A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

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The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes.

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.

In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.

Title : A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1542047196
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 172 pages


Lo rated it ★★★★★

December 09, 2017

The short version: This is easily the best firsthand narrative about life in North Korea that I've found, and it's a gripping, well-written story in its own right. If you haven't read anything like this, it will be VERY educational. But be aware that it doesn't have the happy ending the title imp...

Sara rated it ★★★★☆

February 06, 2018

It's been a while since I read anything in one sitting, but this was utterly heartbreaking and compelling. Masaji Ishikawa and his family moved to North Korea during the great migration of Japanese/Korean immigrants to the communist state in the 1960s. Promises of a paradise and jobs for all dupe...

Xavier (CharlesXplosion) rated it ★★★★★

January 31, 2018

A breathtaking real, unfiltered view of life in North Korea as a Japanese-Korean. Not all tales end happily, but Masaji Ishikawa's story exemplifies the resilience of the human spirit and importance of optimism even in the darkest of times.

Chandra rated it ★★★★★

January 02, 2018

My first love in books is horror followed closely by psychological thrillers. When I read nonfiction/memoirs, I typically stay somewhat within the same genre - true crime, etc. As a half South Korean woman, I also typically avoid reading anything regarding North Korea. I always assumed that these...

Marilyn Hitesman rated it ★★★★★

December 02, 2017

The horror of life in North Korea Beyond comprehension. The atrocities are being silenced but must be made known. No one should endure what these people do.

Alaina rated it ★★★★★

February 02, 2018

I feel like I've been on a non-fiction kick lately and I've loved every minute of it. What first got my attention was the cover. I don't really know how else to explain it other than say it intrigued me so much that I didn't even think twice before I clicked it. Second, the title makes you think it...

Janelle rated it ★★★★★

January 07, 2018

A RIVER OF DARKNESS by Masaji Ishikawa (translated by Risa Kobayashi and Martin Brown) Thank you so much to Amazon Publishing for sending me a free copy - all opinions are my own. “Someone once said, ‘If a crying baby could tear down the universe, it would.’ Thats how I felt that day. I wanted to...

Staci rated it ★★★★☆

December 13, 2017

Tragic. That one word sums up this entire memoir. I've read both Fiction and Non-Fiction books about North Korea which has provided me a pretty good background about what life is like there. What I didn't know until reading this memoir is nearly 80,000 Japanese moved to North Korea after WWII. The...

Beverly rated it ★★★★★

December 04, 2017

Oh god, that was the most depressing book I've read in a long time. There is literally no light at the end of the tunnel for Mr. Ishikawa. On the one hand, it was a fascinating and disturbing tale of life in North Korea. On the other hand...it was a dark and dreary tale of what happens in North K...

*・Mariposa・* rated it ★★★★☆

January 19, 2018

His story broke my heart

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