Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea To Freedom In The West

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea To Freedom In The West

by Blaine Harden

Penguin Publishing Group | March 26, 2013 | Trade Paperback

Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea To Freedom In The West is rated 4.2273 out of 5 by 22.
The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped

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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 7.75 × 5.07 × 0.71 in

Published: March 26, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143122916

ISBN - 13: 9780143122913

Found in: History

save 26%

  • In stock online

$14.73  ea

Online Price

$19.00 List Price

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was great! To supply itself with food & clothing North Korea beats, starves and works to death tens of thousands of its citizens , this is the story of one of them. The true story of Shin Dong-Hyuk beautifully told by Blain Harden takes place in one of the worlds most secretive nations: North Korea. Between 1982-2003, but the issue of labor camps in North Korea today. Shin, a 20 year old man who freedom was more important to that anyone. His mother a selfish woman who risked her family's lives for her chance to escape. Park one of Shin's best friends who aided Shin in his struggle to stay sane in the camps. Escape From Camp 14 is a tale of a young boy born into a North Korean labor camp. Shin doesn't know what a healthy relationship is. Having an abusive mother. A distant father and friendships few and far between. Shin adapts to be self reliant and take from others to get what he wanted. I enjoyed this book because it genuinely addresses the problems in North Korea down to other last details. It gave information about the events and practices in them. The book was emotionally heavy and hard to read at times but I admire Blaine Harden for not making light of what Shin lived through.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard to believe its true! Inside the most vile and detestable place in North Korea exists Camp 14, a prison camp. After just reading a few pages I knew the novel Escape From Camp 14 was going to be one of violence, cruelty, suffering and control. This book is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk life in Camp 14 from his earliest memory at the age of four until his escape. The book goes into the darkest part of Shin’s life and his constant battle for survival and the unthinkable things he did to just stay alive. It is unbelievably disturbing as he talks about his own life as well as the other prisoners and the torture, abuse, starvation, intimidation, imprisonment, absolutely no freedom and the killings of humans by other humans. This book is an eye opener about North Korea and their treatment of prisoners which is hidden from the rest of the world or just ignored. Since we live in Canada, a country of freedom I wasn’t fully prepared that there are such uncivilized areas of the world where things happen that I can’t even image. After reading Shin’s story you should have a better understanding, like I do of the uncertainty and the challenges he must have faced after his escape and trying to live in a civilized world for the first time. Some stories just need to be told because we live in a part of the world where freedom is expected and we can’t imagine what it would be like to live the way Shin did. While reading this book it made me appreciate the life I have, where I live and how precious our freedom is. I think the author, Blaine Harden, writes an exceptionally detailed story of what Shin’s life was like living in Camp 14 and his tale of survival and his fight for freedom. Definitely worth reading, but be prepared for some graphic details. This is a great book for anyone who likes to read non-fiction, although at times I had a hard time remembering it is a true story.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard to believe it's true! Inside the most vile and detestable place in North Korea exists Camp 14, a prison camp. After just reading a few pages I knew the novel Escape From Camp 14 was going to be one of violence, cruelty, suffering and control. This book is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk life in Camp 14 from his earliest memory at the age of four until his escape. The book goes into the darkest part of Shin’s life and his constant battle for survival and the unthinkable things he did to just stay alive. It is unbelievably disturbing as he talks about his own life as well as the other prisoners and the torture, abuse, starvation, intimidation, imprisonment, absolutely no freedom and the killings of humans by other humans. This book is an eye opener about North Korea and their treatment of prisoners which is hidden from the rest of the world or just ignored. Since we live in Canada, a country of freedom I wasn’t fully prepared that there are such uncivilized areas of the world where things happen that I can’t even image. After reading Shin’s story you should have a better understanding, like I do of the uncertainty and the challenges he must have faced after his escape and trying to live in a civilized world for the first time. Some stories just need to be told because we live in a part of the world where freedom is expected and we can’t imagine what it would be like to live the way Shin did. While reading this book it made me appreciate the life I have, where I live and how precious our freedom is. I think the author, Blaine Harden, writes an exceptionally detailed story of what Shin’s life was like living in Camp 14 and his tale of survival and his fight for freedom. Definitely worth reading, but be prepared for some graphic details. This is a great book for anyone who likes to read non-fiction, although at times I had a hard time remembering it is a true story.