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The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the…
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The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (edició 2005)

de Chol-hwan Kang, Pierre Rigoulot

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6902725,745 (3.84)41
The harrowing memoir of life inside North Korea Amid escalating nuclear tensions, Kim Jong-un and North Korea's other leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party state, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education." Kang Chol-Hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea. Sent to the notorious labor camp Yodok when he was nine years old, Kang for ten years observed frequent public executions and endured forced labor and near-starvation rations. In 1992, he escaped to South Korea, where he found God and now advocates for human rights in North Korea. This record of one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to the abuses perpetrated by the North Korean regime.… (més)
Membre:mdubois
Títol:The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
Autors:Chol-hwan Kang
Altres autors:Pierre Rigoulot
Informació:Basic Books (2005), Paperback, 272 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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The Aquariums of Pyongyang de Chol-hwan Kang

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A Journey No Person Should Ever Need to Take

"Aquariums of Pyongyang" is one of the first books I read about the experience of people in North Korea. It details a young man's family's life in the North Korean gulag. It is one of several recent biographies that show the sheer violence and absurdity of everyday life in North Korea.

The book begins with Chol-hwan Kang's life as a middle-class resident of Pyongyang. The family was thrown into the gulag without reason. There, they suffered years and years of hardship, which Kang details in this book. Kang escaped the country through his own cunning and then made it to safety through a network of like-minded people fighting for North Korean citizens.

This book offers something that human rights reports cannot: the author's own heart-wrenching story. It is not filled with statistics and numbers, but it is filled with family and feelings. This makes "The Aquariums of Pyongyang" unforgettable. ( )
  mvblair | Aug 9, 2020 |
Kang Chol-Hwan's autobiographical novel is tragic and at times deeply unsettling, but it has a happy ending of sorts - otherwise the former political prisoner of one of the many labour camps in North Korea would never have set pen to paper. Kang's family moved to North Korea when he was a child, after his grandparents, Koreans living in Japan, had become convinced that the Communist state was the utopia they had always been seeking. It did not work out that way - but the manner in which things went wrong for the family is best left for Kang to tell. 'The Aquariums of Pyongyang' is an essential read, especially given the recent interest directed towards North Korea and the Trumpian attempts to effect a reconciliation. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Mar 20, 2019 |
Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
A moving account of his life by a refugee from North Korea. Imprisoned with his family in a labour camp at the age of 9 due to alleged political "crimes" committed by his grandfather, he spent the following decade there, working as a slave labourer and having to catch rats and salamanders to supplement the starvation diet in the camp (and there are camps far worse there as well). I have read a fair amount of Nazi and Soviet camp literature, but the stark horrors of North Korean oppression and fanaticism have a dimension that is quite unique, partly I guess because this regime still exists and seems as ostensibly strong and grotesque as ever under its new young leader, Kim Jong-un. A few years after his release in 1987, he sensed the long arm of the security agents closing in on him again for listening to South Korean radio broadcasts. He and a friend resolved to escape the country by way of China, and eventually reached South Korea, though having to keep his escape an absolute secret, he could not tell his plans even to his surviving family, who remain trapped in the Hermit State to this day. His efforts and those of other refugees from the North to acclimatise to life in a much freer and more prosperous society are especially moving and pathetic (in the true sense of the word). His was one of the first accounts to emerge on life in North Korea and gives some cause for optimism, not only as it shows a personal happy outcome for the author, but also gave him the opportunity to expose the regime's atrocities to a wider audience. ( )
1 vota john257hopper | Mar 17, 2016 |
I assume this memoir was "co-written" by Pierre Rigoulot with Kang Chol-Hwan because Mr. Chol-Hwan is not proficient in English but the narrative, often overwritten, appears to be more of Rigoulot's voice. The most compelling and insightful part of the book are the vivid descriptions of daily life as a labor camp inmate. Kang Chol-Hwan's experiences happened during the Kim Jong-Il regime but I doubt things have improved much under the tenure of his son. Escape from Camp 14 and Nothing to Envy are stronger recountings of similar experiences. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)

The harrowing memoir of life inside North Korea Amid escalating nuclear tensions, Kim Jong-un and North Korea's other leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party state, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education." Kang Chol-Hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea. Sent to the notorious labor camp Yodok when he was nine years old, Kang for ten years observed frequent public executions and endured forced labor and near-starvation rations. In 1992, he escaped to South Korea, where he found God and now advocates for human rights in North Korea. This record of one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to the abuses perpetrated by the North Korean regime.

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