A searing true story that takes the reader to some of the most frightening places on earth...utterly compelling...real lyricism...As an historical document, this is an enormously important book that deserves the widest possible readership. As a story of survival, it is an instant classic.
Extraordinary...exciting...A rare portrait of life and death in North Korea...This year a United Nations commission of enquiry found that the Kim regime has committed crimes against humanity. The commission warned China that its treatment of Koreans violated international law. It recommended that the case be tried by the International Criminal Court or a UN tribunal. One day that will happen, and this book will be part of the indictment.
As one of the most prominent North Koreans in exile in South Korea, Jang Jin-sung is eminently placed to interpret North Korea...His memoirs change the way we look at the country...they offer a radically different explanation of who holds power in North Korea and the historical sequence of events leading up to this situation. As such they are an absolute must-read for those who wish to formulate a sensible action plan [for the country].
Remco Breuker, Professor of Korean Studies, University of Leiden
A fascinating insider account… a testament to Mr Jang’s literary flair
Harrowing...important and convincing...A major contribution to understanding what appears to be a nation impossible to understand
From Nero to Stalin, the court life of a tyrant can be counted on to produce fascinating literature. That is the case with this extraordinary book, a rare portrait of North Korea...and the harrowing story of [Jang Jin-Sung's] flight is so authentically told that it made this reviewer feel a chill of fear.
The Sunday Times
Jang Jin-sung's book is something even rarer [than previous work on N Korea] - an expose of the workings of a totalitarian state by a member of its inner circle.
it is Jang’s moving portraits of ordinary Koreans, dignified as they endure unspeakable suffering, “living in order to stay alive”, that make this a truly important book.
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