NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER An extraordinary insight into life under one of the worldâ€™s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships â€“ and the story of one womanâ€™s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships and the story of one woman s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom. As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told the best on the planet ? Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family. She could not return, since rumours of her escape were spreading, and she and her family could incur the punishments of the government authorities involving imprisonment, torture, and possible public execution. Hyeonseo instead remained in China and rapidly learned Chinese in an effort to adapt and survive. Twelve years and two lifetimes later, she would return to the North Korean border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most arduous, costly and dangerous journeys imaginable. This is the unique story not only of Hyeonseo s escape from the darkness into the light, but also of her coming of age, education and the resolve she found to rebuild her life not once, but twice first in China, then in South Korea. Strong, brave and eloquent, this memoir is a triumph of her remarkable spirit."
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee: Conversation Starters "The Girl with Seven Names" is the harrowing story of one brave girl's defection from North Korea. This in-depth story takes readers on a chronological journey through Hyeon-Seo Lee's life, from birth, through adolescence, and into adulthood. Her innocence, her strength, her fear, and her determination are all there for readers, on each page of the book, and through every step of her courageous journey. Hyeon-Seo Lee is the name the author chose for herself once she finally reached South Korea. It is the seventh name she has had to take in her life, but only the first one she wanted to keep. A Brief Look Inside: EVERY GOOD BOOK CONTAINS A WORLD FAR DEEPER than the surface of its pages. The characters and their world come alive, and the characters and its world still live on. Conversation Starters is peppered with questions designed to bring us beneath the surface of the page and invite us into the world that lives on. These questions can be used to... Create Hours of Conversation: - Promote an atmosphere of discussion for groups - Foster a deeper understanding of the book - Assist in the study of the book, either individually or corporately - Explore unseen realms of the book as never seen before Disclaimer: This book you are about to enjoy is an independent resource meant to supplement the original book. If you have not yet read the original book, we encourage you to before purchasing this unofficial Conversation Starters.
A Thousand Miles to Freedom
Author: Eunsun Kim, SĂ©bastien Falletti
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Eunsun Kim was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. As a child Eunsun loved her country...despite her school field trips to public executions, daily self-criticism sessions, and the increasing gnaw of hunger as the country-wide famine escalated. By the time she was eleven years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun was in danger of the same. Finally, her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Before finally reaching South Korea and freedom, Eunsun and her family would live homeless, fall into the hands of Chinese human traffickers, survive a North Korean labor camp, and cross the deserts of Mongolia on foot. Now, Eunsun is sharing her remarkable story to give voice to the tens of millions of North Koreans still suffering in silence. Told with grace and courage, her memoir is a riveting exposĂ© of North Korea's totalitarian regime and, ultimately, a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
A little Quaker girl gets twin sisters just in time to give them two of her seven names so that she will not be laughed at when she must recite her full name on the first day of school.
In Order to Live
Author: Yeonmi Park, Maryanne Vollers
â€śI am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.â€ť Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape. Parkâ€™s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the countryâ€™s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China. I wasnâ€™t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didnâ€™t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably dieâ€”from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since. Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life. By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, â€śI convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.â€ť In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Koreaâ€”and to freedom. Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever knowâ€”and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country. Parkâ€™s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
A wandering cat brightens the lives of six lonely people--and persuades all of them to feed him until a near accident brings them all together.
Long Road Home
Author: Yong Kim
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Kim Yong shares his harrowing account of life in a labor camp 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 also illuminates the daily struggle to maintain dignity and integrity in the face of unbelievable hardship. 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.
Author: Jang Jin-sung
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
"In this rare insider's view into contemporary North Korea, a high-ranking counterintelligence agent describes his life as a former poet laureate to Kim Jong-il and his breathtaking escape to freedom. "The General will now enter the room." Everyone turns to stone. Not moving my head, I direct my eyes to a point halfway up the archway where Kim Jong-il's face will soon appear... As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life. Never before has a member of the elite described the inner workings of this totalitarian state and its propaganda machine. An astonishing expose; told through the heart-stopping story of Jang Jin-sung's escape to South Korea, Dear Leader is a rare and unprecedented insight into the world's most secretive and repressive regime"--
Every Falling Star
Author: Sungju Lee, Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his â€śbrothersĂ˘â‚¬?; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.
Author: Kenneth Bae
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
For the first time since his two-year imprisonment in North Korea, Kenneth Bae recounts his dramatic ordeal in vivid detail. While leading a tour group into the most shrouded country on the planet, Bae is stopped by officials who immediately confiscate his belongings. With his computer hard drive in hand the officers begin their interrogation and Bae begins his unexpected decent into North Korean obscurity. Baeâ€™s family and friends make immediate appeals to the United States government asking for his release. With his family waiting patiently for any news of Kennethâ€™s well-being, Bae is forced to rely solely on his faith for his survival. At his lowest point, Bae is confronted with the reality that he may not make it out alive. Not Forgotten is a riveting true story of one manâ€™s fight for survival against impossible odds.
The Aquariums of Pyongyang
Author: Chol-hwan Kang, Pierre Rigoulot
Publisher: Basic Books
Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to an ongoing sorrowful chapter of modern history.
The Dog with Seven Names
Author: Dianne Wolfer
Publisher: Random House Australia
A tiny dog, the runt of the litter, is born on a remote cattle station. She shouldn't have survived, but when Elsie finds, names and loves her, the pup becomes a cherished companion. Life is perfect . until War arrives. With Japanese air raids moving closer, Elsie's family leaves the Pilbara for the south and safety. But the small dog has to stay behind. After travelling far from home with drovers and a flying doctor, she becomes a hospital dog and experiences the impact of war on north-western Australia. She witnesses wonderful and terrible things and gives courage to many different humans. But through all her adventures and many names, the little dog remembers Elsie, who girl who loved her best of all. Will she ever find her again?
Ask A North Korean
Author: Daniel Tudor
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Understanding North Korean Through the Eyes of Defectors. The weekly column Ask A North Korean, published by NK News, invites readers from around the world to pose questions to North Korean defectors. By way of these fascinating interviews, the North Koreans themselves provide authentic firsthand testimonies about what is happening inside the "Hermit Kingdom." North Korean contributors to this book include: "Seong" who came to South Korea after dropping out during his final year of his university. He is now training to be an elementary school teacher. "Kang" who left North Korea in 2005. He now lives in London, England. "Cheol" who was from South Hamgyeong in North Korea and is now a second-year university student in Seoul. "Park" worked and studied in Pyongyang before defecting to the U.S. in 2011. He is now studying at a U.S. college. Ask A North Korean sheds critical light on all aspects of North Korean politics and society and shows that even in the world's most authoritarian regime, life goes on in ways that are very different from what you may think.
Under the Same Sky
Author: Joseph Kim, Stephan Talty
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A man who escaped the devastating famine in North Korea, despite being abandoned as a boy, tells the story of his survival inside the oppressive country, his escape and subsequent rescue by activists and Christian missionaries and his success in the United States thanks to a newfound faith and courage. 50,000 first printing.