Escape from Camp 14

By: Blaine Harden (Pg. Count: 210)

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

This true, riveting story sets in Shin Dong-hyuk's birth place, "Camp 14." The camp, which resides in the secretive valleys of North Korea. Shin has lived in the political prison for his entire life, just like his parents did; and their parents did too. and like the tens of thousands of incarcerated Koreans who share residence in the confines of the high security camp, Shin is unaware of the world that lies beyond the razor sharp, electrified fence that keeps them in. Through interviews conducted by Shin and award winning journalist Blaine Harden, shocking untold stories reveal Shin's horrifying reality inside the camp. As well as his heart pounding escape from the totalitarian state, he is the first known successful escapee of the camp who has lived to tell the tale.

By: Theodore Chaffman

Why I was interested

Escape from Camp 14 is a story written in a journalistic style. It gives straight facts and tells an unbiased story. I am interested in foreign government and politics, so Escape from Camp 14 was a good underdog story for me
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Why I Loved Escape from Camp 14

The subject matter of Escape from Camp 14 is utterly compelling, Since little is heard in media about these detention camps that hundreds of thousands of prisoners live today. The book gives a relevant perspective on life in the North Korean State.

What I didn't like about Escape from Camp 14

The way that the author tells the story is frustrating "at first." Blaine Harden intersperses the personal story of Shin along with political history and sidebar commentary. This is done to ensure understanding between the reader and storyline, but leads to inconsistency in the structure of the book.

Would I recommend Escape from Camp 14

The storyline of Escape from Camp 14 is brutal, graphic, and spares no details about life in a labor camp. The first half of the book is slow, dry, and depressing. But after years of labor in North Korea, Shin forms and executes an escape plan from Camp 14. On the run, and with a little bit of luck, Shin makes his way to the North Korean border, and crosses to "freedom" in China. The story is good for anyone who enjoys politics/ world culture, and doesn't pass out when they read the words "oozing blood" in secession.

What we learn about humanity and the ways of people by reading Escape from Camp 14

While being held in an underground prison during his teenage years, Shin befriends an elder in his cell that he refers to as "Uncle." Uncle dramatically brought a sense of hope, and life into Shin. He reshaped Shin's understanding of humanity, and the good in other people.