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In Order to Live A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

In Order to Live A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom

Biography / Autobiography   The Real World   eBook Favourites   
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Europe is currently dealing with an unprecedented flow of human beings escaping conflict, hunger and political injustice. In Asia there is another flow of refugees undertaking an even deadlier journey from North Korea via China and Mongolia to reach the South - and freedom. It's an unsparing account of her North Korean life, escape with her mother across the river to China only to be faced with assault and rape with a price on their head as valuable merchandise in a country with a shortage of marriagable women. This book is Yeonmi Parks's own story but it also shows us the personal suffering that refugees face and, especially for North Koreans, the education needed to cope with life on the other side of the divide. One of the many dreadful images the book left me is beleagured North Korean medics and teachers bribing their patients in order that they might eat, images far indeed from the golden dawn of the North Korean wonderland. ~ Sue Baker

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Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea, Barbara Demick
Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees, Caroline Moorehead


In Order to Live A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

'I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.' 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. This book is the story of Park's struggle to survive in the darkest, most repressive country on earth; her harrowing escape through China's underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and then her escape from China across the Gobi desert to Mongolia, with only the stars to guide her way, and from there to South Korea and at last to freedom; and finally her emergence as a leading human rights activist - all before her 21st birthday.


'Clear-eyed and devastating.' Observer

'One of the most harrowing stories I have ever heard - and one of the most inspiring ... A book to make you newly thankful for the freedom you have never been forced to fight for.' The Bookseller

'An eloquent, wrenchingly honest work that vividly represents the plight of many North Koreans.' Kirkus

About the Author

Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park is a North Korean defector and human rights activistwho escaped to China in 2007 and settled in South Korea in 2009. She came from an educated, politically connected family that turned to black market trading during North Korea's economic collapse in the 1990s. After her father was sent to a labor camp for smuggling, her family faced starvation. They fled to China, where Yeonmi and her mother fell into the hands of human traffickers before escaping to Mongolia. She now advocates for victims of trafficking and works to promote human rights in North Korea and around the globe.

Author photo © Beowulf Sheehan

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2016


Yeonmi Park

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Penguin Books Ltd


288 pages


Biography / Autobiography
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Human rights
True stories of heroism, endurance & survival



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