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Download The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom Audiobook, by Blaine Harden Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Blaine Harden Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2015 ISBN: 9780698189034
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From the bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the murderous rise of North Korea’s founding dictator and the fighter pilot who faked him out

In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot, New York Times bestselling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deception—and escape.

As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That is, until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly one million
dollars today). The theft—just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953—electrified the world and incited Kim’s bloody vengeance.

During the Korean War the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans.

Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kim’s shadowy rise, as well as from neverbefore- released U.S. intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the world’s longest-lasting totalitarian state. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating journey deep into the dark origins of the North Korean state, leavened by a stirring account of one young man’s courageous quest to escape it. Thoroughly transporting.”

    Daniel James Brown, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A riveting book that makes the history of North Korea accessible to the general reader.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Harden…weaves the story of No, the pilot, and Kim, the tyrant, into a fascinating retelling.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Expertly melds geopolitics with personal struggle, creating an exciting and illuminating account of a chapter of world history that still resonates today.”


  • “[A] page-turner…In this real-life thriller…Harden presents fresh insights into North Korea.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Mark Bramhall demonstrates his narrative expertise with a performance in which he wisely allows the story itself to take center stage. His presentation is clean and clear with a crisp pace that allows the listener time to absorb all the intriguing detail packed into this chronicle while still advancing the text smartly…The author’s reporting skills paired with Bramhall’s delivery make this a real gem with wide audience appeal.


  • “I could not put this book down. The interwoven stories of Kim Il-Sung and MiG fighter pilot No Kum Sok are carefully researched and artfully told…Harden succeeds in offering a unique lens on North Korean history and politics that offers something for both the general and expert readership.”

    Dr. Victor Cha, professor of government and director of Asian studies, Georgetown University; former National Security Council director for Asian affairs, 2004–7

  • “A triumph of storytelling that brings history to life and explains why the North Korean regime is such a menace to its own people and to the world.”

    Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2015
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for History
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About the Author

Blaine Harden is a contributor to the Economist and has formerly served as the Washington Post’s bureau chief in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. He is the author of Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent and A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia. He lives in Seattle, Washington.