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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

Beyond the Border

Tae-hyok Kim and Nicole Kim Rogers

A true story that unfolds in a divided nation. Tae-hyok left North Korea as a teenager in search of opportunity. Then, the Korean War started. Born in 1931 in Korea, Tae-hyok Kim grows up being forced to speak Japanese and bow to the Emperor every day in school. His family longs for freedom from the Japanese occupation. But life takes a dramatic turn for the worse when his country is divided into North and South after World War II. At the age of fifteen, he leaves his family in North Korea, venturing south in search of an education. But crossing the treacherous border—the 38th Parallel—comes with its own set of risks. At one point, he’s even captured by the border guards. Choosing to stay in South Korea to escape the grips of communism in his hometown, Tae-hyok finds himself unexpectedly enlisting in the South Korean Army. But then the Korean War starts. And amidst the chaos of war, Tae-hyok wonders if he’s fighting against his own brothers or friends from the North. From a life of poverty and Japanese oppression to the journey as a soldier in the Korean War, BEYOND THE BORDER tells the extraordinary true story of growing up in a severed, warring nation and the atrocities of “The Forgotten War.”

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Beyond the Border
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