This month we read Escape from Camp 14, One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden
(Published March 29, 2012 205 pages)
Hosted by Suzanne Rigby
Book It Sisters’ Grade: B+
North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.
In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin’s life unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. 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 own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.
Here is our review:
|Judy Bush||B||This was a very sad story. I learned a ton about North Korea, and all of it was bad! It is sad to see that a person can be so damaged by their circumstances to be beyond help. The writing style was a little flat, but the story was worth telling!|
|Janet Maisel||A||I also felt like it changed my life. So glad I read it. Learned so much and would recommend it to everyone.|
|Mary Halsey||B||Hardest book I ever read--but I am thankful to learn of the damage of lack of freedom. North Korea is real...that haunts me. I want to somehow help but I don't know how.|
|Tricia Gadberry||B||Although the writing style was slightly dry for my taste, I learned so much about North Korea and the labor camps. I can't say I "enjoyed" the book, but I am glad I read it and would recommend it to others.|
|Suzanne Rigby||A||I have never read a book where I have learned so much about a terrible situation that I literally knew nothing about. I think it is always worth it to gain knowledge even though parts were painful to read. I'm glad I read it.|
|Denise Link||B||Although the book was written more as a commentary/article, I was drawn to the reality of the inhumanity and the knowledge that societies continue to exist living with these horrors. It gave me a greater appreciation of the life I have|
|Nina Yatsko||A||I was thankful for having been exposed to Shin's story through this book club. I wouldn't have selected this book to read on my own, and I feel my perspective on people, human suffering, hope and gratitude have been changed by this book. It will stay with me for very long time, and I think it has affected me in a very positive way. It is truly a life altering book.|