Most Americans don’t know much about North Korea. History classes always included some interesting facts about the 1950s Korean War, but those classes didn’t describe the atrocities that the people of North Korea have endured. But one woman is opening North Korea atrocities to the world, and it is a powerful story. Yeonmi Park’s new book, In Order To Live, tells of her incredible escape from the tyrants that control North Korea, and the unbelievable conditions and experiences she had to endure while she was a child growing in that country. North Korea has been challenging the Western world for years, and Park shows just how the people of North Korea were living while those challenges are taking place. Make no mistake, what Yeonmi describes in the book is still going on in North Korea. That country is one of biggest violators of human rights in the world, and Park’s book details the misery that the government of North Korea abundantly bestows on its citizens. Thanks to a pirated copy of the movie Titanic, Yeonmi saw how most of the rest of the worlds lives, and she took steps to change her situation. Yeonmi Park’s story is almost too surreal to be true, but it is. With the help of her parents and sister, Yeonmi decided to escape from North Korea, but the escape plan wasn’t easy. Park and her mother were smuggled out of North Korea by human traffickers. The only way escape route was through the Gobi Desert. Her ticket out of North Korea was expensive in terms of the physical and psychological abuse she had to take. Park writes in the book that she had to convince herself that many of things that were done to her didn’t happen, in order to maintain some sense of sanity. The other incredible part of the story of her journey was trying to find her sister. Her sister left for China a few days before Park and her mother did and they lost contact with her. Park’s father stayed behind, and she knew that was a death sentence for him, but he insisted, so Park and her mother left her father in North Korea. It took Yeonmi and her mother two years to cross the border into South Korea from China. When they finally reached freedom, her father was dead, and her sister was still missing. Today, Yeonmi Park is a human right’s activist and travels around the world telling her story so others might live in freedom. The road to freedom was a long, dangerous and painful road for Yeonmi and her mother, but with conviction and a strong will to live they changed their lives. Park hopes her story will put an end to the torture in North Korea and other parts of the world.

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