Graeme Wood

Icon

The Defector

I profiled Charles Robert Jenkins, a US soldier who defected to North Korea, in The Atlantic.

Advertisements

Filed under: Atlantic Monthly, ,

Defective: Return to Sender

Sgt. Jenkins‘s punishment is in his face — a withered, jug-eared mug that looks about two decades older than its sixty-odd years. In January 1965, Jenkins deserted his unit in the Korean DMZ and slinked into North Korean territory, where he intended to turn himself in and go home after a prisoner-swap. The scheme failed badly. Instead of going home, he ended up confined with a handful of other American deserters, beaten bloody by one, malnourished from the start, and forced every day to do nothing but read and memorize the works of Kim Il Sung. It is a measure of the unpleasantness of the ensuing four decades that one low point was the ripping of a U.S. Army tattoo off his arm without anesthetic, and a high point was watching a bootleg video of Michael Jackson’s (admittedly sublime) “Thriller,” with the volume turned to nearly inaudible levels, lest someone hear it, turn him in, and possibly have him shot. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Atlantic Monthly, ,

@gcaw

  • RT @Hegghammer: Some important limitations here: 1) uses data from 1980 to 2004; 2) counts executed attacks, not plots; 3) measures inciden… 7 hours ago
  • Mark Kleiman (RIP) was a genius. He could be generous and cranky, usually in the right measures and at the right ti… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 19 hours ago
  • The literary critic Christopher Ricks personally prevented Karen Armstrong from completing her doctorate in English… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 day ago
  • RT @rcallimachi: The thing that’s stunning about this case of an American citizen who became an ISIS emir is that no one I know who follows… 2 days ago
  • RT @CaitlinPacific: There is some confusion about Cats. How can I explain it? It was based on a twee collection of TS Eliot poems and it wa… 2 days ago