Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country

Mike Kim, Author . Rowman & Littlefield $24.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-7425-5620-1

Kim chronicles his effort to lead North Korean refugees through the 6,000-mile underground railway through China in this exposé of the astonishing day-to-day realities of famine, religious oppression, torture and sexual abuse in the most secretive and impoverished member of the “axis of evil.” The author, a former missionary, spent four years at the China–North Korea border building shelters and orphanages, and his access to government officials, journalists, aid workers and hundreds of North Korean refugees provide him a unique vantage point from which to synthesize current research and policy on conditions in North Korea with affecting real-life testimonials. His intrepid effort to help four North Korean teenagers avoid arrest and repatriation on the journey from northern China to the British consulate in Shanghai is riveting, as is his insider knowledge of the perilous route refugees navigate across the borders of China, Laos and Thailand. The author’s compassion and astonishing ability to penetrate the “Hermit Kingdom” and lift its shroud of secrecy do much to ameliorate the book’s chief flaws, the clunky prose and occasionally amateurish conjecture and derivative political analysis. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 239 pages - 978-0-7425-6705-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7425-5733-8
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