Long Road Home: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor [NOOK Book]

Overview


Kim Yong shares his harrowing account of life in a labor camp& mdash;a singularly despairing form of torture carried out by the secret state. Although it is known that gulags exist in North Korea, little information is available about their organization and conduct, for prisoners rarely escape both incarceration and the country alive. Long Road Home shares the remarkable story of one such survivor, a former military official who spent six years in a gulag and experienced ...

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Long Road Home: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor

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Overview


Kim Yong shares his harrowing account of life in a labor camp& mdash;a singularly despairing form of torture carried out by the secret state. Although it is known that gulags exist in North Korea, little information is available about their organization and conduct, for prisoners rarely escape both incarceration and the country alive. Long Road Home shares the remarkable story of one such survivor, a former military official who spent six years in a gulag and experienced firsthand the brutality of an unconscionable regime.

As a lieutenant colonel in the North Korean army, Kim Yong enjoyed unprecedented privilege in a society that closely monitored its citizens. He owned an imported car and drove it freely throughout the country. He also encountered corruption at all levels, whether among party officials or Japanese trade partners, and took note of the illicit benefits that were awarded to some and cruelly denied to others.

When accusations of treason stripped Kim Yong of his position, the loose distinction between those who prosper and those who suffer under Kim Jong-il became painfully clear. Kim Yong was thrown into a world of violence and terror, condemned to camp No. 14 in Hamkyeong province, North Korea's most notorious labor camp. As he worked a constant shift 2,400 feet underground, daylight became Kim's new luxury; as the months wore on, he became intimately acquainted with political prisoners, subhuman camp guards, and an apocalyptic famine that killed millions.

After years of meticulous planning, and with the help of old friends, Kim escaped and came to the United States via China, Mongolia, and South Korea. Presented here for the first time in its entirety, his story not only testifies to the atrocities being committed behind North Korea's wall of silence, but it also illuminates the daily struggle to maintain dignity and integrity in the face of unbelievable odds. Like the work of Solzhenitsyn, this rare portrait tells a story of resilience as it reveals the dark forms of oppression, torture, and ideological terror at work in our world today.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A rare, chilling glimpse inside the totalitarian regime of North Korea. Kim's tragic tale of his six-year imprisonment and death-defying escape was transcribed and translated by Suk-Young (Theater and Dance/Univ. of California, Santa Barbara), who met the author at a human-rights conference at Cornell University in 2004. Gracefully recounted without embellishment, Kim's story is an example of the profound inhumanity and absurdity of the Communist dictatorship of Kim Il-sung and son Kim Jong-il. Born in 1950, Kim was sent to an orphanage in Pyongyang and was eventually adopted, at age nine, by a powerful couple in the Korean Workers' Party who eagerly answered the call by the Great Leader to shelter the orphans of the civil war. Only much later, after distinguishing himself in military school and as a trader in foreign currency, did Kim learn that his real mother had purposefully placed him in the orphanage to disguise the fact that Kim's father had been executed as a spy for the Americans during the Korean War. A routine check of his background for promotion revealed the truth of his parentage, and Kim, despite his exemplary career and lifelong loyalty to his country, was hauled away from his wife and children in 1993. He was incarcerated in the slave-labor coal mines of Camp Nos. 14 and 18, within the kwanliso system that housed thousands of prisoners in secluded areas of North Korea. Slow starvation, hard labor and extreme conditions meant certain death. Realizing that he had nothing to lose, he escaped by hiding in one of the coal cars on the train heading north. The tales of his subsequent perilous journey to the Chinese border and flight to Mongolia are astonishing. Thanks to Kim'scourageous testimony, as the translator notes in an excellent contextual introduction, knowledge of these camps has been exposed to the outside world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231519281
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 339,198
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author


Kim Yong was a lieutenant colonel in the North Korean National Security Agency and a career military officer earning foreign currency until he was suddenly sent to a labor camp in 1993. After six years he escaped through China to South Korea and then, in 2003, came to the United States.

Kim Suk-Young is assistant professor of theater and East Asian studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is the author of the forthcoming book Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Translator's Note
1. Coming of Age
2. Living for the Great Leader
3. Downfall of a Model Citizen
4. In the Mouth of Death
5. Escape
6. Across the Continent
Afterword: Unfinished Story
Notes

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    A sorrow story

    This book made me fear for my life

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Jonatan for ares cabin leader

    Yeah

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    Domino/annabeth

    Leads the persephone cabin/ leads the athena cabin

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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