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1. Pol Pot : Anatomy of a Nightmare
$62.70 $57.00 list($95.00)
2. Angkor: Celestial Temples of the
$19.95 $15.60
3. Voices from S-21: Terror and History
$16.29 $1.14 list($23.95)
4. First They Killed My Father :
5. Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in
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6. When Broken Glass Floats: Growing
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7. Stay Alive, My Son
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8. How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism,
9. Cambodian Odyssey
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10. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power,
11. A History of Cambodia
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12. The Ends of the Earth : From Togo
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13. Killing Fields, Living Fields
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14. Children of Cambodia's Killing
15. The Rise and Demise of Democratic
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16. Brother Number One: A Political
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17. History, Buddhism, and New Religious
18. When the War Was over: The Voices
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$85.00 $84.12
20. Braving a New World

1. Pol Pot : Anatomy of a Nightmare (John MacRae Books)
by Philip Short
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0805066624
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 107326
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Book Description

A gripping and definitive portrait of the man who headed one of the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of modern times

In the three and a half years of Pol Pot's rule, more than a million Cambodians, a fifth of the country's population, were executed or died from hunger. An idealistic and reclusive figure, Pol Pot sought to instill in his people values of moral purity and self-abnegation through a revolution of radical egalitarianism. In the process his country descended into madness, becoming a concentration camp of the mind, a slave state in which obedience was enforced on the killing fields.

How did a utopian dream of shared prosperity mutate into one of the worst nightmares humanity has ever known? To understand this almost inconceivable mystery, Philip Short explores Pol Pot's life from his early years to his death. Short spent four years traveling throughout Cambodia interviewing the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge movement, many of whom have never spoken before, including Pol Pot's brother-in-law and the former Khmer Rouge head of state. He also sifted through the previously closed archives of China, Russia, Vietnam, and Cambodia itself to trace the fate of one man and the nation that he led into ruin.

This powerful biography reveals that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not a one-off aberration but instead grew out of a darkness of the soul common to all peoples. Cambodian history and culture combined with intervention from the United States and other nations to set the stage for a disaster whose horrors echo loudly in the troubling events of our world today.
... Read more

2. Angkor: Celestial Temples of the Khmer
by Jon Ortner, Ian W. Mabbett, James Goodman, Ian Mabbett, Eleanor Mannikka, John Sanday
list price: $95.00
our price: $62.70
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Asin: 0789207184
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Sales Rank: 44846
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An exquisitely illustrated history and exploration of Angkor, the world's most astonishing architectural treasure.

Built between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries by a succession of twelve Khmer kings, Angkor spreads over 120 square miles in Southeast Asia and includes scores of major architectural sites. In 802, when construction began on Angkor Wat, with wealth from rice and trade, Jayavarman ll took the throne, initiating an unparalleled period of artistic and architectural achievement, exemplified in the fabled ruins of Angkor, center of the ancient empire. Among the amazing pyramid and mandala shaped shrines preserved in the jungles of Cambodia, is Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple, an extraordinarily complex structure filled with iconographic detail and religious symbolism. Perhaps because of the decline of agricultural productivity and the expansion of the Thai Empire, Angkor was abandoned in the fifteenth century and left to the ravages of time. Today, many countries continue efforts to conserve and restore the temples, which have been inaccessible until recently. Now that the civil war has ended, Angkor is being reborn and is an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Undaunted by the difficulties of traveling through Cambodia and eastern Thailand, Jon Ortner, accompanied by his wife Martha, has photographed fifty of the most important and unique monuments of the Khmer Empire. His images include spectacular views from the rooftops of its temples, glorious landscapes, and details of inscriptions and art that few have ever seen.

The text by a team of distinguished experts provides historical, architectural, and religious analyses of Angkor and the Khmer civilization. The Appendix offers a glossary, a chronology of construction, and a chart of the kings and their accomplishments. Black-and-white floor plans and historic watercolors complete this breathtaking tribute.

Other details: 240 illustrations, 225 in full color ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Book on Angkor Temples
Through his magical photographic eye, Jon Ortner has created a wondrous collection of striking images and scholarly prose. His perfectly lit photographs and well-documented historic descriptions allow one to easily understand this complicated ancient subject. Each temple is clearly organized into relevant sections from the central Angkor area to the rare and never-before-seen temples in the outer lying areas. If you have visited Angkor - Ortner's book is the perfect addition to your library. Or, if you have not visited, this book provides the perfect impetus.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Angkor Book
The magnificent photography, the amazing text and the great printing make this THE book for anyone interested in the amazing history and culture of the Khmer.

Ortner's use of light, his incredible attention to detail and the great writing make this a must view and a must read.

Even if you never had an interest or knowledge of Angkor, this book will light a fire inside you.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. It will look great in your home and you will not regret this purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars I have Jon Ortner book
ANGKOR: Celestial Temples of the Khmer Empire,

This is an excellent book I ordered online about when I first came out about a year ago. You will not go wrong with this book. Every pages I leafed through is highly insprirational. The photographs are very breath-takingly welldone. I like the chapter on the Preah Vihear(PV) temple. Again, nicely illustrated and photographed on PV. There's also a section on Cambodian temples that are in Thailand and Laos.

Athough the book is large--oversize, but worth its weight in gold on your bookself !

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost as magnificent as seeing the ruins themselves
Having spent some time recently in Cambodia exploring the Angkor ruins, I looked forward to purchasing this new picture book by celebrated photographer Jon Ortner. I was not disappointed. The photographs literally come alive. The quality of the paper is extremely good; the colour reproduction and sharpness of the pictures are superb.

The author chose a broad selection of the ruins to be included in his coffee table size text. All the famous sites are included, as well as a number of the lesser known monuments. The essays written by experts in the field also added a lot of useful and interesting background information. Several maps also aid the reader in locating the ruins.

For those who have seen Angkor, this book is almost a must. I am certain the owner will refer to these awesome photographs time and time again to remind himself of the experience of viewing some of the most incredible architecture and art in the history of mankind.

5-0 out of 5 stars See it in person if you can.
Top quality photographs of one of the true wonders of the world in one of the few remaining truly exotic countries. The craftsmanship and presentation are top notch, but nothing short of making the trip in person is really satisfactory. Fortunately, the trip is relatively safe in these days when even domestic travel has its risks. ... Read more

3. Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison
by David Chandler
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 0520222474
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 232227
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The horrific torture and execution of hundreds of thousands ofCambodians by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge during the 1970s is one of the century'smajor human disasters. David Chandler, a world-renowned historian of Cambodia,examines the Khmer Rouge phenomenon by focusing on one of its key institutions,the secret prison outside Phnom Penh known by the code name "S-21." The facilitywas an interrogation center where more than 14,000 "enemies" were questioned,tortured, and made to confess to counterrevolutionary crimes. Fewer than a dozenprisoners left S-21 alive. During the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) era, the existence of S-21 was known onlyto those inside it and a few high-ranking Khmer Rouge officials. When invadingVietnamese troops discovered the prison in 1979, murdered bodies lay strewnabout and instruments of torture were still in place. An extensive archivecontaining photographs of victims, cadre notebooks, and DK publications was alsofound. Chandler utilizes evidence from the S-21 archive as well as materialsthat have surfaced elsewhere in Phnom Penh. He also interviews survivors of S-21and former workers from the prison. Documenting the violence and terror that took place within S-21 is only part ofChandler's story. Equally important is his attempt to understand what happenedthere in terms that might be useful to survivors, historians, and the rest ofus. Chandler discusses the "culture of obedience" and its attendantdehumanization, citing parallels between the Khmer Rouge executions and theMoscow Show Trails of the 1930s, Nazi genocide, Indonesian massacres in 1965-66,the Argentine military's use of torture in the 1970s, and the recent masskillings in Bosnia and Rwanda. In each of these instances, Chandler shows howturning victims into "others" in a manner that was systematically devaluing andracialist made it easier to mistreat and kill them. More than a chronicle ofKhmer Rouge barbarism, Voices from S-21 is also a judicious examination of thepsychological dimensions of state-sponsored terrorism that conditions humanbeings to commit acts of unspeakable brutality. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrified and terrifying
Prof. Chandler gives us a remarkably deep analysis of Pol Pot's secret prison S-21, which within the autogenocide of the Cambodian people stands out as a haunting symbol. It reflected the unlimited paranoia of Angkar and its schizophrenic regime that 'was at once terrified and terrifying, omnipotent and continually under threat'.
All family members (women, children and BABIES) of the condemned were slaughtered. Only 7 of the 14000 inmates survived.