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Book Review Can just ONE person stop a whole country from doing the wrong thing? Blaine is an expert because he is a best selling author, and is a contributor for The Economist and other organizations. Blaine wanted to help Shin because he wanted to help him raise awareness about the political camps.Blaine met his goal earlier than he probably expected to. One thing that bothers me is that the book is not chronological, you would be in the middle of a chapter and it would just RKO you out of nowhere and it would just state info about North Korean history. The pace of the book was dragged on because of the history sections, and the structure of it was too descriptive for me and there was barely any dialogue. I would compare this book to Hatchet because it is both about survival and adventure, and they teach you that when you are deep in a hole you can still find a way out. Escape From Camp 14 is more valuable than Hatchet, but Hatchet was more enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to people who like adventure and survival, and the ideal age should be 11+ because younger ones might not be able to handle some gruesome detail.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Shin Dong-hyuk recanted most of this book. I earnestly haven't read this book, but in January of 2015 Shin Dong-Hyuk, the subject of this book, recanted most of what he said in this book to this journalist. He no longer states that he spent his life in Camp 14 while in NK. He now states that instead he spent a good deal of time in Camp 18. He was tortured in Camp 14 when he was 20, not 13, as punishment for his second escape attempt. I imagine it is a great story but it is sadly fiction inspired by a true story and no longer non-fiction/biography.
Date published: 2015-02-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Must Read! I liked this book because it opened my eyes to a world we are not well educated about. To know that people are living through a current day Holocaust is unbearable. This story gives us more of an insight about what goes on within the North Korean boarders, and the struggles all people face daily. Please read to educate yourself!
Date published: 2013-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from There's No Escaping this Novel Wow. I don't even know where to start or how to express how I feel after reading this novel. We all know North Korea is a secluded and scary country that no one really gets into or out of. Well, this novel describes Chin, who made it out, of one of the prison camps, no less. It is hard to read what Chin went through in these camps, how was raised, how he lived and even how he thought. This novel is a quick read, very short and to the point with no lengthy political discourse. I think it is an important novel for people to read to understand how lucky we really are and how much of a threat North Korea really is.
Date published: 2013-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OMG!!!!!! I was given this book as a Christmas present, and just got around to reading it. Came across this book totally by accident one day in Chapters. I was completely absorbed in this story by chapter one, and it took me about 6 hours to finish it. What an incredible story of human resilience in the face of such evil, that unbelievably exists today. I must say there were times I had to put this book down. I find it incredible that I had difficulty just reading this story, how Shin ever lived this horror is beyond comprehension. My heart goes out to Shin and the hundreds of thousands of people still prisoners in these camps. It is horrible to think that I and other good people like myself are part of the "human race" whose treatment of other human beings is nothing less than abhorrent. I really had no idea that this is still going on today. I learned so much from this book, but mostly about great courage and a will to live. I will never understand how anyone who suffered as Shin did, could ever recover. I will not forget this story for a very long time, if ever.
Date published: 2013-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Book I first borrowed this book from my local library and then found out that the author Blaine Harden was going to be interviewed at the Toronto Reference Library. I bought my own copy which he very kindly signed for me. I have now read the book twice and it is a harrowing story of survival against the odds. A must read. It is nice to know that Shin is doing well and now living and working in South Korea.
Date published: 2013-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I'm not much on reviews, but I can definitely say that this is a great book. I've been wanting to read it for awhile and when I finally got around to doing so, I was very pleased. I wish the best for Shin and his future. This book outlines some of the worst aspects of humanity. It can boggle the mind that things like this can happen behind closed doors.
Date published: 2013-03-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hauntingly Important Read! The story of Shin Dong-Hyuk takes you right into one of North Korea's most horrifying prison camps that make the Holocaust seem like a spring vacation. Human life is disposable. Human feeling unheard of. Trust even between a mother and her son does not exist. Love is impossible. What was most scary for me, was truly coming to terms with this place where I could understand how and why Shin made the decisions he did. And I question my own moral integrity were I to be in the same place... To read more of my review check-out my blog: charliebooks.blogspot.ca
Date published: 2013-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye opening! I purchased this because it was on sale....loved it. Such a sad true life story. To imagine that these kind of events are still happening in today's world....mind blowing. I read this in 2 days, then discussed it openly with my 8 1/2 year old son, because I think it's important to understand how good we really have it. Read, read read!!! Everyone should read this !
Date published: 2013-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read! Very interesting to have insight into how life is in Camp 14 and North Korea. Worth reading.
Date published: 2013-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Most Extraordinary Book I could not put this book down from the moment I started to read the very first page it certainly is an eye opener what is going on in labour camps in North Korea. The hardships and abuse the women, men and children encountered each and everyday of their lives in order to survive. Shin is a remarkable man having the courage to escape and start a new life for himself. This book will truly drags your soul down to the unbelieveable evil and cruelty that man can force upon another human being.
