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Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,044 ratings  ·  449 reviews
Somewhere Inside is the electrifying, never-before-told story of Laura Ling’s capture by the North Koreans in March 2009, and the efforts of her sister, journalist Lisa Ling, to secure Laura’s release by former President Bill Clinton. This riveting true account of the first ever trial of an American citizen in North Korea’s highest court carries readers deep inside the wor ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by William Morrow
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,044 ratings  ·  449 reviews

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May 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Eh. I nearly fell over when I saw my library actually had this book since I assumed the publicity meant it would be checked out FOREVER. I was surprised NOT to like this book. It's interesting to compare it to Saberi's Between Two Worlds; I think Saberi's is a little better. Something about the tone of Somewhere Inside grated a little bit. I feel like both Laura & Lisa Ling had a self-importance (at least about their profession) that was slightly unpleasant (Lisa Ling reminds the reader at l ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book last month and have frequently thought about it since then. It's the story of two American journalists who were reporting on a story while on the border of China and North Korea, when some North Korean soldiers arrested them. One of the journalists was Laura Ling, who is the sister of Lisa Ling. Laura and Euna Lee were arrested and held captive for about five months in 2009. They were finally released when former President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong Il. ...more
La Petite Américaine
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was just one more reminder of why I hate the North Korean government ... oh, and why I love Bill Clinton.

Can you imagine being held prisoner in the Orwellian hellhole that is North Korea for six months, only to be brought home by Bill Clinton in a shiny private jet?

Yet another reason of why Bill can call me Monica any time. :)
Marty Pellum
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I found Laura's first-person experience of North Korea's political and legal system far more interesting than her personal situation itself. By that I mean that despite her efforts to convey how scared she felt or Lisa's alternating chapters lamenting being separated from her "Baby Girl", they were unable to make me feel really badly for her. Laura was treated extremely well compared to most North Koreans, whether or not they are in prison. Laura was in an unpredictable part of the world doing s ...more
Sabrina Rutter
May 22, 2010 marked it as try-again-later
I was really into this book, but was so busy I didn't have enough time to finish it before it was due back at the library. Someone put this book on hold, so I couldn't extend my time with it. I did however put this on hold for me after that person is done with the book so that I can finish it. This is why I like owning my books!
May 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: noone
Recommended to Kate by: NPR
Shelves: asia, memoirsbios
This book was terribly disappointing. I was not very familiar with Laura at all, and had only limited experience with Lisa. For whatever reason, I thought that nationally known journalists would be more intelligent than the average person. This book seemed rushed, maudlin and only mildly interesting. I was expecting a lot more political background, detail and insight into North Korea from Laura. [And, oh yeah, an APOLOGY! But she never really seems to admit her absolute foolishness in knowingly ...more
Susan (aka Just My Op)
On a very frigid morning in March, 2009, Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and Mitch Koss crossed a frozen river from China and spent a few minutes on the North Korean bank of the river before turning back to China. Their purpose was to produce a documentary about the defectors fleeing North Korea into an uncertain future in China. Before they reached the Chinese bank, they were chased by North Korean soldiers. Mitch escaped. Laura and Euna spent 5 months detained by the North Korean government, not knowing ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I’ve been on a bit of a North Korea kick lately – seriously guys, I am fascinated by this dark and terrifying place – and when a blogger reminded me about this book, I knew I had to read it. I am a huge fan of Lisa Ling – I think her journalism is smart and brave, and I truly admire her for the stories and truths she’s been able to bring to the public eye – and while I was less familiar with her sister Laura, I was still very interested in this harrowing story.

Somewhere Inside was everything I e
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
North Koreans guards dragged these two injured frightened women back across a frozen river onto North Korean soil. Laura and Euna tried to grab bushes, rocks, ice anything to keep them on Chinese soil. Finally, all they could hold onto was each other, but they were soon forced apart.

I called my sister tonight just to confirm that she would do everything she could to bring me home if I'm ever in a North Korean jail.

The love between these two sisters is amazing. Lisa Ling's powerful love for her
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I don't follow current events much and I hadn't even known about this whole event until I saw a book review a couple of months ago.

I really liked the rare look into North Korea and it's government. And I felt for Laura and Euna, to a point. I couldn't help but think that they brought everything upon themselves. Laura knew full well she was stepping on North Korean soil. They had highly controversial tapes and notes with them. What did she think would happen if she was caught?

I think she was tre
Sarah Coats
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
It isn't like me to not follow something in the media, but I have to admit that I didn't follow the arrest and prison journey of Euna and Laura, and after reading the book about their journey, I wish that I had followed it more closely. The book truly offered insight into realms of North Korea that I didn't realize existed. The moment that Euna and Laura descend down the stairs at the hanger, I was so excited and moved to tears that they were released. What did the book teach me? I would say muc ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: postponed
Wow. I really want to know what happens in North Korean detention, but the writing was so bad that I couldn't get past the first chapter. I mean, really bad. This lady would not have passed a high school writing class. I can only imagine what it looked like before it was edited. Here's hoping Euna Lee's book is better.
Adam  McPhee
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Ling sisters like to mock North Koreans for their worship of then leader Kim Jong-il, which makes their adulation of American celebrities like Oprah and Democrats like Al Gore bitterly ironic. At least with the Koreans you get the sense they're doing it out of fear. The Ling sisters, however, don't have that excuse to fall back on.
Melissa Jackson
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
While this is a fascinating story, it is amateurishly written and honestly, it is hard to empathize with feelings of despair and the unknown in captivity when Laura's sister Lisa works for Oprah and is friends with Al Gore.
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was one amongst millions of people who weeped and rejoiced upon their release. It's heartwrenching to read what had happen to these girls inside North Korea as recounted by Laura Ling and the accounts of Lisa Ling's efforts to secure the release of her sister.
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
For such an interesting topic this was surprisingly boring.
Chrissy Moon
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible account of Laura Ling's captivity in the DPRK in 2009.

