Saturday, August 14, 2010

Goodreads: In 2009, Laura Ling, a reporter with Current TV, traveled with a film crew to the region of China that bordered on North Korea to report on defections, particularly of women who were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery. The crew momentarily crossed into North Korea, and Ling and Euna Lee, her editor and translator, were captured. Given the hostilities between North Korea and China and a recent critical documentary on North Korea by Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, the women knew they were in for an ordeal. Laura was beaten during the capture, and the women were held in isolation and faced meager meals, cold, and little medical treatment.

In the U.S., Lisa and her family prayed and called on powerful contacts, including Al Gore and Bill Richardson, to win the women’s release. During the time of their captivity, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired off missiles, increasing tensions with the U.S. and UN. The women were eventually tried for attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and negotiations with prickly North Korea, they were finally released after five months in captivity. This memoir alternates between the sisters, with Laura recalling the escalating peril of her capture and imprisonment and Lisa recalling heightened worries as weeks dragged into months.


Kritters Thoughts: Well another interesting book where I knew the ending ahead of time, but did not know the details behind the news stories.


**SPOILER**
Before I review the book itself - I learned something interesting in Laura Ling retelling the story. I was unaware that the guide that they had chosen to take them through China and near North Korea caused them to enter North Korea illegally. Although, my first reaction when I heard the news stories were - OK ladies - why didn't we know we were in North Korea - DUHH. WELP that thought hasn't changed because now I know that they knew they had entered the country AND not only that they had entered China on incorrect visas/passports. Instead of using media passports, they went in as tourists - I am sorry my sympathy for the situation diminishes just a little after hearing all these details.
***SPOILER COMPLETE***

After my soapbox moment - onto my review of the book. I absolutely loved how they intertwined Lisa and Laura's stories, so you were not only hearing the story from inside North Korea, but the work that was being done to free the girls at the same time. I liked how they chronologically mingled and it helped make the story complete.

I was absolutely intrigued by the amount of story that wasn't released, yet included in this book. It made me wonder how much "news" I don't see hit the airwaves or is delayed due to circumstances. I know there are things that happen just down the road from me in D.C. that may never hit the news blogs and how creepy and crazy is it that some things are never shared. Makes you think.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book and reading how the whole situation was handled with extreme care. I am amazed at how hard it was to have both the US and North Korea come together to agree on terms and release these two women. I am definitely not planning a trip anytime soon to Korea.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 336 pages

GR July-Sept Challenge: Where in the World (K for Korea)

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