Book Reviews

Book Review: A thousand miles to freedom


The author was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive, oppressive, and impenetrable countries on the modern world. As a child, she loved her native country; She had no exposure to other cultures or countries. She simply believed the lies she was fed by the regime.

When she was 11 years old, her father and grandparents had died of starvation. She and her mother realized the same fate awaited them in the near future, and decided to escape from North Korea.

After a few unsuccessful tries and many trials and tribulations, she, her mother and her sister, crossed the Temu River to China. She told her story to a French journalist and the book appeared first in French. Eunsun’s story in China becomes more intriguing, her mother’s second “forced” marriage, and bearing a child, she initially did not want.

After her second marriage to a Chinese farm owner became untenable, Eusun and her mother decided to abandon the child and their in-laws. Meanwhile her sister had travelled to Shanghai and found work there.

After several months, Eunsun and her mother managed to escape from China to Mongolia (Ulaanbataar) where South Korea maintains an embassy and has an agreement with the government not to deport North Koreans who flee via China to Mongolia.

After careful examination by South Korean investigators, refugees are provided with temporary passports and flown to Seoul.

Eunsun is now studying at university, has obtained an American scholarship for one year to study psychology in the U.S.A, and plans to work towards a master’s degree. The story is well told, although a few statements end without further elaborating with regard to their outcome.

This is a testament to the best and worst mankind offers.
If you are interested in finding out about North Korea, read other books.
Read this one to be inspired by an extraordinary person’s spirit, and determination to achieve goals.

Highly recommended.

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