As prof. Chandler remarks chillingly: 'a reign of terror and continuous revolution requires a continuous supply of enemies.'
There were no limits. As one of the interrogators rightly asked: 'If Angkar arrests everybody, who will be left to make a revolution?'

The same subject has been treated by Ben Kiernan in his book 'The Pol Pot regime'. But whereas Ben Kiernan sees racism as the main motive behind the murderous regime, prof. Chandler digs far deeper and concludes clinically that 'the real truth behind S-21 is to be found in ourselves'!
Indeed, the S-21 experience is not unique in the 20th century with its Nazi camps, communist show trials, Indonesian, Rwandan and Bosnian mass killings, Argentinean tortures ...
He remarks also that the Cambodian regime was an imported phenomenon. The Khmer leaders were all recruited and educated by the Stalinist French PC in the 1950s.

This nearly unbearable book should be read as a reminder that 'ordinary people can commit demonic acts' (R. F. Lifton).
David Chandler is not afraid to say 'how things really are' (L. Betzig).

A terrifying book about a terrifying experience.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
David Chandler has made extensive use of the archives of S-21, with photographs and "confessions" to show the absurd paranoia of the leaders in Democratic Kampuchea. An excellent book, with some aspects that put me off, though: blunt anticommunism, some assertions about Soviet, Chinese and Vietnamese leaders that are rather anecdotal than based on serious historic scholarship, and weird comparisons between the turturers at S-21 and psychoanalysts.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Psychology of Horror
David Chandler's "Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison" is a good book for a novice like me. Chandler starts by framing the book around the S-21 institution and its configuration. Chandler then dedicates and entire portion to the memoirs of the purges; the allegation santebal leveled at prisoners; and the various approaches of "politics" and "torture." The book concludes with short commentary of the "why" of S-21. Chandler's "Voices from S-21" is effectively a detailed history of the inner workings of the Khmer Rouge's secret police. Known as "santebal", and working out of a prison complex called S-21, the Khmer Rouge killed, tortured and interrogated "enemies" of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK). Due to the secretive nature of the Khmer Rouge, S-21 was "the place where people went in but never came out" (p. 7) - and this is an important issue to consider.

Between the years of 1975 and 1979, it is estimated that 14,000 prisoners (p. 36) entered S-21, but only four survived. The horrors of S-21 were uncovered during the liberation by the Vietnamese who found the prison's ghastly remains. Chandler used the S-21 record which were microfilmed by Cornell University in the early 1990s and synthesized the archive to produce this book. Because Chandler uses this technique the work is arguably incomplete, and it is my opinion, that in a lot of places it is largely speculative. Prisoner statements were extracted under torture, and other written records are tainted with party ideology or just laziness on the part of the recorders. Chandler, to his credit is writes that as Aristotle pointed out "more than two thousand years ago, confessions that flow from torture often bear little relation to the truth." (p. 128) Moreover, I admire Chandler for his creative use in including noted French philosopher Michel Foucault in his analysis but I am doubtful of both his interpretation and use of the same. On page 134, Chandler tries to fuse Foucault's notion of the "vengeance of the sovereign" into an almost Nazi like aura by describing the efficiency of the Khmer Rouge. Chandler pointed out earlier that the need for secrecy was an issue (p.17) but Foucault's notion of the "vengeance of the sovereign" is one of public display and notice - forming a contradiction to Chandler's initial observation/conclusion. Several notable issues regarding the book come to mind regarding his methodology. Chandler's creative use of Kundera/Kafka and the "establishment of guilt" is a very effective metaphor. Mind you, I am no expert in Cambodian history or the Khmer Rouge but when Chandler juxtaposes Kafka with S-21, you get the sense that one is guilty because he/she is arrested and not arrested because he/she is guilty much like Joseph K in "The Trial." Another issue that came home for me was the notion that after a while everyone was under suspicion. Folks like Son Sen who was trusted to watch over the "Eastern Zone" was later on suspected of treason. If it were not for the Vietnamese, he too may have ended up in S-21. (p.74-75) Lastly, is you have visited the work camp in Terezin in the Czech Republic, you will get a sense that most people who are incarcerated like this die less from torture but more from the atrocious conditions. Mind you, I am neither playing down the tortures, simply stating that the camp conditions were part of the horror as Chandler is good enough to point out.

Probably the most informative portion of the book is the detail relating to the "interrogations." What amazes me is that Chandler, despite his extensive bibliography fails to refer to Franz Fanon. Fanon's studies regarding the gendarme in Algeria could have shed light into many of Chandler's questions. Chandler adeptly coaxes his sources to illustrate the hopes and frustrations of prisoners and their interrogators. It can be argued that the most problematic portion of "Voices from S-21" is the concluding chapter. Here Chandler tries to set the horrors of S-21 in the milieu of other butchery of events like the Holocaust. Chandler brings up the Zimbardo and Milgram experiments (p. 147-148), but to make analogy with the Holocaust without referring back to it is impossible to do. Anyone who visits Toul Sleng museum will undoubtedly be moved by the degree and scale of atrocities committed in this secret torture center during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. I recommend this book highly but it needs to be framed better for the reader by looking for something that sets the tone regarding Cambodia, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. For the background, it might be wise to start with Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot (1992) (also available on but for a psychology of horror - this book is second to none.

Miguel Llora

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected from the title
The title "Voices from S-21" suggests that Chandler's book will contain interviews/narrative from the prisoners held at the infamous Cambodian santebal. There is very little in the book detailing any one individual's personal experience (understandably, since only a handful survived). The book is extremely well-researched (45 of the total pages are footnotes) and I found it a dry read. Gets into theory of the prison's existence and why the interrogators carried out their orders with such detachment. However there is very little by way of firsthand accounts of what went on, if that's what you're expecting from the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent view of a lost chapter in 20th century history!
Chandler has done a magnificient job bringing the Khmer Rouge prison "S-21" into clear view.

During the reign of the Khmer Rouge S-21 was used as the prison, interrogation center, and finally, the place of execution for several thousand Cambodians who were suspected of counter revolutionary activity.

Chandler shows that the mania of the Khmer Rouge leadership could not differentiate between the truth and made up stories under torture. One example of this gross misconception of reality within in the minds of the Khmer Rouge leadership is the fact that people were thrown into S-21 and executed on grounds of counter revolutionary activity simply because they had broken farming equipment, thereby tried to hinder the outcome of the 4 year plan for the agricultural sector!

Chandler also manages to draw interesting parallells between the Nazi KZs and Stalin's terror in the 1930's, and the Chinese cultural revolution in the 60's. He shows that some ingredients of terror are always there, no matter if it happens in Treblinka, Moscow, the country side of China, or in the killing fields of Cambodia.

Chandler's book is more than just a story of an awful prison in Cambodia. It is about the mechanisms that make some humans commit unspeakable acts(apparently by their own free will) against their fellow human beings, simply because of a belief in a political ideology!

A must read for people interested in the thoughts and methods behind the slaughter of millions of people in communist and faschist countries in the 20th century! ... Read more

4. First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
by Loung Ung
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0060193328
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 324135
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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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 ... Read more

Reviews (110)

4-0 out of 5 stars First They Killed My Father
Book Review

"First They Killed My Father: A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers" by Ms. Loung Ung. January 2000. HarperCollins Publishers, 256 pages.

Reviewed by Ronnie Yimsut Special to the Asian Reporter

Do you remember when you were just a child? What kind a childhood did you have? Do you still remember what kind of dream you have? What was it like for you when you were growing up?

These are some of the questions one should ponder before he or she is about to read a recently published book by Ms. Loung Ung. For Loung, a genocide survivor, her answer to these questions might have been simply as, "I never really have a childhood, with the exception of the brief happy moment I have with my family." Loung's childhood, like that of many other children in Cambodia-including this reviewer, was taken away completely by war and the Khmer Rouge's Killing Fields regime. Only loneliness, suffering, extreme hunger (starvation), and sadness seemed to accompany Loung's early childhood in Cambodia.

