New novel dramatizes 1950 escape of 100,000 North Koreans


New novel dramatizes 1950 escape of 100,000 North Koreans

by: Media release | .
Stripes Korea | .
published: June 25, 2012

Gilmer, TX (6/25/2012) - Texas author David Watts announces the release of Hope in Hungnam, a historical fiction novel telling the story of the dramatic escape in 1950 of 100,000 civilians from North Korea during the Korean War.

On the 62nd anniversary of the start of the Korean War, June 25, Hope in Hungnam releases to international audiences. Hope in Hungnam is a historical fiction novel of the Korean War which tells the almost unknown story of the escape of 100,000 civilians from North Korea during the darkest days of the Korean War.

Of special focus is the stunning rescue of 14,000 refugees aboard a single cargo ship: the SS Meredith Victory, commanded by Philadelphia-native, Captain Leonard LaRue. All 14,000 refugees were taken safely to South Korea without loss of life. As a bonus, five babies were born enroute. The Meredith Victory and her crew still hold the Guinness World Record for the largest evacuation from land by a single ship.

As historical fiction, Hope in Hungnam tells the story of a US Marine desperately searching for meaning in war, the woman who saved him, the captain who saved them all, and the ship that did the impossible.

Hope in Hungnam is available in paperback and Kindle format on ( and by special order in bookstores.

Hope in Hungnam has received strong praise by the men who were there, including a refugee who escaped as a 14-year-old boy aboard the Meredith Victory: “I escaped North Korea with my father in 1950 on board the Meredith Victory. David Watts has written an intricate account of both the desperation and hope we felt in those bitter days in December 1950. Hope in Hungnam deals with love, hate, forgiveness, tolerance, service and sacrifice. The author writes as if he was actually there.”

Dong Hyuck Won, Refugee on the SS Meredith Victory in 1950

David Watts Jr. has previously written a collection of short stories. He lives outside Longview, TX with his wife, three children, three dogs and two cats.

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