Book Review: Escape From Camp 14




For anyone wishing for some insight into North Korea or Korean history, I highly recommend this book. As I tuned the last pages of this with a beer in one hand, waiting for friends to join me for a final Korean meal I can’t help but be acutely aware of my many freedoms and luxuries.


I’ve spent the last two months enjoying all that South Korea has to offer, while North Koreans suffer. It’s all so close yet so far away. The divide between North and South is heavily felt in the homes and hearts of many Koreans. Many dream of being reunited. Only a short 62 years ago Korea was split and now the two parts show no resemblance to each other. The South has a thriving economy; a participant of the world. The North is a secret, detached entity that is rarely acknowledged. The atrocities that go on in our present day in the North are often overlooked and easy to avoid with little media coverage. This book brings much needed attention to what continues to happen this day in age and shares the personal story of one brave, young man who made his way to physical freedom, though forever imprisoned by his mind.


For anyone traveling Korea, this is an important read. It keeps in perspective how lucky or unlucky we can be simply by where we are born.  It highlights the turbulent history of Korea and shows what governments can do for good or for worse. It made me feel tiny and helpless, and mostly made me appreciate all the freedoms I enjoy everyday.