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Synopsis

Journey into the life of a renegade American who decided to defect to the most reclusive and oppressive nation in modern history: North Korea. An American idealist defects to North Korea in the 1970's only to discover the true horrors of this Stalinist state. What happens next would shock even those familiar with authoritarian regimes.

The author, an American Foreign Service worker in china, meets a man by the name of "David". David entrusts the author with his diary and makes the author promise him that the diary will be shown to the world as "evidence of what North Korea is really like". Following this encounter, the author never sees David again.

The author discovers that within the pages of this diary lies an incredible story of defection, survival, and an eventual escape by the man he knows only as "David". After staying up and reading the entire diary, the author is convinced that David's story must be told to the world.

The diary details David's life from his fairly comfortable upbringings, through his rebellious youth, and into his extraordinary decision to defect to North Korea. At first, David enjoys an elevated status in North Korea as a "hero" and a "patriot" of the socialist cause.

During two decades as an English professor at the most prestigious North Korean University, David experiences love, seduction, betrayal, and violence.

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