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School Library Journal
In 1965, Jenkins, a sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed in Korea, walked across the DMZ and surrendered to North Korean troops. He hoped to be swapped in a prisoner exchange, thereby returning sooner than otherwise to the United States; he was held in North Korea until 2004. During those years, he taught English to military officers, translated Western press and Hollywood film soundtracks, and even acted in domestic film productions. He usually lived with or near other U.S. military defectors and foreigners who said they had been abducted from abroad. Although these foreigners lived better than North Korean citizens, they resorted to growing their own food to have enough to eat, digging their own wells, and maintaining their own electrical generators, especially during the 1990s, when the economy declined sharply. They were required to attend study groups on the thought of Kim Il Sung and to be mindful of the ever-present controllers who watch foreigners and citizens alike. Jenkins's straightforward presentation, written with the assistance of Frederick (senior editor, Timemagazine), conveys effectively both the hardships that he and other foreigners endured and the understanding and personal ties that he established. Readers have few opportunities to hear firsthand about life inside North Korea; those who follow current events will be intrigued by this story. [The book was written in English but first appeared in Japanese translation overseas.-Ed.]
—Marcia L. Sprules
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