(CNN) -- Shin Dong-hyuk is the only known person born in a North Korean prison camp that escaped and survived to tell the tale. Journalist Blaine Harden first uncovered Shin's story in 2008 and has now turned it into the riveting new biography "Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West." North Korea has been splashed across world headlines in recent weeks over its threat to launch a long-range rocket, its suspected nuclear program and for its continued defiance of the West. If you want a singular perspective on what goes on inside the rogue regime, then you must read his story. It's a harrowing tale of endurance and courage, at times grim but ultimately life-affirming. In the book, Harden offers an unnerving glimpse into one of the world's most repressive regimes. Until now, little was known about North Korea's labor camps, even though they've existed for decades. They're believed to hold between 150,000 and 200,000 prisoners and while they're plainly visible in satellite photos, the North Korean government claims they don't exist. Shin knows otherwise. He was born in one of these "hidden gulags." He grew up in squalid conditions with unending, back-breaking work, and knew nothing of the outside world. He was starved, beaten and tortured. One of his earliest memories: Being forced to watch the execution of his mother and brother.