Forced to live and work as slave labors in a virtual "prison without a wall," Loung and her family endured every basic human rights abuse by a genocidal regime, following a long and agonizing forced march across Cambodia. Overworked, sickness, and starvation soon followed as her constant companions. One by one, her family members were dying. Her family unity was slowly and agonizingly breaking up piece-by-piece by the so called, "Angkar," the Khmer Rouge secretive or phantom organization. An older sister was the first to die of illness, as a direct result of overwork and starvation, in a primitive Communist hospital. Her father, a former government official, was the first to be taken away and subsequently executed. Her mother and the youngest sister survived long enough to endure more torture before the Khmer Rouge young and eager executioners also killed them. No one immune from the mass killing by the Khmer Rouge, including some of the loyal Khmer Rouge cadres and soldiers themselves.

Orphaned by age eight years old, young Loung managed to overcome the Khmer Rouge brain washing sessions and training to be a child soldier. They trained her to be just another obedient killer for Angkar, like so many others before her. But they failed miserably. She survived only by her wit and her own family members' love for one another, and the numerous sacrifices that were made. It was the formula needed to fence against a genocidal regime bent on destroying family unity and a civil society. Loung refused to give up. In the end, Loung strong will have triumphant against all odds.

Loung's memoir represents the story of countless other children in Cambodia who did not survive to tell of their fate, of their immense suffering before their untimely death. In telling her own story, Loung is in fact telling many other untold stories of the suffering and death of her fellow children in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge reign of terrors. She is the voice for many others who are no longer have a voice. As Loung often said, "By telling my own story of suffering to others who would listen, I am worthy of being alive."

Thank you for your courage and determination, Loung!

5-0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving story of courage and survival
In the beginning pages of "First They Killed My Father", the book is dedicated in memory of the two million people that were killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The vastness of that number is hard to understand and comprehend, but by writing her book Loung Ung helps us to understand. By telling her story she speaks not only for herself; but for all of those other voices that will never again be heard. The story that she tells is especially heartbreaking, because it is a story of horror and brutality seen through the eyes of a child. Loung Ung was only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975. Loung and her family; along with hundreds of thousands of other families from the capital city of Phnom Penh; were forced to leave their homes and to flee into the countryside. They witnessed the deliberate destruction of an entire society by the Khmer Rouge. Day to day life in Cambodia became a living nightmare. I felt a very deep sense of grief and sadness reading about the death of so many of the Cambodian people; and of the terrible suffering endured by Loung and her family. But beyond those feelings of sadness, there is much more within this book. There are many poignant moments in the book, that reaffirm the ultimate value of every human life. As you read Loung's story, every member of her family will be vividly brought to life before your eyes. The love, sacrifice, courage and kindness of Loung's family helped to give her the strength to survive. Loung's courageous heart has helped others to live too. This is a book that was written from the heart, and it is a story that you will always remember.

5-0 out of 5 stars My new favorite book
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.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Reading
Forget Britney....And do you tend to complain of your life's miseries because you are not Britney? This is the kind of literature that makes you a different person, if you read it. You won't be the same, I promise. You'd appreciate the simplest of things in life...a drop of water, a grain of rice, a grain of sugar...and love and support from the family. It should be on a reading list for every students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moved me so much on the human spirit
As I'm now travelling in the Southeast Asia I would want to read some books about this area. I found Ms Luong Ung's book in a bookstore in Nha Trang of Vietnam (original copy!). Once I started to read it I had to stop for some time to get some fresh air before I could finish it. The book was so greatly written but the story was so horrible, it's impossible to be unmoved by the knowledge that this is not a fiction but a real life story that happened at the time of my generation. I felt the sorrow when Ms Luong's father, and later her mother, were taken away by the Khmer Rough, I felt the happiness when she finally started a new life in America. I was born in Aug 1977 and it's somehow quite difficult to imagine that when I was well brought up in a peaceful place (in Hong Kong), then a girl and other children of my generation living very near to me would force to serve for the children army and suffer from great miseries and unspeakable carnage. This book definitely tells us how lucky we are, how precious a life can be, and how one politician's stupid idea would ruin so many lives and families. Thanks Ms Loung for writing such a great book to share her experience with all of us, it must have taken you great courage to tell us your story, which moved me so much on the human spirit. ... Read more

5. Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide (California Series in Public Anthropology, 11)
by Alexander Laban Hinton, Robert Jay Lifton
list price: $21.95
our price: $21.95
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Asin: 0520241797
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 443688
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Book Description

Of all the horrors human beings perpetrate, genocide stands near the top of the list. Its toll is staggering: well over 100 million dead worldwide. Why Did They Kill? is one of the first anthropological attempts to analyze the origins of genocide. In it, Alexander Hinton focuses on the devastation that took place in Cambodia from April 1975 to January 1979 under the Khmer Rouge in order to explore why mass murder happens and what motivates perpetrators to kill. Basing his analysis on years of investigative work in Cambodia, Hinton finds parallels between the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi regimes. Policies in Cambodia resulted in the deaths of over 1.7 million of that country's 8 million inhabitants-almost a quarter of the population--who perished from starvation, overwork, illness, malnutrition, and execution. Hinton considers this violence in light of a number of dynamics, including the ways in which difference is manufactured, how identity and meaning are constructed, and how emotionally resonant forms of cultural knowledge are incorporated into genocidal ideologies. Illustrations: 1 line illustration, 2 maps ... Read more

6. When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge
by Chanrithy Him
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393048632
Catlog: Book (2000-04)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 280034
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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"Chea, how come good doesn't win over evil?" young Chanrithy Him asks her sister, after the brutal Khmer Rouge have seized power in Cambodia, but before hunger makes them too weak for philosophy. Chea answers only with a proverb: When good and evil are thrown together into the river of life, first the klok or squash (representing good) will sink, and the armbaeg or broken glass (representing evil) will float. But the broken glass, Chea assures her, never floats for long: "When good appears to lose, it is an opportunity for one to be patient, and become like God."

Before this proverb could come true, Chanrithy had to watch her mother, father, and five of her brothers and sisters die, murdered by the Khmer Rouge or fatally weakened by malnutrition, disease, and overwork. Now living in Oregon, where she studies posttraumatic stress disorder among Cambodian survivors, Chanrithy has written a first-person account of the killing fields that's remarkable for both its unflinching honesty and its refusal to despair. In wrenchingly immediate prose, she describes atrocities the rest of the world might prefer to ignore: her sick yet still breathing mother, thrown along with corpses into a well; a pregnant woman beaten to death with a spade, the baby struggling inside her; a sister impossibly swollen with edema, her starving body leaking fluid from the webbing between her toes.

The mind retreats from horrors like these--and yet what emerges most strongly from this memoir is the triumph of life. Chanrithy is determined to honor her pledge to the dying Chea, to study medicine so she can help others live. When Broken Glass Floats accomplishes the same goal in a different way. "As a survivor, I want to be worthy of the suffering that I endured," Chanrithy writes; by giving such eloquent voice to her dead, she has proven herself more than worthy of her suffering--and theirs. --Chloe Byrne ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping, sad, will make you appreciate life...
Through my readings of books dealing with the barbarism of the human soul I have gained a profound appreciation for the subtleties of life. This work brings that understanding another giant leap forward.

The plight of Chanrithy Him through the relentless suffering of the Khmer Rouge is no less than heart sickening. You will discover a profound sense of respect for her and the victims and survivors of the infamous Pol Pot regime.

This book has a similar approach to another - "First They Killed My Father" - by Loung Ung. Both books command you to continue reading. I could not put them down.

All in all, a superb work on a less than superb topic - required reading for anyone interested in Asian culture, human suffering, and in a surprising way - human survival.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Tragedy, There Is Hope
When she hears the news of the death of yet another family member, young Chanrithy writes, "Death is a constant, and we've become numb to the shock of it. People die here and there, all around us, falling like flies that have been sprayed with poison." Such was life under the Khmer Rouge. Chanrithy Him was only four years old when war came to Cambodia, first in the form of troops fleeing from neighboring Vietnam, and then the more deadly Khmer Rouge. Educated professionals were summarily executed, entire cities were evacuated under threat of death, and children such as Chanrithy were forced to work in inhumane conditions. An entire culture was virtually destroyed, but Him still manages to maintain an amazing degree of innocence and positivity. This is a powerful book about a tragic period in world history.