Date published: 2013-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Indeed, an incredible history of survival. It is a shame that such an horror still exists in a world that call itself "civilized".
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reality check From reading the description and reviews, I felt this book would shed a light on the brutal conditions of North Korea and to its people. After reading the first couple of chapters, I sensed that Shin was sort of holding back on revealing too much information for fear and lack of trust. I can understand this and Blaine does a good job in writing in words what can truly be unimaginable to see in real life. To go into detail about his upbringing in the camp to his escape shows just how much one man can go through in his early life. I recommend anyone to read this as it shows not only how one person escaped "hell", but how he struggles to exist in the real world as well.
Date published: 2012-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable and Sad Highly recommended to foreign-born Koreans and anyone interested in learning about North Korea. This is the side of North Korea that the world does not see... this book is the story of someone so courageous that his picture is on the front and his life may now be in danger. A page-turner, couldn't put it down and finished in a day.
Date published: 2012-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Incredible Head shaking, eye opening, incredible that this happened in our lifetime. Sad really.
Date published: 2012-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Escape From Camp 14 "Escape From Camp 14", a book written by Blaine Harden about the experiences of Shin Dong-hyuk, unexpectedly caught my eye while browsing the shelves in a bookstore. For years I had been quickly growing an interest in South Korean culture, and naturally, had become vaguely aware of the issues surrounding its neighbouring country, North Korea. I was curious, and this curiosity was what prompted me to buy the book. The place described in this story, a prison camp within a country often described as a prison itself, was beyond anything I could imagine. To think that, there exists today, places comparable to the Nazi concentration camps was an outrageous notion, but Harden's facts and Shin's powerful story never made me doubt it for a moment. You will learn many things from reading this book, many of them unknown to the general person. It will make you cringe, gasp, curl your lip in anger, hold your breath in suspense, and probably even cry. It will open your eyes to the fact that although globalization is prominent in the world and media can be counted on to report news stories found both locally and globally, there are still things happening in this world that the majority of us are unaware of. Things that breach countless human rights in the most horrible ways possible. Things that must be stopped. Although Shin is the only known person whom can claim to have been born and raised in a North Korean prison camp, and to have escaped, his story will hopefully be an awakening to the world, prompting them to do something about this horrible reality. All Shin has is his story, the life he was given to live and the memories that still haunt him today, but by sharing it with us, using the words of Blaine Harden, he has also given hope to those he left behind; those who still remain in the prison camp he had once called home. Read this book and increase that hope.
Date published: 2012-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Eye-Opening to the Grim Realities I found this book to be an absolutely amazing read. Harden did an amazing job of supplementing Shin's narrative with hard-line facts derived from various sources. Included is information on various psychological studies and surveys by both governments and NGOs on the status of North Korea and it's inhabitants. What I really enjoyed was that Harden didn't spend his words trying to convince you to like Shin. The story was what the story was, and he didn't introduce his own feelings towards the subject into Shin's words. The reality is that Shin doesn't come across as a person deserving of rescue. Oftentimes Harden brings you into Shin's psyche and you will find something inherently selfish and undesirable about him. In the end, Shin is presented to you as a real person with both good and bad qualities. Harden doesn't attempt to explain Shin's mental state or attitudes himself, instead he brings in scientific and documented information and leaves the rest up to you. This in my opinion, is how non-fiction should be written. What really stood out to me was the uniqueness of this story. As you will learn from the synopsis, Shin is the only person ever known to have been born and raised fully in North Korea's labour camps. His story is inherently different from any others you may have read before. The world he presents illustrates something very different from what you may have assumed from North Korea, that everybody is brainwashed and foolishly loyal to a regime because they have forgotten all else. Be prepared as not everything in the book is easily digested, but it is definitely worth reading.
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a book! This book truly gives the leader an inside look at the treatment of prisoners within North Korea's concentration camps. Although the events described in the book are hard to follow, it sheds light on what has been going on inside the hermit kingdom for over 50 years. I definitely recommend this read to anyone who is an advocate for human rights.
Date published: 2012-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow! 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 II 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. Blaine 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 unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope. This is one piece of non-fiction that I won’t soon forget.
Date published: 2012-04-02

