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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will thank God you live where you live (anywhere but NK)
This book will stun you. A previous reviewer made mention of the Wild Boar and he's right some of the tales about the Wild Boar will make you laugh. But this book is not a comedy. This book is a story of a family who viewed North Korea as the paradise destination. Ethnic Koreans who lived and prospered in Japan they were inticed back to Pyongyang, to return...
Published on Oct. 24 2003 by Paul

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying.
This is a very poorly written book.
To be fair, it could be that the book suffers from a double translation: from Korean to French, then from French to English. It could also be that the book seems to have been dictated (during meetings with the original French translator), then put into narrative form. Nevertheless, the prose itself is rambling, unfocused, and full...
Published on Jan. 20 2002


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will thank God you live where you live (anywhere but NK), Oct. 24 2003
This book will stun you. A previous reviewer made mention of the Wild Boar and he's right some of the tales about the Wild Boar will make you laugh. But this book is not a comedy. This book is a story of a family who viewed North Korea as the paradise destination. Ethnic Koreans who lived and prospered in Japan they were inticed back to Pyongyang, to return 'home'.
The wild boar is not a animal with four legs. He is an human animal,the nickname prison guard in the hell that the family found themselves. His particular cruelty to the family and anyone else is rooted in a love of the (now deceased) Great Leader.
To hear people so desperate to escape the country that they would leave their own families behind to face the consequences. Cannibalism, the death, the dulling of human senses. Its an amazing story.
This book is not horror show. Its not a gory death book with minutia details of pain. Rather it tells an awful story but it is in fact a story of how the human being can overcome. incredible adversity. You will admire this man and his story. You will also appreciate where you live. This book is well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, Sept. 14 2010
By 
P. R. Kennedy (vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (Paperback)
An absolutely excellent book. Could not put it down. Like reading Orwell's 1984, but the real life version.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a great book, June 16 2013
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Stephen Berthelot (Fredericton, NB, Canada) - See all my reviews
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What an interesting look into the lives of North Koreans. So much brutality and hunger. The world needs to pay more attention to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, May 26 2012
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This review is from: The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (Paperback)
Great book from a point of view rarely heard. Let's hope kim Jung un is more just than kim Jong il.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading, April 10 2004
By A Customer
In my opinion this book is on par with Alan Patton's "Cry the Beloved Country." It powerfully conveys the plight of foreign oppression with both empathy and clarity.
Every US military officer, all federal politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats and personnel stationed in South Korea NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
The author's family willingly emigrated to North Korea. They had been quite wealthy, but felt ideologically drawn to seek North Korean citizenship. Ultimately they were imprisoned.
Their experiences as related make it clear that the government of North Korea is by no means a true Marxist state, but has devolved into a cult of personality revolving around the ruling Kim family. No imperial government in history has been more repressive, exploitative or murderous of its people. North Korea's leader is truly evil. Its brainwashed citizens are at once victims and enablers that evil. Their plight is tragic.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aquariums of Pyongyang, Jan. 17 2004
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I had the chance to meet with the author, Kang Chol Hwan, this past summer in Seoul. Having spent ten years in a gulag for a crime his grandfather committed, he is among the lucky ones who survived. He took the risk and escaped because he felt it was his only option. In North Korea, political oppression is so severe that entire bloodlines, (normally two generations or more), are thrown in labor camps if one member is accused of "disloyalty" toward the regime. Kang's book is full of powerful images. The eyewitness account brings a detailed accuracy to a dark world unimaginable to those who haven't experienced it for themselves. Kang emphasized during our interview that every incident mentioned in his book was true and free of exaggeration. Kang, now a reporter for the Chosun Daily, continues to write editorial pieces about the atrocious human rights situation in the North.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, June 2 2011
By 
G. Perlman "evper" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (Paperback)
An essential book on understanding life, politics and ideology in North Korea. While quite gruesome at times, this autobiography sheds light on an otherwise unknown subject: concentration camps in North Korea. The introduction of the book provides an easy-to-read and brief geopolitical history of how North Korea was created after WW2 and the rest of the book is the unbelievable account of the author's life in surviving 10 years in a prison camp. I found the book incredibly well-written as well as a page-turner that I could not put down.
The world can no longer ignore the severe injustice going on in North Korea and it is your duty to educate yourself on the issue. This book is the perfect place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I agree. Required Reading, July 8 2004
By 
Everett Littles (Sacramento, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I came across this book after reading Tears of My Soul. I have to say that this book is absolutely captivating. It is a very quick read, but the impact will last forever. With so little information coming out of N.Korea unfiltered, this book and its perspective is invaluable. I recommend this book to everyone, to the point that people must think I am the publisher. Excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important testimony, Feb. 10 2004
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This is a must-read, an important testimony of life under an absolutist regime. It is part of a steady stream of testimonials that are finally appearing about what the self-proclaimed "Communist" regimes are actually like inside. I hope that the American academics will start paying attention to these testimonials, and accept the fact that those communist regimes should not have been idealized as they were (and still are by some!). Only after an honest scrutiny of these so-called communist societies and how they ALL turned into dictatorships, can the left recover its intellectual force.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent expose of this Orwellian nightmare society., Sept. 17 2003
By 
J. A. Edwards (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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As a recent amateur student of North Korea, I have read several of the popular autobiographies by people who have escaped this ultra-restrictive nation. "Aquariums" is an EXCELLENT book, reads easily and quickly, and conveys a considerable amount of background/history of the North Korean society. The parallels between this bizarre society and that portrayed in Orwell's "1984" are SOOOO pronounced as to be almost scary; it's almost as if Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il used it as a roadmap.
This book should be required reading for every high school student. In our modern American culture where our freedoms are not only taken for granted but not even recognized for their uniqueness in the world, I suspect most readers would think "Aquariums" to be a work of fiction rather than chilling modern day experience.
I encourage everyone to read this fine narrative.
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The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Pierre Rigoulot (Paperback - Aug. 24 2005)
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