History enthusiasts – have I got a book for you! I believe I’m in great company in knowing very little about the Korean war. Blaine Harden, author of the NYT best seller Escape from Camp 14, has penned an absolutely fascinating and enlightening book that will both startle and mesmerize you. Using the individual stories of Kim Il Sung (the demagogue who fashioned the North Korea we know today) and No Kum Sok, a North Korean fighter pilot, Blaine successfully paints a strong picture of this war without writing a dry history piece. No Kum Sok became a fighter pilot specifically so he could escape from North Korea. Escape he did, by flying a Russian MiG-15 to a USA airbase in South Korea.
In this book we follow Kim Il Sung through the times leading up to the war, and in detail his mismanagement of the war and the country during the war years. We learn a tremendous amount about the efforts of the USA military to bring the war to a close, and consequently we gain an understanding of why North Koreans despise and fear us. In reading No Kum Sok’s story we learn about what life was like for regular citizens of the country.
I don’t want to spoil the intrigue of the book by saying too much, but I can say this is a spectacularly written book that any history buff will not want to miss. Even readers of thrillers might find this a valuable read.
–Brad Smith, Paulina Springs, Redmond and Sisters, OR