– More About This Product –

Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea To Freedom In The West

Escape From Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea To Freedom In The West

by Blaine Harden

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 7.75 × 5.07 × 0.71 in

Published: March 26, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143122916

ISBN - 13: 9780143122913

About the Book

The heart-wrenching "New York Times"-bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. Harden unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin's shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway.

Read from the Book

FOREWORDSEOUL, SOUTH KOREAEarly in 2015, Shin Dong-hyuk changed his story. He told me by telephone that his life in the North Korean gulag differed from what he had been telling government leaders, human rights activists, and journalists like me. As his biographer, it was a stomach-wrenching revelation.It was also news. In the nearly three years since Escape from Camp 14 was published, Shin had become the single most famous witness to North Korea’s cruelty to its own people. He posed for photographs with the American secretary of state, received human rights awards, and traveled the world to appear on television news programs like 60 Minutes. His story helped launch an unprecedented United Nations inquiry that accused North Korea’s leaders of crimes against humanity.When I got off the phone with Shin, I contacted the Washington Post (for which I had first written about him) and released all I then knew about his revised story. Then I flew to Seoul, where Shin lives, to find out more. This foreword explains what I learned. In two weeks of conversations, Shin was less secretive and more talkative than he had ever been during long rounds of interviews with me dating back to 2008. He seemed relieved to be correcting a story he felt had become a kind of prison.Shin told me that when he defected to South Korea in 2006, he made a panicky, shame-driven decision to conceal and reorder pivotal episodes of his life in the gulag. He hid his role in the execution of his mother and brother
read more read less

From the Publisher

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped

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.

About the Author

Blaine Harden is a reporter for PBS's FRONTLINE and a contributor to the Economist, and has served as The Washington Post's bureau chief in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. He is the author of Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent and A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Editorial Reviews

"Harden’s book, besides being a gripping story, unsparingly told, carries a freight of intelligence about this black hole of a country." —Bill Keller, The New York Times “The central character in Blaine Harden's extraordinary new book Escape from Camp 14 reveals more in 200 pages about human darkness in the ghastliest corner of the world's cruelest dictatorship than a thousand textbooks ever could . . . Escape from Camp 14, the story of Shin's awakening, escape and new beginning, is a riveting, remarkable book that should be required reading in every high-school or college-civics class. Like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or Dith Pran's account of his flight from Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia, it's impossible to read this excruciatingly personal account of systemic monstrosities without fearing you might just swallow your own heart . . . Harden's wisdom as a writer shines on every page.” —The Seattle Times "U.S. policymakers wonder what changes may arise after the recent death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, this gripping book should raise awareness of the brutality that underscores this strange land. Without interrupting the narrative, Harden skillfully weaves in details of North Korea's history, politics and society, providing context for Shin's plight.” —The Associated Press“A book without parallel, Escape from Camp 14 is a riveting nightmare that bears witness to the worst inhumanity, an unbearable tragedy magnified by the fact that the horror continues at this very m
read more read less