Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad

Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad

by Melanie Kirkpatrick

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594037290
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 05/13/2014
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 707,849
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author


Melanie Kirkpatrick is a journalist, writer, and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She was deputy editor of the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, where she was a longtime member of the editorial board and op-ed editor. She lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Jack David.

Read an Excerpt


When Joseph reached the other side of the Tumen River, he scrambled up the bank and lay very still for a few minutes, his face pressed against the frozen ground. He waited to hear boots come crashing toward him and feel hands grab him under the shoulders, wrench him to his feet and haul him off to a police station. But nothing happened. No boots, no hands, no police. Everything was quiet. Once his heart finally stopped pounding, he lifted his head, looked around and scrutinized the Chinese village he had observed from the North Korean side of the river. He decided to go there to beg for food.

Eventually he pulled himself to his feet and set off toward the nearest house. He knocked on the door, forced himself to smile and made his pitch to the woman who answered. She shook her head and shut the door. He continued to the next house and then the next, each time receiving the same reply: We can’t help you. After being turned away from a dozen houses, Joseph finally found a welcome. A man opened his door wide, invited him inside and gave him a meal. Joseph noticed that despite his generosity, the man did not appear to be any richer than the villagers who had turned him away. The man spoke Korean, and in the course of conversation he told Joseph that he was a Christian.

As Joseph was departing, the Good Samaritan advised him to walk along the bank of the Tumen River until he came to a bigger town, where, the Christian said, he would be more likely to find help. Joseph set off for the town, but night was falling and he stepped off the path and into the woods, looking for a dry place to lie down and rest. He slept for a few hours stretched out on the ground near a fire he lit with matches he fortunately had happened to bring with him. He reached the town the next afternoon and poked around until he discovered an abandoned house. The house became his home for the next three weeks. He hid there during the day, slept on the floor of a closet at night, and ventured outside in the morning and evening to beg for food. On one of his begging missions, he met an old woman who spoke Korean. If you need help, she said, go to a church. Church people help North Koreans.

“What’s a church?” Joseph asked.

“Look for a building with a cross on it,” the woman told him.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

Introduction: "I Am a Man Among Men" 1

Part I Escape

1 Crossing the River 21

2 Look for a Building with a Cross on It 39

3 Defectors 55

Part II In Hiding

4 Brides for Sale 75

5 Half-and-Half Children 91

6 Siberia's Last Gulag 105

7 Old Soldiers 117

Part III Hunted

8 Hunted 137

9 Jesus on the Border 155

10 The Journey out of China 173

Part IV Stockholders

11 Let My People Go 191

12 Be the Voice 209

Part V Learning to be Free

13 Almost Safe 221

14 Unification Dumplings 239

15 Left Behind 253

Part VI The Future

16 Invading North Korea 275

17 Conclusion: One Free Korea 295

Acknowledgments 309

How to Help 315

Notes 317

Index 337

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Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
billyboy2 More than 1 year ago
This book is a compelling look at  the struggle going on in N. Korea for liberty. As compelling is the work of the Chinese Christians that help the N. Koreans at the risk of loosing their own lives. One of the best books I have read in years.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This fascinating and compelling narrative of the escaping of North Korrans from Kim Jong Un and his reign of terror will leave you amazed at thecourage of these people and the people (mostly Christians) who helped them. This book was named Book of the Year by World magazine for a reason. Get it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago