Shin Dong-Hyuk was born in a labour camp in North Korea and is one of the very few to have escaped. His story of growing up in the camp and his escape is told by Harden after the two meet in South Korea and the USA for Shin to tell his story.
Shin has deep shame about his actions but he didn't know any better while living in Camp 14. The North Korean guards teach you that you should distrust everyone and report everything. His sense of self and his emotions are completely different from the outside world because of spending his whole life in camp.
The conditions at this camp, not surprisingly, are absolutely deplorable. You would think that we, as a society, would be past this after the Nazis but it's still happening in North Korea. This book brings attention to the problem. The question lingering for me is what can be done about it? This was a short and very interesting read.
First Line: "His first memory is an execution. "