4-0 out of 5 stars good story
gives me a clearer picture than any history book ever will. im sure i'll remember it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood Impressions of the Khmer Rouge
It would be impossible for me to give this book less than a perfect rating because it is a first hand account of how a child sees the Khmer Rouge. That being said, that is all it is and if the reader is looking for more than it may fall short of your expectations.

I think this book could be improved if the author had included historical data and information about what was going on in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge at the time that she is recalling. That would have been very helpful for me, because there is still much I feel I need to learn about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian politics that I was not able to get from this novel.

However, the firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a helpless child in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are extraordinarily moving and I would definitely recommend reading this book. It is important to understand what living in these conditions were like and this novel holds implications for all children that are exposed to national atrocities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood impressions of the Khmer Rouge
It would be impossible for me to give this book less than a perfect rating because it is a first hand account of how a child sees the Khmer Rouge. That being said, that is all it is and if the reader is looking for more than it may fall short of your expectations.

I think this book could be improved if the author had included historical data and information about what was going on in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge at the time that she is recalling. That would have been very helpful for me, because there is still much I feel I need to learn about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian politics that I was not able to get from this novel.

However, the firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a helpless child in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are extraordinarily moving and I would definitely recommend reading this book. It is important to understand what living in these conditions were like and this novel holds implications for all children that are exposed to national atrocities. ... Read more

7. Stay Alive, My Son
by Pin Yathay
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
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Asin: 0671663941
Catlog: Book (1988-10-15)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 344485
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Murderous utopia
Pin Yathay's biography is a unique dramatic and shocking report on the Red Khmer regime in the 1970s in Cambodia.
It contains an excellent first-hand account of the disorderly evacuation of Phnom Penh after the Red Khmer victory in the civil war. After the evacuation, the whole country was turned into an experiment of totalitarian economy (no money, no private property, spying on everybody). The main ideological aim was equality at any cost, not freedom, except naturally for the members of Angkar (the Organization) themselves.
The whole system resulted in murderous labour camps with hundreds of thousands of deaths from hunger, exhaustion, torture and summary executions of 'enemies' of the system. A terrible shame for humanity and for the ideologically pure left.

The escape to Thailand reads like a nail-biting but bitter thriller. It was a real and, for some family members, deadly escape, not fiction.

Apart from its uncontested historical value, this book should be read as a warning against the madness of pure ideologists, who, once in power, accept without the slightest remorse millions of human casualties in order to implement their maniacal policies.

For a more political (national and international), economical and social analysis of the Cambodian history and the Red Khmer regime, I recommend the works of David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan, as well as William Shawcross's 'Sideshow'.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book Of Rare Quality
This tragic biography traces the story of an educated man and his family in Phnom Penh. Subjected to the indescribable barbaric cruelty that the Khmer Rouge inflicted on its own countrymen, the writer provides the reader with their sense of hopelessness that gripped their nation less than 30 years ago. His hardship and ultimate triumph is the very definition of human survival and the will to survive. Anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of the plight of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Roughe MUST read this book. I can guarantee that when you finish reading this book you will undoubtedly take a moment to think about humanity itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars very very very moving!!!!
this book should really help all of us appreciate our lives. It is amazing what he and his family went through! I could not put this book down! BY the way, does anyone have any recent info on the author? It would be interesting to see what he is up to now, and how his life is going, and if he ever contacted his son Naweth, or obtained any information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary
I am rarely moved to tears when reading a book, yet Pin Kathy's recounting of his horrendous experiences and ultimate survival is an exception. The agony of his having to abandon his son and losing his wife in the forest while trying to escape from Cambodia are the worst of numerous agonizing events. The book is a very personal account of one man and the destruction of his family however, Pin Yathay's narration also achieves his primary goal of allowing the reader to understand what life or more often death was like for all under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge rule. This reign of terror is an extreme example of what happens when a nation's political structure so weakens that unbridled ignorance destroys all enlightenment. It is also a warning that progress can never be taken for granted. Few who read this book will ever forget it.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable story of human courage
Pin Yathay has so much to be angry about, yet his account of his suffering, and those of his family,during the years the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, is a true testimony to his undeniable courage. No bitterness or fury emanates from these pages; rather we are made aware of the incredible spirit of this man. A man who has lost everything and everyone he cared about, and who determined that through his survival,they would all live once more. Be glad he lived to tell his story. You will so much more appreciate your own. ... Read more

8. How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930 - 1975
by Ben Kiernan
list price: $22.50
our price: $22.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300102623
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 319520
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How did Pol Pot, a tyrant comparable to Hitler and Stalin in his brutality and contempt for human life, rise to power? This authoritative book explores what happened in Cambodia from 1930 to 1975, tracing the origins and trajectory of the Cambodian Communist movement and setting the ascension of Pol Pot’s genocidal regime in the context of the conflict between colonialism and nationalism. A new preface bring this edition up to date.

Praise for the first edition:

“Given the highly secretive nature of Pol Pot’s activities, the precise circumstances and manoeuvres that propelled him to the top of the heap will perhaps never be known. But Kiernan has come impressively close to it. . . . And he has presented it in a wide perspective, drawing interesting comparisons with communist movements in Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and India. . . . Incisive.”—T. J. S.George, Asiaweek, “Editor’s Pick of the Month”

“A rich, gruesome and compelling tale. . . fascinating, well-researched and measured. . . a model of judgement and scholarship.”—Fred Halliday, New Statesman

“[Kiernan’s] capacity for dogged research on three continents, and his mastery of every ideological nuance. . . [are] awe-inspiring.”—Dervla Murphy, Irish Times

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensible
This is THE book on the history of Cambodia in that era and the Khmer Rouge. There are very few Western scholars who know the Khmer language and are therefore able to do serious research. Ben Kiernan is one of those few. His book is well documented, an excellent introduction with many suggestions for further reading. ... Read more

9. Cambodian Odyssey
by Haing Ngor
list price: $13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446389900
Catlog: Book (1989-04-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 152201
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Take heed, your problems are not so great.
Haing S.Ngor truly led a charmed life. To have survived such harrowing brutality year after year is a testament to the man's grace. He was roasted over an open fire. He survived many tortures and untold hardships. Dith Pran, the man he portrayed in THE KILLING FIELDS, had a cakewalk by comparison. That film should have had as its center Dr.Ngor's exploits, as his horrific journey was ten times more intense. If you like to read true life stories of those who've really suffered, then this book is an excellent starter. What a tragedy to have survived Cambodia's terror...only to be murdered in Los Angeles!

5-0 out of 5 stars A man of extraordinary courage
This is an outstanding portrait of a man who survived the barbaric reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Anyone who has seen the movie "The Killing Fields" has a cursory understanding of the Khmer Rouge and their attempt to transform Cambodian society during their control of the country from 1975 to 1979. However, this film omitted most of the astounding atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge as anyone who has visited Tuol Sleng S-21 in Phnom Penh (as I have) can tell you. In this book Dr. Ngor relates his horrifying experiences of life under the Khmer Rouge in detail and in the process educates the reader as to just how horrible an existence it really was.

This book is remarkable because of the detail related by Dr. Ngor and the personal nature of its content. Many Cambodians to this day will not talk about his period in their lives. For many, the mental and physical abuse they suffered during this period was too painful to re-live ever again. As I read this book, I could not help but wonder how Dr. Ngor was able to keep himself together.

Dr. Ngor effectively puts the period of Khmer Rouge rule in historical context by explaining the historical events and forces which led to their capture of the country. These events and forces included the People's Republic of China, North Vietnam, the Vietnam War, the United States, and of course, the C.I.A.

I admire Dr. Ngor for his extraordinary courage, and I regret that I did not have the opportunity to meet him during his lifetime. May he rest in peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Haing Ngor Review
What a great story of determination and power. The irony of it all was, that, after all the suffering he went through, he died because of someone trying to steal his watch.

The Khmer Rouge seemed to be illeterates governing a country, and the result wasn't good. I cannot believe they inflicted the pain they did on their very own race. In the 20th century, creating an equal society was UNREAL. The Khmer Rouge, some men, most of them teenagers with guns, did not realise this. Even more surprisingly, as strict as the Khmer Rouge were, the Khmer officials got as much food and commodities as they wanted, while they fed the rest of cambodia a watery rice.

