I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The attention to detail really lend to the story, and the fact that the author was a member of the CII enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The attention to detail really lend to the story, and the fact that the author was a member of the CIA for over 30 years really add to the credibility of the plot and story. ...more
I've long been interested in the lives of people living in the confines of North Korea. While information is fairly limited, in recent times more andI've long been interested in the lives of people living in the confines of North Korea. While information is fairly limited, in recent times more and more has come to the awareness of the public as individuals bravely tell their stories and surveillance and satellite images become allies in confirming and documenting what is happening in North Korea.
Unlike other books on North Korea (memoirs) that I've read, this one is told from 2 perspectives: that of Shin (the man who escaped), and the author who wrote and told his story. This provides a great perspective because the author helps clarify and really outline the struggle North Koreans' have in assimilating to life outside of North Korea. I also appreciate his frustrations in trying to deal with an escapee, because many people might assume that once out of North Korea, these people can just "get on with their lives" problem free. Clearly, it is a life long process and these people are often traumatized and confused as their feelings (which they are taught to suppress) finally surface.
Shin in one of only two known escapees from labor camps in North Korea, which is an astounding feat. This book tells his life story (from his memory) along with some fact based evidence added by Blaine Harden (author) of his life born into a N.Korean labor camp, to his escape and life after living outside of North Korea.
The chapters are well written, and make an impact. The culture of North Korea is well explained (caste system, rules, blood lines and how one can be considered guilty even if they did nothing wrong by virtue of being related to someone considered an "enemy"of the state, the lives in labor camps, and the conditions people live in).