Under the Same Sky: Book summary and reviews of Under the Same Sky by Joseph Kim, Stephan Talty

Under the Same Sky

From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America

by Joseph Kim, Stephan Talty

Under the Same Sky by Joseph Kim, Stephan Talty X
Under the Same Sky by Joseph Kim, Stephan Talty
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2015
    288 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Inside the hidden and mysterious world of North Korea, Joseph Kim lived a young boy's normal life until he was five. Then disaster struck: the first wave of the Great Famine, a long, terrible ordeal that killed millions, including his father, and sent others, like his mother and only sister, on desperate escape routes into China. Alone on the streets, Joseph learned to beg and steal. He had nothing but a street-hardened survival instinct. Finally, in desperation, he too crossed a frozen river to escape to China.

There a kindly Christian woman took him in, kept him hidden from the authorities, and gave him hope. Soon, through an underground network of activists, he was spirited to the American consulate, and became one of just a handful of North Koreans to be brought to the U.S. as refugees. Joseph knew no English and had never been a good student. Yet the kindness of his foster family changed his life.  He turned a new leaf, became a dedicated student, mastered English, and made it to college, where he is now thriving thanks to his faith and inner strength. Under the Same Sky is an unforgettable story of suffering and redemption.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Kim's tale is a vital insight into a little-understood country and a modern-day tragedy." - Publishers Weekly

"A courageous and inspiring memoir." - Kirkus

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Beckyh

UNDER THE SAME SKY by Joseph Kim
What a harrowing tale Joseph tells in this, his story from early childhood in North Korea to young manhood in America.
His father is a mid-level party worker and his family is comfortable in the 1980’s. Kim, his father, mother and sister, Bong Sook, live with electricity, a TV and plenty of food and snacks. Then the famine in North Korea takes all of that away. His father and mother lose their jobs, then their furniture, TV and even clothing in order to eat. Eventually they lose their home and are dependent upon their extended family for a roof and food. Finally they have exhausted all options. Kim’s mother sells his sister in South Korea, and disappears. Joseph is left on his own as a young boy. The book details the heartrending life he leads as a homeless youth, descending into theft, lies and violence to survive. Written in simple, but graphic terms, he tells how he ultimately loses all hope and faith in communism and North Korea. He sneaks into South Korea at great risk, becoming a refugee from one the world’s most repressive regimes.
The book’s subtitle, FROM STARVATION IN NORTH KOREA TO SALVATION IN AMERICA, gives the story of his life in one sentence. This is a book that will not leave you for many months. You will learn about life in North Korea when things go well and how quickly plenty can turn to extreme want when a government is oblivious to the needs of the citizens – and how citizens continue to defend and love their country long after the country has abandoned them.
5 of 5 stars

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More Information

Joseph Kim was born in North Korean in 1990. In 2007 he came to the United States where he completed high school. He is currently a college student in New York City.

Stephan Talty is a widely published journalist who has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Men's Journal, Time Out New York, Details, and many other publications. He is the author of Escape from the Land of Snows, the best-selling Empire of Blue Water, The Illustrious Dead, and Mulatto America

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