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About the book

Escape from Camp 14 tells the unbelievable true story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known person born in a North Korean no-exit camp to have escaped and survived. In a starred review, Library Journal describes it as “a book that all adults should read,” Foreign Policy named it one of the 21 books that will matter in 2012, and BBC Radio 4 selected it for their prestigious Book of the Week series.

Although the world pays little attention, North Korea’s political prison camps, which hold between 150,000 and 200,000 prisoners and are clearly visible in satellite photographs, have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Shin, who was bred by guards to be a slave and a snitch and was expected to work and die anonymously in a camp that the North Korean government says does not exist, escaped when he was twenty-three years old and miraculously found his way to China, South Korea and finally the United States. Through this harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, Harden offers an unbelievable glimpse into the world’s most repressive, totalitarian state.

This April, North Korea will celebrate its 100th anniversary celebration as a “great and prosperous” country. And with the world’s eyes on the new leader Kim Jong Eun—who happens to be the exact same age as Shin Dong-hyuk—now is as important a time as ever to focus on the truth of what’s happening in these camps.
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