The ending left me thinking, especially about his niece Sophia. Haing Ngor, had lost everything by then, but gained fame. Which really at the time, wasn't much to him. I recommend the reader to buy this book as not only is it interesting and very hard to put the book down once you start, but its historical accuracy and the amazing events described are unbelievable. Anyone over the age of 16 who reads this book will love it, and for a variety of reasons.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Harrowing Autobiography
Dr.Ngor appeared as an actor in THE KILLING FIELDS playing Dith Pran, a man who sufferred greatly at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Ngor's own true life story, though, was much more horrific. He was starved and tortured repeatedly during the dreadful Cambodian "Year Zero," while confined in a Khmer Rouge concentration camp. If you think that you have troubles, read this book and be humbled.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great source of knowledge of life
This book can make you see the reality of life. It is my handbook about life. Learn from it. Learn from Dr. Ngor. ... Read more

10. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79
by Ben Kiernan
list price: $22.50
our price: $15.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300096496
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 83264
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What was the nature of the regime that turned Cambodia into grisly killing fields and murdered or starved to death 1.7 million of the country's eight million inhabitants? In this riveting book, the first definitive account of the Khmer Rouge revolution, a world renowned authority on Cambodia shows how an ideological preoccupation with racist and totalitarian policies led a group of intellectuals to impose genocide on their own country. This edition includes a new preface recounting the fatal disintegration of the Khmer Rouge army, the death of Pol Pot, the United Nations' foray into the struggle to bring his surviving accomplices to justice, and the damning new evidence they could face. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spare them, no profit; remove them, no loss
Ben Kiernan's reports of eye-witnesses of the genocide by the inhuman Pol Pot regime is terribly shocking, to say the least. You need a strong stomach to read this relentless slaughtering of men, women, children and BABIES. It is quite frankly emotionally and humanly really depressing.
One gets cold in the back when one sees what pure totalitarian ideology and raving racism are capable of, when implemented by a party (or one man) which wields total power in a single country.

Ben Kiernan is right when he states that 'the two important themes in the history of the Pol Pot regime are the race question and the struggle for central power by the French-educated Pol Pot group'. All means (relentless infighting and killing) justified the end (take total power).
There is however a third theme: ideology. Total power allowed the implementation of pure ideological policies.

Pol Pot's regime was racist, e.g. the liquidation of the Cham people and the ethnic Chinese. This was real ethnic cleansing. But there was more. Ethnic Khmer who came from other countries were considered as enemies and were coldly liquidated.
It was also a totalitarian regime that turned the whole Cambodian country in a monstrous concentration camp. All communication between people was paralyzed: 'know nothing, hear nothing, say nothing'.
Criticizing the infallibility of the Angkar was a crime punishable by the death penalty. But inside Angkar nepotism was rampant.
The similarities with the Stalinist USSR regime are overwhelming.

Ben Kiernan stresses rightly the impact of the destabilizing US bombings of Cambodia (about 150000 civilian deaths). Part of the Khmer peasantry was alienated and turned to the Red Khmer.
More, the US supported the Pol Pot regime and, into the bargain, secretary of State Brzezinski tried to get international support for Pol Pot, because he was an enemy of Vietnam. Mind-boggling.

This book should be read as a reminder of the murderous sufferings inflicted on a largely innocent population by a totalitarian and blind ideology, IMPORTED FROM THE WEST.
This should hopefully never happen again. Although we know that, I agree on a lesser scale, some aspects of Pol Pot's dreadful regime are still raging in some parts of the world.
A depressing, but must read.
I also recommend David Chandler's excellent biography of Pol Pot 'Brother Number One'.

3-0 out of 5 stars Very academic
The three stars are awarded for the detailed content of the book- it's only good point. The style is very academic, lacking life and fails to captivate. Despite the book being named after him, Pol Pot is hardly mentioned in it's 465 pages. Furthermore the book isn't self contained- if you want to know how Pol Pot came to power, you'll have to read another of Kiernans books. Here he paints an incomplete picture, merely informing us of US governments prominent role (surprise, surprise..), whereby Nixon had 150,000 civilians killed in illegal bombings, which were capitalised on by the Khmer Rouge to get mass support. The book also basically ignores what happened after Pol Pots fall, thus leaving it seemingly incomplete. Also, you'll need to know about the Vietnam war and Mao's China, as Kiernan doesn't bother to briefly explain either, despite them being pivotal in this context.

What the book does excel at is it's main focus- the role of racism in Pol Pots exceedingly bizarre, deranged and horrific strain of communism, which consisted of an intense xenophobia, especially focused against other communist countries. Still, this doesn't make up for the stale writing style. Overall, this book is not for the casual reader, and is more suited to those who know a fair amount about Cambodia in this era.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful, even essential reading for Cambodia devotees.
A follow-on to the author's "How Pol Pot Came to Power". Provides numerous leads for any student of Cambodia to pursue in field research on the history of Modern Cambodia. Ben Kiernan reaches many sources not easily accessed by others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential and compelling
A brilliant indictment of Pol Pot and a highly readable account of the Killing Fields. The focus on ethnic cleansing provides a new way of understanding the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, untenable explanation of Khmer Rouge.
This much heralded history by the Australian historian Kiernan has turned out to be a big disappointment. Despite his access to enormous amounts of information, he shows no talent for organizing the material, nor being able to discern what is important from what is trivial. His prose style is extremely dull. And as many reviewers have pointed out (e.g. New York Review of Books, Washington Post) his explanation of the Khmer Rouge (misnamed the Pol Pot regime) as being primarily motivated by racism, doesn't hold water. The overwhelming majority of the Khmer Rouge victims -- some of whom included many of my relatives -- were from the ethnic Khmer majority, not from Cambodia's ethnic minorities. Kiernan, as a former supporter of Pol Pot (until 1978) who is now a supporter of the current Hun Sen regime in Cambodia, seems determined to protect what he considers the "good" idea of communism from the bad reputation of Pol Pot. As an Australian educated Cambodian, who has studied the history of communism, I find Kiernan's perspective quite bizarre, not to say morally repugnant. A far better written and more reliable account of the topic is Elizabeth Becker's When The War Was Over. The most reliable academic history is David Chandler's Tragedy of Cambodian History and the relevant sections of his briefer History of Cambodia. ... Read more

11. A History of Cambodia
by David Chandler
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813335116
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Westview Press
Sales Rank: 41606
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This clear and concise volume provides a timely overview of Cambodia, a small but increasingly visible Southeast Asian nation. Hailed by the Journal of Asian Studies as an "original contribution, superior to any other existing work," the third edition of this acclaimed text has been completely revised and updated to include all-new material examining the death of Pol Pot and the collapse of the Khmer Rouge. In addition, Chandler examines the unstable but influential career of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the bloody reign of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, and the relative calm that followed the Vietnamese invasion of 1979. This comprehensive general description and analysis of Cambodia will illuminate-for specialists and general readers alike-the history and contemporary politics of a country long misunderstood. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is what a history book ought to be
Chandler presents a rather complete picture of the long history of Cambodia in about 250 pages. He's concise--what a blessing from a historian. He highlights the most important AND the most interesting details about each period in Cambodian history, and avoids the common problem of banality that many history books have. It's truly a good read, and an easy one, too. It's written in a very clear style--another of its strong points.

In sum, I am supplementing this book with one that deals exclusively with Cambodian history in the last 30 years, but for the "big picture," "A History of Cambodia" is The One. I couldn't be more impressed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good.
This is a very succint but adequate history of Cambodia, which started some 2,000 years ago with the Funan empire (1st to 6th centuries AD) and reached its peak with the Khmer empire (9th to 13th centuries AD) and its famous Angkor monuments. From then on, it was a steep downward slide into oblivion.

