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

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Masaji Ishikawa

Narrated By: Brian Nishii

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Date: January 2018

Duration: 6 hours 0 minutes


An Amazon Charts Most Read and Most Sold book.
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.


  • Christopher B.

    A great ‘listen’ giving a sad view of life in North Korea in the 80’s and 90’s. The ending describing the difficulty adjusting back to live in modern Japan is enough to make us think how lucky most of us are.

  • Danny T

    Book provides some authentic stories about the 'real North Korea from the onset. Disgusting to think people could be so mistreated, starving, controlled and manipulated by a harsh dictator and his soldiers. No one's life should be subjected to such horrid by men or women on this earth.

  • Nathan T

    very depressing but an eye opener to the hard trials that some people go through

  • Kassandra R

    This book is not a classic work of literature, and I did not expect it to be. This entire book is simply raw first person narrative of Masaji and his experience of North Korea. It really shows you a true insight into this regime that is still in existence in our modern world. Short but very eye opening.

River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea

by Masaji Ishikawa

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