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
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
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