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The Aquariums of Pyongyang

Ten Years in A North Korean Gulag
Kang, Chòr-hwan (Book - 2001)
The Aquariums of Pyongyang
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Item Details

Baker & Taylor
Powerful and startling, the first account of life in the North Korean labor camps from a survivor who escaped from this communist regime prison details the brutal conditions, the harsh labor, and the mental abuse that the author suffered and traces his escape to South Korea. 40,000 first printing.

Perseus Publishing
North Korea today is one of the last bastions of hard-line Communism. Until recently, no one ever managed to leave the country. No organized, active opposition movement exists, either at home or abroad. Western historians and researchers have had little access to information about North Korea apart from official Party documents and propaganda. This book marks the first time that a victim of the regime, a survivor and escapee, has provided a personal and documented insight into the labor camps, the organized famine, the farcical trials, the repression, and the political conditioning within this "hermit kingdom."Kang Chol-Hwan was arrested at the age of nine along with other members of his family when his grandfather made remarks about life in a capitalist country that were judged to be too complimentary. He grew up in the camps and has escaped to South Korea to document his personal life as a testimonial to the hardships and atrocities that constitute the lives of some several hundred thousand people living in the gulag today. Kang's account of his internment reveals the life-and-death conditions of the camp, the relentless forced labor, and the mental repression that drove the two hours of daily "political training" that followed twelve hours of backbreaking work. His memoir documents the political bartering of food and the "ideological" uses of malnutrition. Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this book brings together unassailable firsthand experience, setting one young man's personal suffering in the wider context of modern history.

The first personal documentation of life in the North Korean labor camps, from a survivor and escapee of the communist regime's prisons.


Book News
Chol-Hwan offers a rare account of life in the gulags of North Korea, beginning with his relatively happy childhood in Pyongyang, which was cut short at age nine when he was arrested after his grandfather's disappearance, thus beginning ten years of internment: forced labor, starvation rations, mental repression, abuse, and separation from his family. Originally published in French in 2000. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
North Korea is today one of the last bastions of hard-line Communism. Fearing that influence from beyond its borders might corrupt the "ideological unity of the People and Party," North Korean leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party regime. No organized, active opposition movement exists, either at home or abroad, and few have ever managed to leave the country. Western journalists and historians have had little access to any information apart from official Party documents and propaganda. And until now, not much was known about the concentration camps where dissidents and others requiring "re-education" have been sent.
Kang Chol-hwan is the first survivor of one of these labor camps to escape the "hermit kingdom" and tell his story to the world. In collaboration with French journalist and historian Pierre Rigoulot, Kang reveals the human suffering in his camp, with its forced labor, frequent public executions and near-starvation rations that Kang supplemented with rats and bugs. This publication is the first of its kind to document the extreme conditions in these gulags, and provides a personal insight into life in North Korea.
Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this story of one young man's personal suffering finally gives eye-witness proof to a neglected and ongoing chapter of modern history.

Baker
& Taylor

The memoirs of a survivor of a North Korean communist prison describes the harsh conditions in a gulag, his life in North Korea, and his daring escape.

Authors: Kang, Chòr-hwan, 1968-
Title: The aquariums of Pyongyang
ten years in a North Korean gulag
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2001
Characteristics: xvi, 238 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Rigoulot, Pierre
ISBN: 0465011012
0465011020
Statement of Responsibility: Kang Chol-hwan and Pierre Rigoulot ; translated by Yair Reiner
Subject Headings: Kang, Chòr-hwan, 1968- Political prisoners Korea (North) Biography Concentration camps Korea (North) Forced labor Korea (North) Korea (North) Social conditions
Topical Term: Political prisoners
Concentration camps
Forced labor
LCCN: 2001035474
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app04 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/23 09:41