It’s about a young man who has managed to escape from the most brutal of North Korea’s giant concentration camps, eventually making it to the US. The story is absolutely harrowing. North Korea’s total insularity seems to have kept most of the world from really understanding what’s going on inside— senseless horrors on a truly grand scale. It’s a bit like imagining a Nazi Germany turned entirely inward rather than bent on dominating other countries. In this scenario, would the rest of the world have stood by while the atrocities were committed? The answer appears to be ‘yes’.
Over the past year, through lots of long family dinners and hurried hellos at the neighborhood coffeeshop, I’ve had the good fortune and honor to see Blaine develop Escape From Camp 14 from an idea, through several drafts, and of course through the ups and downs that go with this kind of project. Blaine is a pro at this, and in addition to his very prolific career as a reporter, he has written some great books— A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia (hurry! Amazon says only 11 left in stock!), and Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent, which Adrienne and I each read in about a day on an Africa jag that I remember also included Beryl Markham’s autobiography and What Is The What. I have a feeling, though, that the timeliness of Escape From Camp 14, as well as the extraordinary source material, might make it his big bestseller. I certainly hope so— this is a story that needs to be read by many. It comes out next month, and you can preorder it now.
Blaine enlisted me to do the voiceover on his promo video. He assures me it turned out OK, though I can’t actually listen to it. There’s something horrifying about hearing your own voice recorded.