North Korea remains one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world.
Each year, though fleeing the country is a capital offense, a brave few attempt an escape to freedom using a secret network of safe houses and routes from North Korea to Southeast Asia.
In her book Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, writer Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the harrowing stories of North Korean defectors who attempt to escape from a place she calls "hell on Earth."
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 2:33 pm
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. When the 112th Congress adjourns, some of the most vivid politicians of our times will leave the stage. We've already spoken with Democratic Representatives Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Today two political mavericks.
One ran for president of the United States, the other for vice president. Both at one time or another left their parties. Both left indelible marks on politics and on Washington, D.C.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, exit interviews with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Ron Paul as they leave Congress after many years. But first we continue our Opinion Page series on the fiscal cliff.
It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last Tuesday, during our discussion about parents with a physical or cognitive disability, we heard from Maribeth(ph) in Denver: My daughter and son-in-law are congenitally deaf, she wrote. Both are graduates of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and lived there when their first child was born, who was hearing and did not suffer from not hearing spoken word from her parents.
The New York Times broke one of the more intriguing political stories of the week, last night: In a phone call "not long ago," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged Hillary Clinton to consider running for his job after she ended her tenure as secretary of sate.
Wine is our original alcoholic beverage. It dates back 8,000 years and, as Paul Lukacs writes in his new book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures, was originally valued more because it was believed to be of divine origin than for its taste. And that's a good thing, Lukacs tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, because early wine was not particularly good.