Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home

Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home

by Laura Ling, Lisa Ling

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Overview

On March 17, 2009, Laura Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were working on a documentary about North Korean defectors who were fleeing the desperate conditions in their homeland. While filming on the Chinese–North Korean border, they were chased down by North Korean soldiers who violently apprehended them. Laura and Euna were charged with trespassing and "hostile acts," and imprisoned by Kim Jong Il's notoriously secretive Communist state. Kept totally apart, they endured months of interrogations and eventually a trial before North Korea's highest court. They were the first Americans ever to be sentenced to twelve years of hard labor in a prison camp in North Korea.

When news of the arrest reached Laura's sister, journalist Lisa Ling, she immediately began a campaign to get her sister released, one that led her from the State Department to the higher echelons of the media world and eventually to the White House.

Somewhere Inside reveals for the first time Laura's gripping account of what really happened on the river, her treatment at the hands of North Korean guards, and the deprivations and rounds of harrowing interrogations she endured. She speaks movingly about the emotional toll inflicted on her by her incarceration, including the measures she took to protect her sources and her fears that she might never see her family again.

Lisa writes about her unrelenting efforts to secure Laura and Euna's release. Offering insights into the vast media campaign spearheaded on the women's behalf, Lisa also takes us deep into the drama involving people at the highest levels of government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, and Governor Bill Richardson—intense discussions that entailed strategically balancing the agendas and good intentions of the various players. She also describes her role in the back-and-forth between North Korea's demands and the dramatic rescue by former President Bill Clinton.

Though they were thousands of miles apart while Laura was in captivity, the Ling sisters' relationship became a way for the reclusive North Korean government to send messages to the United States government, which helped lead to Laura and Euna's eventual release.

Told in the sisters' alternating voices, Somewhere Inside is a timely, inspiring, and page-turning tale of survival set against the canvas of international politics that goes beyond the headlines to reveal the impact on lives engulfed by forces beyond their control. But it is also a window into the unique bond these two sisters have always shared, a bond that sustained them throughout the most horrifying ordeal of their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062000675
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/18/2010
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Laura Ling was vice president of Current TV's investigative journalism series Vanguard, and also served as an on-air correspondent for the show. Prior to joining Current in 2005, Laura worked as a series producer for Channel One News.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Preface xi

1 Somewhere Inside North Korea 1

2 Scrambling for Answers 30

3 Going to Pyongyang 57

4 The Visit 92

5 The Confession 118

6 The Phone Call 150

7 The Window Is Closing 186

8 Glimmers of Hope 218

9 The Envoy 243

10 The Rescue 275

Epilogue 313

Mom's Special Watercress Soup Recipe 317

Acknowledgments 318

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Somewhere Inside 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Alison918 More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that leaves a footprint on your heart. It is one of the most touching, if not, the most touching book I've ever read. Laura and Lisa have turned one of the most unimaginable situations into such an incredible read, that YOU WILL NOT be able to put down. This one is not to be missed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Somewhere Inside was amazing. I loved the parallel stories between Lisa and Laura Ling. Not only did they tell their story but you also saw what it was like for their capators and people helping to get both Laura and Euna back safely. I highly recommend this book.
LuccaQ More than 1 year ago
Chilling details of Laura Ling's time in North Korea. I enjoy reading and watching anything that gives me a look into this isolated world. Laura gets a chance, through telling her own story, gets a chance to shed light on the desperate situation people of North Korea. The intention of her trip to the China-North Korea border region was to give a face and voice to the people fleeing their home-land everyday, and the horrors they often face afterwards.
TooBusyReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On a very frigid morning in March, 2009, Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and Mitch Koss crossed a frozen river from China and spent a few minutes on the North Korean bank of the river before turning back to China. Their purpose was to produce a documentary about the defectors fleeing North Korea into an uncertain future in China. Before they reached the Chinese bank, they were chased by North Korean soldiers. Mitch escaped. Laura and Euna spent 5 months detained by the North Korean government, not knowing what would happen to them. This is Laura's story of her imprisonment alternating with sister Lisa's story of her struggles to bring the prisoners home.Many of us know some of the story because of the media coverage. Now we can know much more of what really happened and the behind-the-scene struggles. I found the book fascinating, as entertaining (to use a word inappropriate for the gravity of the situation) as any spy novel out there, even though I knew how this one was going to end.There was little in the story about Euna because she and Laura had a few days together before they were separated. Neither knew what was happening to the other. They didn't know what would happen to themselves, whether they would be released, go to a work prison camp, or be executed. After the violence at the time of the arrest, Laura was not treated viciously or violently, but that is certainly not to say that she was treated well. Still, in some respects, they were treated better than the average citizens of the country.It seems hopeful that with the few people Laura met on a frequent basis, such as her guards and her interpreter, there was eventually a grudging kinship, person getting to know person, rather than governments with opposite agendas. There were unexpected kindnesses.I was amazed to learn of all the people who wanted to help, from bloggers to many people in government, to celebrities. Michael Jackson, just before he died, learned that North Korea's leader Kim Jon Il is a fan of Hollywood movies, and Jackson offered to go to Korea if it would help. In a rough part of Los Angeles where gang warfare is a part of life, both a ¿working girl¿ and a homeless person told Lisa that they were praying for Laura. Throughout, the strength and meaning of family was an unbreakable bond.One very minor problem in the writing for me is the use of ¿girls¿ to describe Euna and Laura. In one case, it was a strategic move, entirely appropriate, but in the others, it seemed a little flippant.There are people who given this book very low ratings because they believe that what this team did was wrong. While I respect that point of view, it does not lessen the impact the book had on me. Yes, the team broke laws. And they caused our government to be put in a very touchy situation. Crossing into North Korea was stupid, even if their guide, who apparently set them up, said it was safe. And the outcome might have been very different if the Lings didn't have friends and connections in the proverbial high places. Nevertheless, I am grateful that we have journalists who are willing to go that extra mile to report the controversial, hidden stories, and I am grateful that we are able to hear and read and see those stories.
bookaholicmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been a huge fan of Lisa Ling ever since she was on The View. In fact when she left I pretty much stopped watching it. I liked how she would bring stories to our attention that I never knew were going on. When the story of how her sister Laura Ling and her colleague, Euna Lee had been captured and were being held prisoner in North Korea broke, I was surprised to learn that she had a sister in the same field as she. I was very concerned for Laura and Euna Lee and prayed for them. The two were working on a documentary about North Korean defectors who had fled the terrible conditions in their country only to end up in some terrible situations in China. While near the China- North Korean border the girls were captured by North Korean soldiers and dragged into North Korea where they were imprisoned. The book is told alternately through both Laura's eyes and Lisa's eyes. Laura tells of her ordeal in prison and being tried in North Korea. She was determined to survive and find a way out of what seemed to be a no-win situation. Lisa tells of what it was like waiting and wondering and how she diligently worked to find a way to bring her sister home. I don't think two sister's could be any closer to each other. You will want to hug your sister tightly after reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura ' s retelling of her experiences as a prisoner in North Korea keep the reader involved and open to helping the people of that country.
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I loved this book, despite Laura's awful experience. She shows a very unique look into NK and perhaps an extremely valuable insight into their general mindset and the ways it manifests itself in individual people. No matter how deeply ingrained a philosophy or belief (all Americans are evil and want North Koreans to die and should be killed), spending time with people lets your own humanity seep through. She showed hers and slowly her captors did, too. We, as Americans, need to drastically and quickly reform our policies and treatment of NK, and perhaps take into account that they are human beings like us, despite the alarming extreme group mentality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Happy she is home safe she should not have been over there i bet she wont do that again
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