One just has to wonder how such a brilliant civilization could have disappeared even from the minds and memory of its own people. A Frenchman, Henri Mouhot, rediscovered the Angkor complex in 1860.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from David Chandler.
Those who are fascinated with Cambodia, the Khmer language and the Cambodian people treasure the work of David Chandler. Clear and logical presentation are to be taken for granted. The author has for years set the standard toward which the next generation of Asia scholars strive. Even more rare than his impressive intellect is David Chandler's collegial approach to his subjects and his fellow researchers.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Respectable Showing--Too Bad It's The Only One
The coverage in this book is genuinely refreshing: from dim origins of the various ethnic and linguistic groups of Indochina; through the fascinating but frustratingly scant data on pre-Angkorean times; to the glory of Angkor itself; and then into the welcome light of more ample documentation, be it Chinese, European, Siamese or Vietnamese; and finally, of course, colonization, modern war, and the staggering horror of the Khmer Rouge. I believe that history--all history--is the mother of insight, and Chandler's work serves to bolster this opinion. Even the pre-Angkorean chapters--which, as I noted, are cursed by a paucity of evidence--fired my mind: I am now fascinated by the "indianization" of Southeast Asia that occurred in the first millenium AD. It struck me that it was one of the few times where a civilization spread its culture in a big way without either much violence or emigration. [Are there parallels with the contemporary global spread of American culture? True, American ascendance has not been without a torrent of violence--as amply recounted in this book--but I would submit that force has, if anything, hindered rather than advanced the adoption of American cultural norms.] This book is also a welcome antidote to the myriad histories of Southeast Asia that treat all the events before European colonization as the merest of preambles. We learn, for instance, that well before Cambodia became a disposable pawn in bloody post-war neo-imperialist games, it was long an important prize in a previous bipolar arena of gruesome geopolitical struggle--that between Vietnam and Siam in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thus the tragedy of modern Cambodia does not lie in Western, patronizing visions of the Cambodians as innocent children, but rather in the story of a wordly civilization that had endured and survived so many depradations from outsiders, only to all but self-destruct in our own time. ... Read more

12. The Ends of the Earth : From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Cambodia, a Journey to the Frontiers ofAnarchy (Vintage Departures)
list price: $16.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679751238
Catlog: Book (1997-01-28)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 51436
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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"The future here could be sadder than the present," writes Robert Kaplan in a chapter about the African nation of Sierra Leone. From Kaplan's perspective, the same could be said of virtually the entire Third World, which he spends the bulk of this book visiting and describing. Kaplan, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and author of Balkan Ghosts, is congenitally pessimistic about the developmental prospects of West Africa, the Nile Valley, and much of Asia. This traveler's tale offers dire warnings about overpopulation, environmental degradation, and social chaos. We should all hope that Kaplan's forecast is wrong, but we ignore him at our peril. ... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars gloriously and sublimely depressing
I was introduced to Robert Kaplan's work through his articles for Atlantic Monthly. His analysis of the world stage is so insightful and realistic it makes most of the other things I've read in the area seem like Fairy Tales and Demagoguery. In a previous book he successfully foretold the crisis in the Balkans, in this book he brings his pen and his observational acumen to the edge of civilization.

This book is essentially a travel journal; Mr. Kaplan joins up with backpackers, gets hassled at borders, gets overcharged for train tickets. Fortunately for the reader, Mr. Kaplan's travels have the singular, though somewhat opaque purpose of divining the state of the societies in which he travels. The things observed, though interesting in their own right, are weaved by Mr. Kaplan into a roughly hewn picture of the cultures in which he travels. Things as simple as the look in the eye of a street urchin or the way in which a woman covers her head contribute to this picture in invaluable ways.

Kaplan's assessments are, on the whole, fairly pessimistic and he is skeptical about the efficacy of foreign assistance. One of Kaplan's overarching themes is that many of the dynamics that are at work in these places are nearly impossible to disarm from the outside, and that attempts to do so often cause more harm than good.

There is a tinge of fatalism in the accounts of many regions, West Africa, for one. But Kaplan does leave his readers with a mere series of plaintive elegies. His reification of the mechanics of chaotic polity offer many constructive lessons on how to offer modest assistance, and more important, how to avoid exacerbating these situations through well-intentioned meddling.

My understanding of the volatile regions of our world was greatly improved by this book. For that reason alone, I recommend it to all readers.

3-0 out of 5 stars A very worthy effort, but...
Don't buy this book thinking it's merely a travelogue of some of the world's poorer and lesser-known nations. (In fact, if that's all you're looking for, then I highly recommend Pico Iyer's Falling off the Map instead.) No, it's a cleverly disguised sociopolitical analysis, but unlike most such works, it's refreshing in that Kaplan freely admits his observations are subjective and possibly wrong. But that's exactly the problem. Despite physically travelling to all these destinations, Kaplan seems to spend precious little time actually TALKING with real citizenry in most places. Instead he whisks from Western hotels in the capital to meetings with various pols and officials before scuttling off to the next country, sometimes just days later. And therein lies the failure of an otherwise worthy effort from an outstanding writer: the superficiality of most of his experiences in these places. Give him a few days in a country, coupled with a bit of background reading and perhaps a few conversations with experts at home, and Kaplan feels justified in making sweeping generalizations about where these nations have been, and where they are going. Had Kaplan just stopped country-hopping and stayed in one region for a longer time, I think his conclusions would have been much improved. A side note: having travelled to a number of these countries (as one of the "backpackers" that Kaplan scornfully derides throughout the book), his constant dramatizing of the mundane grows tedious after a while...I think the only person surprised that the third world can be dirty, smelly, and unpredictable is Kaplan himself.

1-0 out of 5 stars a journalistic fraud
I bought this book for its rave reviews and thought I would learn something from it. When reading his chapters about Iran, I was quite disappointed to see that Kaplan does little more than to be taken around by his handlers to those they wished him to see and talk to. Furthermore, he does even less than a newcomer to the field would do; he does not even provide context or background. One of his primary interview subject is Mohsen Rafighdoost who stole so much that even his own backers could not tolerate him. Kaplan is also historically inaccurate and downright deceptive. He characterizes the Zoroastrian religion as pagan. He either does not know or he does this maliciously. This oldest monotheistic religion has been studied and discussed about so much that ignorance would not be a good enough excuse for its mischaracterization. Last, but not least, Kaplan borrows long paragraphs and essays from other authors about Iran where he thinks his stereotyping of the people needs backing. He does that without context and is patently fraudulent. For one, I have read "the garden of the brave in war" and where he borrows from that book, is arguably opposite to the intent of the author.
If this had been a "pay for purpose" work I would understand its content, but as a proposed "independent work of authorship" I believe it is no more than a waste of time and money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uncovering the new threats of the 21st century
Robert Kaplan sought to achieve a rather ambitious aim when he set out to research and write this book; he wanted to find a new paradigm to understand the early decades of the 21st century. Kaplan noted that some experts focused on the effects of overpopulation and environmental degradation as the dominant forces (particularly in the developing world), while others spoke of a "new anarchy" (such as former UN secretary-general Perez de Cuellar, he and others noting that of the eighty wars between 1945 and 1995, forty-six were either civil wars or guerilla insurgencies). In 1993, forty-two countries were involved in major conflicts and thirty-seven others were suffering some lesser form of political violence (sixty-five of these seventy-nine nations were in the developing world). Kaplan journeyed through sub-Saharan West Africa from Guinea to Togo and through Egypt, Turkey, Iran, former Soviet Central Asia, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia in his research for the book.

He found a predictably bleak situation in Africa. While 13 percent of the human race lives in Africa, they contribute only 1.2 percent of the world's gross domestic product. Crime - particularly violent crime - is soaring in much of Africa; for a time the United States suspended direct flights from the U.S. to Lagos, Nigeria due to the rampant violent crime at the terminal and nearby, the first time any such embargo had occurred for non-political and non-terrorist reasons. Soaring malaria in Africa is intensifying the spread of AIDS (as malaria can result in anemia, which requires blood transfusions), just as AIDS and tuberculosis are helping each other's spread.

As bad as the economy, crime, and disease in Africa are though, Kaplan believes the real problem in sub-Saharan Africa is too-rapid urbanization, a problem he comes to again and again in the book. Festering "bush-slums" that appear on few maps border many African cities, where relatively prosperous cities end up being "slum-magnets for an emptying countryside." He visited several such slums in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in West Africa, many packed with migrants from Mali, Niger, and elsewhere (50% of the population of the Ivory Coast is now non-Ivorian). The native forest culture of Africa, however primitive, was being destroyed by soaring birthrates, alcohol, cheap guns, and extremely dense concentrations of humanity in slums that lacked any stabilizing and unifying government or culture. Though he does not believe this to be the only factor in the bloody conflicts in Liberia and elsewhere, he does believe it to be a dominant one.

