Something a little different this week…
Escape From Camp 14 tells the true story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person to have ever been born in, and escape from, the North Korean political prison camp known as Camp 14. It details his life from an early age living in the camp, through his escape, and right up to his acclimatization to a society outside of the world’s most secretive country.
I went into reading this book with very knowledge about North Korea. All I saw was all anyone sees these days; the constant political tensions between South Korea, the occasional rocket launch threatening war, but I knew very little about the actual country, about the actual people that live there. This book doesn’t reveal all that, but it certainly portrays a way of life that you can’t quite believe is still a part of our modern world.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is a hard read. Not just because it details events and atrocities of the most horrifying nature, but also because you see it all through the eyes of a person who seems almost inhuman. Because of his upbringing (if you can call it that), Shin does not share the same ideas of family and loyalty as others do; having been brought up in a world where it is very much a case of survival of the fittest, he is ruthless, heartless, and does not think twice about dobbing in other family members, knowing full well the fatal consequences of doing so.
If you want to have your eyes opened to a world unimagineable, read this book. It will change your perceptions, not just of North Korea, but of the world and of life in general.