escape from camp 14

Our good friend Blaine is gear­ing up for the pub­li­ca­tion of his new book, Escape From Camp 14.

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.

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