Though not leading to the level of social breakdown as seen in Africa, rapidly growing cities - packed with peasants drawn in from the countryside - was a dominant feature in other nations he found as well. China, while touted at the time of writing as having a 14 per cent growth rate, really meant that coastal China was growing; this growth did not apply to inland China (and also could be said to favor the cities and not the countryside), leading to a mass migration from the countryside. Migration to shantytowns in Pakistan is tremendous, owing in large part to a skyrocketing population rate (only 9 percent of Pakistani women use contraceptives and the population of Pakistan is close to doubling every twenty years), a situation leading to empty villages and a poorly urbanized peasantry that cities are unable to cope with.

Kaplan found similar problems in Egypt, where urban poverty and newly urbanized peasants, threatened with the loss of traditions, the government unable to help them, with basic services like water and electricity breaking down, having found something to turn to; Islam. Islam is thriving in a time of unregulated urbanization and internal and external refugee migrations. With increasingly militant Islamic Egyptians turning against Christian Arabs (both Coptic Christians, who like the Lebanese Kaplan met in West Africa and the Korean grocers of South Los Angeles, formed a "middlemen minority" in Egypt, as well as the Christian leaders like UN secretary-general Boutros-Ghali who failed to aid Bosnian Muslims) and turning to the Ikhwan el Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) for social services instead of an increasingly overburdened state, Kaplan sees scarcity and woes of the urbanized peasantry of the shantytowns as the driving force in many ways in Egypt.

The growing marriage of Islam and urbanized peasantry was not unique to Egypt. To a somewhat lesser extent Kaplan found a similar process on-going in Turkey, as the Turkish migrants to the gecekondus (literally "built in the night;" shanty-town houses) on the fringes of Istanbul found more aid from the Islamic Welfare Party in the form of water, coal, and food than from the Turkish government itself. In some areas of western China such as Kashgar, overcrowding, unemployment, and the lack of any real middle class was leading to a Muslim resurgence there among non-ethnic Chinese.

So what did Kaplan learn from his travels? He was quite frustrated, and found that the more he traveled the less he felt he knew. Kaplan did grow disgusted with the idea of political "science," paraphrasing Tolstoy in _Anna Karenina_ in writing that while successful cultures are in many ways alike, unsuccessful ones fail each in their own way. He did come to the conclusion that nation-states at least in West Africa, the Near East, and Central Asia were weakening. In some cases organizations and entities outside or beyond the state - such as the various Islamic groups in Egypt and Turkey - were starting to fill in the vacuum, while in other, failed states such as Sierra Leone, nothing was taking its place. Borders in some regions, the legacy of long-gone European imperial powers, were becoming less and less important. Laos and Cambodia were in some sense creations of the French, areas that might have long been swallowed by the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai and were now being divided up economically if not politically by these countries. I think his firmest conclusion though was that poorly and newly urbanized rural poor flocking to the cities represented the greatest challenge.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Provocative Travelogue
Kaplan presents more than a travelogue of some of the most inaccessible places in the world, he also makes a compelling case about why these forgotten pockets need to be of more than passing concern to citizens of developed countries. While the author's characterization of these "frontiers of anarchy" is provocative, his arguments cannot be ignored.

This book's first third, which focuses on West Africa, can be profitably read alongside an in-depth study like LIBERIA: PORTRAIT OF A FAILED STATE by John Peter Pham, published by Reed Press, which gives a detailed analysis of the strategic importance that Kaplan ascribes to regional conflicts. ... Read more

13. Killing Fields, Living Fields
by Don Cormack, Peter Lewis
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
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Asin: 0825460026
Catlog: Book (2001-06-30)
Publisher: Monarch Books
Sales Rank: 242614
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An update of the powerful story of undaunted hope in oppression.

As one of the last missionaries to leave Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge seized power and among the first to return, no one is more qualified than Don Cormack to tell the story of the church that would not die. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting history of the Cambodian church!
While this book does provide a historical account of the formation and growth of the Cambodian evangelical church, I enjoyed it more for the exciting tales of what the Lord accomplished in the lives of these wholly committed believers.

Their stories fill you with sorrow over the horrors they had to face in return for their faith, but they also fill you with awe at the amazing grace and deliverance shown to many of these saints as they served their Lord so faithfully.

I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of the Pol Pot era in Cambodia and especially to believers who are wish to be inspired by those who have been tested and found faithful. ... Read more

14. Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors
by Dith Pran
list price: $17.00
our price: $17.00
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Asin: 0300078730
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 56935
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A sad story.
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.

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting redundant account.
An interesting but horrid book. It tells the reader the Khmer Rouge's atrocities in layman's terms. There are many disturbing, unforgettable images throughout the book. The short accounts, however, quickly begin to go in circles as many of the stories are similar. The education level of the victims' writing, also diminishes from the book. Dith Pran's decision to take the actual written accounts of these refugees proves to be a double-edged sword. Obtaining more accounts of Cambodians, who actually perpetrated in the persecution end of the "Angka Experiment", instead of the ongoing "victim's point of view," would have made this book much better. Also, the obvious lack of editing detracts from the book credibility. Nevertheless, it is difficult to be so judgmentful, considering the subject matter and the horrible experiences all these people faced. I believe Dith Pran left all these essays intact largely to show respect for the all victims. I give it 3 stars because, despite the flaws, it remains a capitvating book based on its truth. Children of Cambodia's Killings Fields is an important book. On a world view, the general public remains largely ignorant of what happened there, and what the mentality of Cambodia was like at the time. It answers a lot of important questions, albiet inefficiently.

4-0 out of 5 stars Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors
This book of memoirs is deeply moving with one eulogy to a mother which I will never forget. It brought me to tears and crying out loud. Books such as these should be read by our youth before they enlist in the armed services. Naive Americans such as Jessica Lynch might not be so swept up by the manipulative promises of military recruiters if they became more informed before they enlist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a good introduction for anyone who wants to learn about life under the Khmer Rouge. The stories may be different, but they all provide a vivid detail of children struggling to survive Pol Pot's regime.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stories of the soul
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." ... Read more

15. The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea
by Craig Etcheson
list price: $53.00
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Asin: 0865316503
Catlog: Book (1984-06-01)
Publisher: Westview Pr (Short Disc)
Sales Rank: 2096807
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16. Brother Number One: A Political Biography
by David P. Chandler
list price: $20.00
our price: $20.00
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Asin: 0813335108
Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
Publisher: Westview Press
Sales Rank: 85549
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Cambodia's recent, tragic past, no figure looms larger or more ominously than that of Pol Pot. Yet information about his life and career is largely inaccessible. In this first book-length study of the man, the historian David P. Chandler casts light on the shadowy figure of Pol Pot, illuminating the ideas and behavior of this enigmatic man and his entourage against the background of post-World War II events, providing a key to understanding this horrific, pivotal period of Cambodian history. In this revised edition, Chandler provides new information on the state of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge following the death of Pol Pot in 1997. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars The way to make friends is not to kill people
Prof. Chandler discovered the real face behind Pol Pot (Saloth Sar), the initially enigmatic leader of the Red Khmer in Cambodia. He wrote a hallucinatory and tragic biography.

The background of Pol Pot is common for many Communist Party (CP) members. He was recruited by the local CP when he studied in a foreign country. For Pol Pot, it was in France where the CP was totally controlled by the USSR and her Stalinist doctrine. The USSR recruited foreign members everywhere in order to use them as antennas all over the world.

When Pol Pot took power in Cambodia, he applied the Stalinist doctrine ruthlessly.
The similarities with Stalin are eminently striking: power struggle at the top of the party and liquidation of the old fellows, savage party purges, murderous goulags, indiscriminate collectivization, ethnic cleansing, deportation, show trials, forced confessions under torture, affectionate with little daughter, considering as enemies of the State those Khmer who came from a foreign country, fear of assassination, suspicious, dictatorial (didn't accept the slightest form of criticism).
Under Pol Pot, it went even so far that people who 'knew' an enemy where executed. The result: a genocide. Even children and BABIES were put to death.

David Chandler shows us that Pol Pot was really a dedicated communist, a party man, an organization man, a utopian thinker who believed in his killer's utopia till the end: "I did everything for my country".
A blatant lie: he did it only for his Khmer country and only for those Khmer who (were forced to) agree(d) with him. In other words, his utopia was more than nationalism, it was racism. For Pol Pot knew that 'Class and hatred had produced the victory. So hatred had to be maintained'.

