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I read Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden right at the end of February and I could not put it down. I read it in one day and was completely immersed in the terrifying world of North Korea's concentration camps.
Escape From Camp 14 is a nonfiction book that recounts Shin Dong Hyuk's life in and escape from one of North Korea's most brutal concentration camps, Camp 14. I really appreciated how well Blaine Harden balanced the "high action" events in Shin's life with engaging and easy to read background on North Korea's concentration camps and relationship with surrounding countries, namely South Korea and China.
Though I took the information that I received through this text with a grain of salt, as I have not been able to do any further research and it is extremely difficult to get any definitive facts about what is happening in North Korea, I felt like this was a really great place to start gaining some information about the extreme conditions in North Korea.
It should be difficult to believe that there are still concentration camps in the world, but unfortunately, I didn't find it hard to believe at all. For that reason, I think it is almost more important to spread awareness about these camps. Even with my limited knowledge about North Korea, I was not surprised to learn that many people inside and outside of Korea either do not know about these camp or turn a blind eye to them.
This is a highly political book and one that brings up ethical issues, humanitarian issues, and personal issues as they are exemplified by the treatment of the prisoners and escapees of these camps.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fast-paced, engaging, and thought-provoking nonfiction narratives. It is definitely worth reading.