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Publisher's Summary

Yeonmi Park was not dreaming of freedom when she escaped from North Korea. She didn't even know what it meant to be free. All she knew was that she was running for her life, that if she and her family stayed behind they would die - from starvation, or disease, or even execution.
In Order to Live is the story of Park's struggle to survive in the darkest, most repressive country on earth; her harrowing escape to South Korea through China's underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and her emergence as a leading human rights activist - all before her 21st birthday.
Park was born to a family of civil servants in the North Korean city of Hyesan, along the Chinese border. She grew up in a society in which the regime controls everything you do, everything you learn, where you go, what you say, even what you think. In this warped world, famine was a way of life and minor offenses, such as watching foreign videos, could prove fatal.
Park's family was relatively privileged until her father, a party member, was arrested for smuggling. After that, life in North Korea became a ceaseless battle against starvation. Escaping with her mother, Park began a long journey of unspeakable hardship and degradation through China and Mongolia, which finally yielded her freedom in South Korea. Today, Park is an influential leader of the younger generations of Korean dissidents and an internationally recognized advocate for human rights around the world.
In the end, In Order to Live is about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love to overcome the most ghastly horrors and the most hopeless circumstances. "I had to learn how to love others," says Yeonmi Park. "And now I am willing to die for them."
©2015 Yeonmi Park (P)2015 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Janis Creason on 09-05-16

Moving, insightful, inspiring

I avoided listening to Ms. Parks story for several months because I was concerned it would be too sad and depressing. While it is sad, it is more inspirational and a great gift to the reader. Facing what she and her family did, anyone should be motivated to tackle any and all obstacles in their lives with determined resolve. The book is tastefully written. It seemed like the narration would be annoying at first, but I came to love the narrators voice by the end of the first chapter. EXCELLENT!!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A. Munday on 10-17-15

Outstanding

Incredible story. I wish Americans cherished freedom and liberty as much as Ms Parks and guarded against their erosion by governments.

I'm left feeling helpless regarding the people of N Korea. How can we help end this madness?

Well done Ms Parks!

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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