Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad

Melanie Kirkpatrick. Encounter (NBN, dist.), $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59403-633-0
Tales of escape from the brutal Kim dynasty moved former Wall Street Journal staffer Kirkpatrick to create this vivid account of North Koreans who dared to make the leap for liberty. The author writes that "Sixty years of political oppression have not dulled North Koreans' appetite for freedom;" indeed, since 1953, roughly 24,000 of the 24 million people living in North Korea have fled to South Korea, Europe, or North America. The famine of the 1990s compelled many to seek food in China, where perhaps tens of thousands live in hiding or are married to Chinese nationals. But if caught and repatriated, they face "persecution and severe punishment." Meanwhile, corps of for-profit smugglers and humanitarian groups comprising dedicated Christian missionaries and Korean-Americans are quietly at work to lead people to safety: Helping Hands Korea, a group founded in 1996, used America's Underground Railroad, which funneled slaves from the South to the free North, as a model for their organization. In addition to her analysis of the political climate of the country and the international community's response to its plight, Kirkpatrick presents harrowing testimonies from dozens of North Korean refugees to produce a timely portrait of a people desperate for freedom—Kim Cheol-woong, a classically trained pianist, remarked that "One of the hardest things I have experienced since leaving North Korea is having to choose what to play." (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Show other formats
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-1-59403-729-0
Open Ebook - 372 pages - 978-1-306-56526-4
Book - 372 pages - 978-1-59403-646-0
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.