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Byline: Anna Patricia G. Valerio
Escape from Camp 14
One compliment that great non-fiction always seems to get from critics is that it reads just like fiction. Escape from Camp 14, former Washington Post East Asia bureau chief Blaine Harden's account of Shin Dong-hyuk's escape from what is perhaps North Korea's most notorious prison camp, measures up to the yardstick so well that we find ourselves wishing the story was just that: unreal.
North Korea, at least, might want to pass it off as make-believe. Despite satellite images of the growing number of labor camps inside the country, South Korea's estranged twin continues to deny the existence of its gulag, prompting human rights groups to push for sanctions against the secretive state.
Shin Dong-hyuk is the only North Korean known to have survived the escape from what is known as the country's most cruel camp, and Escape from Camp 14 tries to shed some light on the information black hole that engulfs the little-known humanitarian crisis. But this is a story on North Korea unlike any other, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea author Barbara Demick herself says in a blurb at the …