Review: Escape to Camp 14 By Blaine Harden

Escape From Camp 14On a more serious note, I don’t know if I can ever give this book justice for what it truly deserves.

Heavy. This deals with serious stuff, so it’s just natural for it to be this heavy and intense. There are a lot of information you have to process, and trust me when I tell you it’s not the good kind. Although it can be a challenge to swallow all the bad news up, Harden makes it easier since he puts in a narrative tone. So it sounds like (more or less) a story rather than a full-on news report.

Guilt. I find it quite impossible to read this book without feeling guilty and responsible of what happened. That might pull off most people, but I find it healthy. To feel accountable of what happened and what is still happening means we still care, that we still have souls to spare. This book serves as a reminder and (hopefully) a trigger to be mindful of the fact that what lies beyond your Facebook or Twitter feed is far beyond of what is really happening. You don’t expect to get this information from the news since there is NO news to get it from. This is about North Korea, you don’t expect news to be as easy as turning your TV on. Most probably, this is going to be difficult read but try to imagine what more if it was actually you in there and they’re the one who’s just reading.

I apologize for being harsh but I find it hard to sum up my feelings without being pissed. I just cannot understand how people (including me) are still out and about without having full (or to be more accurate, slight) knowledge of these existing regimes. I mean, seriously, can you quit on moaning about your #GoalInLife or #FirstWorldProblems shit. It may sound rude but fuck, I’m tired of those petty dramas so suck it up and get over it.

I know we can’t save the world overnight or just by reading a book. Awareness isn’t going to solve all the problems. But the least you can do is cherish and remember their story. To bear in mind that these are the stories they decided to tell and share to us. Think of it as a privilege, to be one of the people to know and appreciate the challenge they’ve been through.

Rating: ✰✰✰✰✰

Do I like it: Yes

Recommended to: To humanity

(Fullybooked, Paperback, P 599)

If you want to be more graphic, here’s a video:


Below are information about this book.

Publication: March 29th 2012 by Viking Adult

From Goodreads:

A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.

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.


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