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Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors [Paperback]

Dith Pran , Kim DePaul
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 1999 Southeast Asia Studies
A collection of eyewitness accounts by Cambodian survivors of Pol Pot's genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Each witness was a child at the time of Cambodia's holocaust, and each tells of families torn apart, struggles to survive, and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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From Amazon

Dith Pran, the Cambodian photojournalist portrayed by Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields, compiled this collection of eyewitness accounts to the genocide perpetrated by Pol Pot's regime from 1975 to 1979. All of the survivors who recount their stories here were children when the Khmer Rouge took power, and the horrific images from a time when an estimated third of the Cambodian population died of disease, starvation, and execution remain fixed in their minds to this day.

The bleakness of evil made commonplace permeates these testaments. "There was a man who was friends with a woman, and they had a friendly chat under a tree," one woman writes. "Pol Pot saw them and accused them of having an affair... Pol Pot tied them up on a cross and then told everyone to watch the couple being questioned and hit. The lady was pregnant and was hit until she lost the baby and died. The man was also beaten to death." As Cambodians struggle to rebuild their lives and nation, books such as this make sure that they--and we--will never forget the depths from which they have been forced to rise. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this collection of 29 reminiscences by Cambodian refugees and assembled by a photojournalist for the New York Times, the brutality of the Khmer Rouge supports the theme that the forces of holocaust have emerged as a dominant aspect of civilization. The authors were children ranging from ages five through 17 during Cambodia's dominance by the Communist Khmer Rouge. Most of them came from middle-class urban families and suffered a series of horrifying experiences until the invasion by the Vietnamese and their subsequent escape through Thailand to the United States. Their stories coalesce into a common account of being driven from their home, often witnessing the murders of their family, and enduring disease, starvation, and beatings. In the main, their writings are simple, straightforward narratives. Despite the absence of historical or sociological method, the work bears a sense of painful credibility. Recommended for public libraries?John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
Twenty-nine essays compiled by Dith Pran, each written by a Cambodian who was still in childhood when Cambodia fell into Pol Pot's hands. Ben Kiernan ties the collection together so well in his introduction: "Children had to work like adults. Adults, given instructions like children, were treated like animals." As Kiernan notes, Pol Pot's efforts to build his twisted revolution on the backs of these children certainly backfired! The accompanying photos of the contributing authors and the details of their successful new lives in America will make any American recognize what a 'promised land' our country still remains. In so many many ways America has failed the Cambodian people, but most of those fortunate few who reached our shores have made successful lives for themselves and their families. The difficulties confronting those who remain in Cambodia today are seemingly insurmountable. As has been said so many times, every Cambodian has a story to tell, and a river of ink could not describe their nation's suffering. Dith Pran has once again served his people proudly with this touching collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sad story. Jan. 13 2002
Format:Paperback
These are the collected accounts of children who suffered untold atrocities under the Pol Pot regime such as torture, rape, starvation, beating, and killing. People were buried alive or thrown into a pot and cooked like fish or poultry. Others had their gallbladders and liver removed to serve as meals for the Khmer Rouge.
This is the story of a revolution going haywire and of ruthless men who, in the name of distorted and senseless ideologies, inflicted pain, fear, terror, and death on their countrymen.
Power not backed by strong moral values could only lead to barbarism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stories of the soul Jan. 18 2003
Format:Paperback
I read a lot of books Cambodia. This is yet another collection of stories about people who survived the holocaust. My heart is always touched by such stories. These types of books are always similar even though the stories are specific to individuals there are common themes. If you are interested in more personal accounts there are 2 others which I would recommend. "When Broken Glass Floats," and "First They Killed My Father."
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3.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive but must be told Nov. 13 2001
Format:Paperback
The book is full of tragic stories that must be told, but is quite repetitive, and one feels that many of the stories are written with rather alot of assistance and therefore lose the genuine feeling and the language they were told in. The reader should remember that each person has a unique story, and that these are not necessarily representative of the stories of Cambodians or even Cambodian Americans as a whole.
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