Heartbreaking Tale in Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Hardyn and Imprisoned, Shin Dong-hyuk

Heartbreaking Tale in Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Hardyn and Imprisoned, Shin Dong-hyuk

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Blaine Harden, former national correspondent and writer for the New York Times, delivers an agonizing and heartbreaking story of one man’s extremely conflicted life in a labor camp and an endeavor of escaping this place he grew up in. This man’s name is Shin Dong-hyuk. Together, Blaine Harden and Shin Dong-hyuk tell us the story of this man’s imprisonment and escape into South Korea and eventually, the United States, from North Korea. This biography that takes place from 1982-2011, reports to its readers on what is really going on in “one of the world’s darkest nations” (back cover of the book), that is run under a communist state and totalitarian dictatorship that was lead by Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and currently lead by Kim-Jong un. In Escape from Camp 14, Shin shows us the adaptation of his life and how one man can truly evolve from an animal, into a real human being.
Shin Dong-hyuk was born in a labor camp, more specifically known as Camp 14. In this camp, Shin was considered to be living “below the law” (3) because of his father’s brother’s crimes. In this camp, Shin went through things many people couldn’t even fathom. He survived on his own. His mother would beat him, his father ignored him, and he trusted no one. “Before he learned anything else, Shin learned to survive by snitching on all of them.” (3). In this camp, the word “family” did not exist. All of this sounds horrific to many people living outside of North Korea, but that’s just the beginning of it. His life became increasingly worse when his mother and brother made the decision to try and escape the camp. On April 5, 1996, Shins older brother, He Guen, came home. As He Guen was talking to Shin’s mother, he overheard that “his brother was in trouble a...


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...would recommend it to anybody, even if you know nothing about what goes on in North Korea. I love this book because I always hear about what North Korea does to their prisoners in the labor camps, but no one is ever truly sure of what goes on there since it is so isolated. Blaine Harden and Shin Dong-hyuk really show what this hidden society does on the inside of its country, which is a terror.
I commend Shin Dong-hyuk for what he has gotten through in life. The beatings from the guards, the stress of doing something wrong, and the worry of not finding food are things many people could not even imagine. He truly evolved from being an animal, into a human being. Blaine Harden and Shin Dong-hyuk really capture the secrecy and terror that goes on in this totalitarian society and hopefully, because of this, it will one day be stopped.



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