Catalogue

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The reluctant communist [electronic resource] : my desertion, court-martial, and forty-year imprisonment in North Korea / Charles Robert Jenkins ; with Jim Frederick.
Jenkins, Charles Robert, 1940-2017.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
description
xxxvi, 192 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0520253337 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520253339 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
isbn
0520253337 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520253339 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Super Jenkins -- In the army, and across the DMZ -- Housemates -- Cooks, cadets, and wives -- Soga-san -- Friends and strangers -- Domestic life -- Hitomi's escape -- My escape -- Homecomings.
general note
"Japanese edition, To Tell the Truth (Kokuhaku, or Confession), was published by Kadokawa Shoten" -- ECIP Dataview.
catalogue key
11953476
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This story by Robert Jenkins of his four decades in North Korea represents a rare opportunity to view life in one of the most reclusive societies in the world, offering unprecedented insights for both specialists and the general reader."--Robert Scalapino, UC Berkeley "This is an incredible story of betrayal, love and the search for redemption. Robert Jenkins is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, isolated from the outside world, and relying on his wits to survive in a nightmarish parody of a nation where nothing is as it seems. Living in constant fear and violence, Jenkins efforts to grow food, dig a well, heat his home, generate electricity and to find companionship, trust and ultimately love, lend this rough and ready narrative an unexpected depth. Set within the bizarre and Orwellian surroundings of North Korea during the late 20th century, Jenkins's account is like no other I've ever read."--Jasper Becker, author ofRogue Regime: The Continuing Threat of North Korea "Charles Jenkins' memoir is a genuinely unique account of the only American ever to live in North Korea for most of his life and return to write about it. Part biography, part eyewitness testimony, part apology, this book takes Mr. Jenkins from a childhood in the segregated South to a U.S. Army ruling the roost in South Korea in the 1950s, to a North Korea that saw him as a real-life Martian, but a valuable one for use in Cold War propaganda."--Bruce Cummings, Chairman of the History Department at the University of Chicago
Flap Copy
"This story by Robert Jenkins of his four decades in North Korea represents a rare opportunity to view life in one of the most reclusive societies in the world, offering unprecedented insights for both specialists and the general reader."--Robert Scalapino, University of California, Berkeley "This is an incredible story of betrayal, love and the search for redemption. Robert Jenkins is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, isolated from the outside world, and relying on his wits to survive in a nightmarish parody of a nation where nothing is as it seems. Living in constant fear and violence, Jenkins efforts to grow food, dig a well, heat his home, generate electricity and to find companionship, trust and ultimately love, lend this rough and ready narrative an unexpected depth. Set within the bizarre and Orwellian surroundings of North Korea during the late 20th century, Jenkins's account is like no other I've ever read."--Jasper Becker, author of "Rogue Regime: The Continuing Threat of North Korea" "Charles Jenkins' memoir is a genuinely unique account of the only American ever to live in North Korea for most of his life and return to write about it. Part biography, part eyewitness testimony, part apology, this book takes Mr. Jenkins from a childhood in the segregated South to a U.S. Army ruling the roost in South Korea in the 1950s, to a North Korea that saw him as a real-life Martian, but a valuable one for use in Cold War propaganda."--Bruce Cummings, Chairman of the History Department at the University of Chicago
Flap Copy
"This story by Robert Jenkins of his four decades in North Korea represents a rare opportunity to view life in one of the most reclusive societies in the world, offering unprecedented insights for both specialists and the general reader."--Robert Scalapino, University of California, Berkeley "This is an incredible story of betrayal, love and the search for redemption. Robert Jenkins is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, isolated from the outside world, and relying on his wits to survive in a nightmarish parody of a nation where nothing is as it seems. Living in constant fear and violence, Jenkins's efforts to grow food, dig a well, heat his home, generate electricity and to find companionship, trust and ultimately love, lend this rough and ready narrative an unexpected depth. Set within the bizarre and Orwellian surroundings of North Korea during the late 20th century, Jenkins's account is like no other I've ever read."--Jasper Becker, author of Rogue Regime: The Continuing Threat of North Korea "Charles Jenkins' memoir is a genuinely unique account of the only American ever to live in North Korea for most of his life and return to write about it. Part biography, part eyewitness testimony, part apology, this book takes Mr. Jenkins from a childhood in the segregated South to a U.S. Army ruling the roost in South Korea in the 1950s, to a North Korea that saw him as a real-life Martian, but a valuable one for use in Cold War propaganda."--Bruce Cummings, Chairman of the History Department at the University of Chicago
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-02-15:
In 1965, Jenkins, a sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed in Korea, walked across the DMZ and surrendered to North Korean troops. He hoped to be swapped in a prisoner exchange, thereby returning sooner than otherwise to the United States; he was held in North Korea until 2004. During those years, he taught English to military officers, translated Western press and Hollywood film soundtracks, and even acted in domestic film productions. He usually lived with or near other U.S. military defectors and foreigners who said they had been abducted from abroad. Although these foreigners lived better than North Korean citizens, they resorted to growing their own food to have enough to eat, digging their own wells, and maintaining their own electrical generators, especially during the 1990s, when the economy declined sharply. They were required to attend study groups on the thought of Kim Il Sung and to be mindful of the ever-present controllers who watch foreigners and citizens alike. Jenkins's straightforward presentation, written with the assistance of Frederick (senior editor, Time magazine), conveys effectively both the hardships that he and other foreigners endured and the understanding and personal ties that he established. Readers have few opportunities to hear firsthand about life inside North Korea; those who follow current events will be intrigued by this story. [The book was written in English but first appeared in Japanese translation overseas.-Ed.]-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"One of the most important and devastating accounts of life inside a totalitarian society."
"One of the most important and devastating accounts of life inside a totalitarian society."-- Commentary
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, February 2008
Wall Street Journal, March 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
In January of 1965, twenty-four-year-old U.S. Army sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins abandoned his post in South Korea, walked across the DMZ, and surrendered to communist North Korean soldiers standing sentry along the world's most heavily militarized border. He believed his action would get him back to the States and a short jail sentence. Instead he found himself in another sort of prison, where for forty years he suffered under one of the most brutal and repressive regimes the world has known. This fast-paced, harrowing tale, told plainly and simply by Jenkins (with journalist Jim Frederick), takes the reader behind the North Korean curtain and reveals the inner workings of its isolated society while offering a powerful testament to the human spirit.
Table of Contents
Photo section followsp. 76
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxxv
Preludep. 1
Super Jenkinsp. 4
In the Army, and across the DMZp. 13
Housematesp. 27
Cooks, Cadets, and Wivesp. 59
Soga-sanp. 77
Friends and Strangersp. 102
Domestic Lifep. 121
Hitomi's Escapep. 136
My Escapep. 153
Homecomingsp. 181
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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