harden's latest book, King of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 10, 2011 – 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 and now lives in the U.S. Harden structures Shin s horrific experience which includes witnessing the execution of his brother and sister after their escape plan is discovered around an examination of the role that political imprisonment and forced labor play in North Korea and the country s fraught relationship with its economically prosperous neighbors South Korea and China While Shin eventually succeeds in escaping North Korea s brutal dictatorship, adjusting to his new life proves to be extraordinarily difficult, and he wrestles with his complicity in the atrocities of his past he informed on his mother and other brother, which led to their execution. I was more faithful to the guards than to my family. We were each other s spies, he confesses. Harden wisely avoids depicting the West as a panacea for Shin s trauma, instead leaving the reader to wonder whether Shin will ever be able to reconcile his past with the present. Harden notes both the difficulty of obtaining information about daily existence in North Korea and of fact-checking such information (including Shin s own version of events), and the book s brevity may leave readers wanting more from this brisk, brutal, sorrowful read.

Customer Reviews

Escape From Camp 14!!!

Wow this story definitely got under my skin and touched my heart. Needless to say, you will need a stomach that can handle gruesome details to read this book.

Not that great, not that bad

Book was ok not as good as I had hoped it to be. Too much recycled news information about North Korea as filler. More detailed information about Shins stay in Camp 14 would have been better.

Heart breaking and inspiring

I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is a well told account of the awe inspiring story of one young man's survival and escape from one of the most brutal dictatorial regimes to exist in modern times. I literally finished the book in two days, and I could not out It down until I had read it all.

Escape from Camp 14
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Asia
  • Published: Mar 29, 2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings