First They Killed My Father and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading First They Killed My Father on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers [School & Library Binding]

Loung Ung
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
School & Library Binding, January 2001 --  
Paperback CDN $14.43  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged CDN $22.67  

Book Description

January 2001 0613338960 978-0613338967

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official.She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents.When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung's family was forced to flee their home and hide their previous life of privilege.Eventually, they dispersed in order to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her other siblings were sent to labor camps.Only after the Vietnamese destroyed the Khmer Rouge were Loung and her surviving siblings slowly reunited.

Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother and sustained by her sister's gentle kindness amid brutality, Loung forged ahead to create a courageous new life.Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this family's story is truly unforgettable.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Written in the present tense, First They Killed My Father will put you right in the midst of the action--action you'll wish had never happened. It's a tough read, but definitely a worthwhile one, and the author's personality and strength shine through on every page. Covering the years from 1975 to 1979, the story moves from the deaths of multiple family members to the forced separation of the survivors, leading ultimately to the reuniting of much of the family, followed by marriages and immigrations. The brutality seems unending--beatings, starvation, attempted rape, mental cruelty--and yet the narrator (a young girl) never stops fighting for escape and survival. Sad and courageous, her life and the lives of her young siblings provide quite a powerful example of how war can so deeply affect children--especially a war in which they are trained to be an integral part of the armed forces. For anyone interested in Cambodia's recent history, this book shares a valuable personal view of events. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In 1975, Ung, now the national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, was the five-year-old child of a large, affluent family living in Phnom Penh, the cosmopolitan Cambodian capital. As extraordinarily well-educated Chinese-Cambodians, with the father a government agent, her family was in great danger when the Khmer Rouge took over the country and throughout Pol Pot's barbaric regime. Her parents' strength and her father's knowledge of Khmer Rouge ideology enabled the family to survive together for a while, posing as illiterate peasants, moving first between villages, and then from one work camp to another. The father was honest with the children, explaining dangers and how to avoid them, and this, along with clear sight, intelligence and the pragmatism of a young child, helped Ung to survive the war. Her restrained, unsentimental account of the four years she spent surviving the regime before escaping with a brother to Thailand and eventually the United States is astonishing--not just because of the tragedies, but also because of the immense love for her family that Ung holds onto, no matter how she is brutalized. She describes the physical devastation she is surrounded by but always returns to her memories and hopes for those she loves. Her joyful memories of life in Phnom Penh are close even as she is being trained as a child soldier, and as, one after another, both parents and two of her six siblings are murdered in the camps. Skillfully constructed, this account also stands as an eyewitness history of the period, because as a child Ung was so aware of her surroundings, and because as an adult writer she adds details to clarify the family's moves and separations. Twenty-five years after the rise of the Khmer Rouge, this powerful account is a triumph. 8 pages b&w photos.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
Phnom Penh city wakes early to take advantage of the cool morning breeze before the sun breaks through the haze and invades the country with sweltering heat. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The story initiates with Loung Ung's memories of her semi-privileged childhood in Phnom phen. She goes on to describe the forced evacuation of the city by the Khmer Rouge and the subsequent placement of her family in an agricultural commune. The story is dominated by tales of starvation and death, but the reader is granted a reprieve when, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Loung immigrates to the US as a refugee.
The numbers are something like 2,000,000 million dead or 1/5th of the Cambodian population.......too much for the brain to comprehend. We want to believe that genocide and mass tragedy in far away lands happen to a people that are used to hardship and therefore feel less pain. Loung's book rips away the false sense of comfort and exposes the horror we desperately want not to believe.
Loung's way is perhaps the best way to relate this story. A child does not know politics or history. It only knows that mommy was here and now she is dead. Death is death, hunger is hunger and the reasons matter little to a 5 year old girl. Loung does not tell the reader why she is starving or why her father is killed, becuase as a child she has no idea.
Pol Pot died a free man in China a few years ago. What did he think of the consequences of his failed political experiment? We may never know and this book does not have the answer. It is a tale of a tragedy through the eyes of innocence.
I highly recommend this book to adults and children. For children I also recommend 'The Road From Home' by David Kherdian....a tale of the Armenian genocide.
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be a required read... June 24 2011
I first read this book many years ago. It left such an imprint I have told many people about it over the years. I bought the book and lent it out. Now I have purchased it once again to lend out as it is not a book easily found. I truly believe our schools should have this as a required read. I don't believe our children know enough about how horrible life was under the Khmer Rouge. This is an amazing story of resiliency!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Captivating May 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once you start reading you're unable to put it down. It illustrates the strength of the human spirit and it's capacity to preservere under the most brutal conditions. Loung Ung is an amazing person.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite book May 3 2004
By A Customer
This is an absolutely wonderful book. I wish that I hadn't read it yet so I could go back and read it again for the first time. It is a haunting recount of the transition of Cambodia's government by Pol Pot and the Khmer rouge and an amazing story of the people who were able to survive it. Fantastic writing that keeps you glued to every page. THis book really makes you realize the lack our hardship in your own life.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars First They Killed My Father Feb. 8 2004
By A Customer
This book written by Loung Ung is one of the most facinating books I've ever read. It made me feel ignorant not knowing about any of this happening just 30 years ago. This is a must read book. If you are interested in what Hitler did to the Jews then this might interest you as well.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read this book Jan. 3 2004
This book is a must read for anyone. Period. If you are even considering this book, I urge you to read it. It will change you. It's not easy to stomach, but you will not be able to put it down. You race through it hoping that the next page or the next chapter will bring you some relief from the nightmare that these characters live in, but you get none and you realize how infinitely small your discomfort is relative to the hell that milions of people lived through (or died in) during that time in Cambodia. And throughout, you can not believe the strength of these people and their ability to survive. You will feel the absolute strength of the love of this family and you will think at times that it is almost powerful enough to change their fates. You are rooting for them every step of the way and hoping for a different outcome than the one whose first step is stated in the title.
It is an absolutely essential read.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read Sept. 3 2003
By A Customer
Long Ung's book stays with you long after you put it down. The horror of the events that transpire are surpassed only by the realization that her story was an example of not just ones suffering but millions during this time, and throughout history. This book is very much worth reading.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars READ IT Aug. 5 2003
I am so sad to read this but its something that needs to be read. this is another one that should be required reading in high school.
I am not a writer so just take it that I cant do this one justice, and read it.
you will not be able to put it down.
its the story of a little girl in cambodia during a horrific time...
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?

Look for similar items by category