Dealing with Devils: Escape from North Korea: 2 of 2: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad by Melanie Kirkpatrick

May 06, 01:10 AM


(Photo: "We are pretty sure now that the communists wanted peace, not because of a two-year stalemate on the ground, but to get airpower off their back."

  • Gen. O.P. Weyland, Far East Air Forces Commander 

Facing increasing UN air power pressure, the communists finally signed a ceasefire on July 27, 1953, ending the fighting in Korea. The U.S. Air Force emerged from the Korean War as a proven force, ready to face future Cold War challenges. In the fight to resist communist aggression, 1,198 USAF Airmen gave their lives. 

Peace negotiations began on July 10, 1951, in Kaesong, a city near the 38th parallel and now part of North Korea. For two years, negotiations stalled over the prisoner of war issue. Talks were deadlocked and troops faced a stalemate on the ground, but air power still gave the UN effective leverage. Air attacks made continuing the war too costly for the communists, and they signed an armistice on July 27, 1953.

The end of combat created the famous Demilitarized Zone or "DMZ" as a buffer zone between the two Koreas. This zone has become the world's most fortified international frontier, and has been the scene of several small-scale but violent North Korean incursions over the years. The zone completely divides the peninsula. It is 4 kilometers wide, or 2 kilometers on either side of the border.

While the armistice ended the fighting, there is still no peace treaty officially ending the war in Korea. Since 1953, U.S. forces have remained on guard in South Korea and Japan, ready to defend South Korea against aggression from the north.)

Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Dealing with Devils: Escape from North Korea: 2 of 2:  The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad by Melanie Kirkpatrick

“With the perfect, hypnotic flow of a consummate journalist, Melanie Kirkpatrick has created an encyclopedic, magnificently researched and reported portrait of the dramatic resistance to the slow-motion holocaust that is taking place in North Korea as you read this. Her account is as captivating as a thriller, but unlike a thriller it is morally compelling. What elevates it to the ranks of the finest books is the skill of its author and the selfless urgency of her appeal. Many a prize has been awarded to books not half as deserving.” — Mark Helprin, Author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War

“Escape from North Korea should be assigned reading for anyone—policymaker, academic, or journalist alike—who think they know anything about the Kim family dictatorship. Melanie Kirkpatrick shows how “the new Underground Railroad” is not only providing an escape route from the prison camp that is North Korea, but something even more important as well. She shows how that escape route, aided and expanded, can bring down North Korea’s despotic regime and free its entire people. Kirkpatrick combines exhaustive reporting with insightful analysis in a powerful and compelling tale of repression and freedom.” — John R. Bolton, Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

“A riveting, meticulously researched account of the harrowing journey North Koreans must take to reach freedom. Kirkpatrick describes in detail the secret network of safe houses, transit routes and brokers that have emerged in China and other countries to enable North Koreans to escape. Similar to the Underground Railroad in the United States that liberated slaves, the network achieves inspiring successes and tragic failures. The book will interest both the general public and serve as a powerful tool for policymakers, academics and advocates interested in lending support to one of the world’s most persecuted people.” — Roberta Cohen, Co-chair of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea