Amazon picks The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot as a best book of March.
Advance praise for The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot:
“Blaine Harden takes us on 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, author of The Boys on the Boat
“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 shows how each man played the system to achieve his lifelong goal — in Kim’s case, the creation of a personality cult, oppressive regime, and in No’s case, defection from it.” — Victor Cha, author of The Impossible State and Director of Asian Studies, Georgetown University
The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot is at once a fascinating look at how evil takes hold and how one ordinary man escapes its grasp with wit and determination. Harden’s compelling narrative is not to be missed, an outstanding follow-up to Escape from Camp 14. — Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Gathering Wind: Hurricane Sandy, the Sailing Ship Bounty, and a Courageous Rescue at Sea
“Having exposed the full horror of the North Korean gulag by telling the story of Shin Dong-hyuk’s escape from Camp 14, Blaine Harden now uses contrasting portraits of the founding tyrant Kim Il Sung and the young MiG pilot who flew to freedom six decades ago to explain how the monstrous political system of North Korea came into existence in the first place. The result is a triumph of story-telling 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
“A masterful account of a forgotten story from a forgotten war. In an artful blending of the stories of Kim Il-Sung’s rise to power and leadership of North Korea during the Korean War, with that of No Kum Sok, a young man who became a fighter pilot in the North Korean Air Force and who defected to South Korea in his MiG-15, he provides us with a unique insight into a missing chapter of the Korean War. Blaine’s account of No Kum Sok’s life before, during and after the Korean War is a commanding performance of interviews and exploitation of declassified intelligence documents. The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot, is recommended to anyone interested in the Korean War, Kim Il-sung or military aviation.”— Joseph Bermudez, North Korea expert and Chief Analytics Officer and Co-Founder, A Unique Advantage