This book will make you appreciate the freedom that you have.
With so much of North Korea on the news it’s amazing to consider that we know so little of what’s going on within North Korea itself. Before reading this book I have heard mentions of North Korea having political concentration camps but didn’t know any details of it until now with Blaine Harden’s “Escape from Camp 14.” The book was written by a Western journalist about a man name Shin who was a political prisoner of Camp 14, one of the notorious among the camps that North Korea run. Shin is the only prisoner to have escape Camp 14 that is alive today. This is a harrowing story of a boy who was born in the camp and have never known anything of the outside world. What gripped me about this book is the Marxist doctrine of being anti-family is lived out consistently here in these camps and the sight is not pretty: Shin would eventually betray his own mother and brother who tried to escape. It’s a story of every man for himself–of beatings, and turning one another in for a little bit of rice and a mother versus child for food. At first I had reservation that this book was written by a Western journalist rather than it being an autobiography but the author’s ability to weave information from other escapees from other camps, data from satellite images and other report helps to make this story more objective. A very emotional read; I can’t help but to think about God’s hand and Providence in saving Shin’s life multiple times and guiding him eventually to America. I also appreciated the book not ending with the escape but also the difficult adjustment of Shin and other North Koreans in South Korea and the West. I highly recommend this book and I believe it is up there with Diary of Anne Frank, Night, etc.
You can see a talk Shin gave to Google about his story below:
You might wonder why would a Christian worldview/theology/apologetics blog review this book? I think part of being a Christian and a disciple of Jesus is to know about what’s going on in the World–and to be concern with injustice and to pray, voice out concerns or do other things about it.