This biography, Escape from Camp 14, is not the story of a soldier escaping from a POW camp. This is about “one man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the west.” The great North Korean leaders live large on the backs of their citizens and some who are “criminals” are put in camps. This is the story of Shin In Geum who was not a criminal, but was unfortunate enough to have someone in his family who broke the law. Shin was born in the camp; it was the only life he ever knew and the “skills” he developed were as warped as you can imagine, but allowed him to survive this brutal existence.
“His first memory is an execution. He walked with his mother to a wheat field near the Taedong River, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners. Excited by the crowd, the boy crawled between adult legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole. Shin In Geun was four years old.”
“Shin had not been torn away from a civilized existence and forced to descend into hell. He was born and raised there. He accepted its values. He called it home.”
Author Blaine Harden spent a lot of time with Shin; learning his story; digging and digging through the shell Shin erected. You’ll be shocked by the brutality of the camps, amazed by the daring escape, engaged about the incredible journey toward freedom, and hopeful that Shin can adjust and deal with the experience of freedom.