Told from both Laura and her sister Lisa's point of view (with different fonts to prevent confusion), I found this story very well told. One could actually feel like they were there at the compound with Laura, or really on the phone with political figures like Lisa was.

One thing I liked in particular was how they were careful not to bash anybody, not even the North Korean government, yet their accounts were real, emoti
Bev Walkling
I picked this book up because I recognized Lisa Ling's face on the cover. Having said that, I am not a watcher of "The View" and was not aware of this story while it was happening. I knew from the outset that the book would have a positive ending (from reading the back cover) but while I was reading it I really felt an element of suspense and worry about how things would work themselves out.

Both Lisa and Laura Ling are journalists. Laura was part of a team of 3 who visited China on a tourist vis
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I vaguely remember when this happened -- the candlelight vigils, Clinton going over to NK, that bizarre picture of Clinton looking like he just swallowed a frog and Kim Jong Il looking like he just won the lottery. I also saw this book once or twice in a grocery store of all places -- guaranteed to make me pass it by. But it wasn't until I caught an old re-run of Lisa Ling's documentary of North Korea, which she shot IN North Korea, that I put the pieces together and realized it had been HER sis ...more
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's hard for me to grasp that a country like North Korea exists in these "modern" times. Reading Laura Ling's story of her capture and imprisionment in North Korea makes me thankful of the many blessings I take for granted in my life. It's very difficult for me to accept the type of "leader worship" that is prevalent in this country. It seems almost impossible to me.

The book inspired me to learn a bit more about North Korea and to reflect upon how other countries view the U.S.

The book goes bac
Jun 05, 2010 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting but not really as much as most other reviewers. Given the subject I expected it to be completely gripping ("unputdownable" as they say) so maybe my expectations were just too high. It alternated chapters between Laura's experience in captivity and her sister Lisa's efforts stateside to secure her release. While it was informative to read about Lisa's side, I think it may have diminished the intensity of Laura's ordeal to have the two sides interspersed throughout th ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: tv
A sort of celeb memoir but with a purpose. Lisa Ling's sister was doing some journalism project in South Korea and sort of accidentally on purpose stepped onto North Korea soil for like a second. I don't really understand why they even went there for a moment. It seemed like an accident on the part of their contact, but was it really an accident? They never expanded on that and while he got away, the girls got screwed. Was he a spy and was this the point all along? That is what it seemed like to ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and The Other's Fight to Bring Her Home (Laura Ling & Lisa Ling)

The story of Laura Ling And Euna Lee, journalists that went to China/North Korea to caputre a story of North Korean defectors. In China on the Tumen River, preparing their story, they cross into North Korean Territory and become the captured.

They are held prisoners for over 5 months, interogated and separated from each other and thier family. Wonderfuly told by Laura (Ling)
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Laura and Euna entered China as "visitors" instead of journalists and did illegally cross into North Korea, but that is the risk they took as journalists to open the world's eyes to the cruelty that causes North Koreans to flee their own country. I am amazed that Laura was able to write her part of the book so quickly after being imprisoned for over 5 months.

This book gives a view into how influential the media is in politics. I am not sure that Laura and Euna would have had the same experienc
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
What a RARE glimpse into this hidden country and the insights gained through Laura's captivity. Many shocking details of everyday life for the citizens of North Korea, their beliefs and opinions of Americans. What Laura (and her companion, Euna Lee) went through was excruciating but what a gift she brought back for us all. And what a fabulous ambassador she was to represent the USA. I am so proud of her and so proud of her family's efforts to bring her home, and the heroic and selfless commitmen ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at what it’s like in North Korea, one of the most secretive societies in the world. The alternating voices of Laura Ling and Lisa Ling tell the story of Laura and Euna’s imprisonment, one of what it’s like to be the prisoner, the other of what it’s like to navigate the political landscape in America to try and use America’s key diplomats to free the prisoners. The oppressive North Korean society clearly knows a lot about heartbreak and secrecy and paranoia and it’s sad to see ...more
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Somewhere Inside is the story of Laura Ling's capture and imprisonment for trespassing in North Korea. While filming a documentary about North Koreans who try to escape their strict government, Laura and Euna Lee were captured by North Korean soldiers for briefly stepping onto North Korean soil. They are imprisoned and eventually sentenced to 12 years hard labor. Thankfully, based on the tireless efforts of their family and friends the women are pardoned and released in a little less than 5 mont ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked it because of the ridiculousness of the stories within. About halfway through the book I started to see the humor in the story of the irresponsible reporter trying to play at undercover journalism and in the fantastical beliefs and farcical requests of the North Korean people and their leadership.

I enjoyed it more that other books on NK due to Laura Ling's almost instinctual willingness to connect with people. She has a lot of empathy even for those who tormented her and she is ab
Bert Edens
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was an outstanding look behind the scenes of not only what led to Laura Ling and Euna Lee's capture and incarceration in North Korea, but how Laura survived day-to-day. It also goes into great detail about Lisa Ling using her contacts in the media and government to help push for the young ladies' release.

What I got most out of this book is that despite the perception of North Korea, the individuals doing their day-to-day jobs outside the upper echelon of government are people just like the
Cynthia Sillitoe
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Really amazing. I wish, though, that Euna Lee had collaborated on this rather than doing her own book. (Haven't read that yet, but it's on my list.) I can see the appeal of having one's own book, but I couldn't help feeling like I was missing a piece of the puzzle. And now I know when I read Euna's book, I'll have to come back to this to see how they line up.
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