This book contains excellent explanations of the background of the Cambodian conflict with Vietnam, and how Cambodia became a chess piece in a world conflict between the US, China and the USSR. Pol Pot's regime was supported by the US, because Cambodia was an enemy of Vietnam, who was an ally of the USSR.
This book stresses also the disastrous role of the feudalist king Norodom Sihanouk and the decisive influence of the US bombings of Cambodia, which turned part of the Khmer peasantry in favour of the Red Khmer.

Pol Pot's regime is a shame for Western intelligentsia, because some of his cronies (Khieu Samphan) studied like Pol Pot at Western universities.

This terrible biography is a reminder of the deadly dangers of utopian doctrines, if they can be implemented by a totally convinced individual who possesses a dictatorial power in a single ountry. As David Chandler states: the genocide would have continued, if Pol Pot had stayed in power.

A must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brother Number One
I thought that this book was extremely well written and intellectually stimulating. While providing as many details about Pol Pot's life as can be found, Chandler also integrates this information into the recent history of Cambodia. He seems to believe that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge can only be understood in the context of the times, and this definitely rings true after reading the book. True, he does offer a lot of interpretation and conjecture on Pol Pot's life and motives, but this is the job of the historian. Rarely do historical documents, especially documents about the Khmer Rouge, provide such information. Those who intend to understand and write about these events, are therefore forced to do this kind of interpretive work. So do not listen the first review given on this page. This book is awesome.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pol Pot - still hard to grasp
If you are looking for a history of the Khmer Rouge regime, I'd rather recommend one of Ben Kiernan's books. If you are looking for a well-documented biography of Pol Pot, you are not going to like this book.
True, the author has gathered as much information on Pol Pot as possible, but that amount of information could be summarised on just a few pages. To make it into a book, you get a history of Cambodia - and there are better ones around than this one -, and lots of speculation about Pol Pot's psychology, which I found annoying.

4-0 out of 5 stars As much info as you're going to get on Pol Pot
I salute David Chandler for finding as much information on Pol Pot as he did. There just isn't much out there, which is a great shame.

Chandler does a good job with what he's got. I can't fault the guy for his research or his conclusions. However, I never got any kind of sense of Saloth Sar/Pol Pot. What were his interests? What really motivated him? We'll never know.

The version of this book that I read was updated to include Nate Thayer's interview and the last years of Pol Pot's life (to the extent that anyone knows about it). I'm eager to read Thayer's book (which is nearly impossible to get ahold of).

I'm afraid that this is as good as there's going to be until a scholar in a Cambodian university takes on this project. There's way more information here than anywhere else that I've seen, but it's still pretty thin. I hope more comes to light on this important historical figure.

4-0 out of 5 stars best source of pol pot information
...such as it is. The few known details of Pol POt's life can be found in this slim biography. Chandler's _The Tragedy of Cambodian History_ has better information on the Democratic Kampuchea movement in general, but if you're looking for the nitty gritty on this one person, this (to my knowledge) the only place to find it.

Unfortunately, _Brother Number One_ was written before the capture of Pol Pot and Nate Thayer's subsequent interview. Hence the modern period is neglected and a conscientious reader will have to seek out that information on his own. ... Read more

17. History, Buddhism, and New Religious Movements in Cambodia
by John Marston, Elizabeth Guthrie
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 0824828682
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Sales Rank: 571854
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Book Description

This volume showcases some of the most current and exciting research being done on Cambodian religious ideas and practices by a new generation of scholars from a variety of disciplines. The different contributors examine in some manner the relationship between religion and the ideas and institutions that have given shape to Cambodia as a social and political body, or nation. Although they do not share the same approach to the idea of "nation," all are concerned with the processes of religion that give meaning to social interaction, which in some way includes "Cambodian" identity. Chapters touch on such far-reaching theoretical issues as the relation to religion of Southeast Asian polity; the nature of colonial religious transformation; "syncretism" in Southeast Asian Buddhism; the relation of religious icon to national identity, religion and gender; transnationalism and social movements; and identity among diaspora communities.

While much has been published on Cambodia's recent civil war and the Pol Pot period and its aftermath, few English-language works are available on Cambodian religion. This book takes a major step in filling that gap, offering a broad overview of the subject that is relevant not only for the field of Cambodian studies, but also for students and scholars of Southeast Asian history, Buddhism, comparative religion, and anthropology. ... Read more

18. When the War Was over: The Voices of Cambodia's Revolution and Its People
by Elizabeth Becker
list price: $19.95
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Asin: 0671417878
Catlog: Book (1986-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1373404
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by William. Shawcross
list price: $13.95
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Asin: 0671230700
Catlog: Book (1979-05-15)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 476726
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Sideshow, journalist Shawcross presents the first full-scale investigation of the secret and illegal war the United States fought with Cambodia from 1969 to 1973, paving the way for the Khmer Rouge massacres of the mid-70s. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Ghastly Misuse of Superpower
Reading this together with accounts of the Laotian conflict, one realizes that the Vietnam War was in many senses a misnomer: the battle between communist insurgencies and American-sponsored nationalist forces spanned the entirety of Indochina; the Cambodian civil war providing the last (and easily the most tragic) chapter. Unlike Laos and Vietnam, however, blame for which can be apportioned largely to Kennedy and Johnson respectively, the prosecution of American policy in Cambodia was almost solely the concern of Richard Nixon and his dark eminence, Henry Kissinger.

The story of Cambodia in the 1970s divides into two halves: In the space of several years the ineffectual pro-Western president, Lon Nol (having ousted the mercurial Prince Sianhouk) squandered millions of dollars of American military and economic aid, his regime caving in 1975 to the insurgent Khmer Rouge. Under Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge government proceeded (from 1975 to 1979) to institute a ghastly "cultural revolution" in which the cities were emptied, the middle classes liquidated in killing-fields concentration camps, the country thrown into famine and the entire society wound back to "Year Zero."

The other "half" to the story of Cambodia is the American side, namely the story of the illegal (and botched) invasion of 1970 and subsequent covert bombing operations across the entirety Cambodia. Shawcross argues cogently that it was precisely because of the devastating bombing, and utter destruction of the peasant economy, that Pol Pot was able to marshal a powerbase capable of overthrowing Lon Nol's government. From there he argues that Kissinger bears partial (if indirect) responsibility for the consequences of the Khmer Rouge takeover, including the killing fields. Whether one can go that far is an issue that will tax historians and moralists for generations, but there can be no question that: (1) the B-52 raids failed in their stated objective of supporting Lon Nol; and (2) Kissinger (and his adviser John Negroponte) were blithely indifferent to the human suffering that the bombing brought. With John Negroponte now assuming a critical role in the Iraq war, this book remains a compelling study of how not to use superpower.

5-0 out of 5 stars Back to the future -- Rome, Cambodia, Iraq ...
While I've read this book many times over the years, my most recent reading struck me hard. The description of the May 8, 1970 meeting between Henry Kissinger and a number of his friends and personal advisors from Harvard did not seem especially interesting in past years, but jumped off the page this time around. Thomas Schelling told Kissinger that after the invasion of Cambodia the group no longer had faith in Henry or the Nixon administration's ability to conduct foreign policy, and would have nothing further to do with Kissinger. The group pointed out that the invasion could be "used by anyone else in the world as a precedent for invading another country, in order, for example, to clear out terrorists." Another section recounts Arthur Schlesinger Jr. quoting a historian's recollection of the Romans -- "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented." Shawcross also notes that in 1964 the US condemned Britain for assaulting a Yemeni town used as a base by insurgenets attacking Aden. Another chilling touch is the mention of Lincoln's reaction when he was advised that the President could invade a neighbor if necessary to repel invasion -- Lincoln replied, "Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you give him as much as you propose." Lincoln's famous speech given as a young man in the 1830s in which he remarked that all the armies of Europe could not forcibly take a drink of water from the Ohio River and therefore "... if this great nation is to ever die, it will be from suicide" rings more true than the words of today's politicians proclaiming the right to declare preemptive war.

An excellent summary of the events that overtook Cambodia, "Sideshow" has much more to offer to us today as we try to figure out how we reached this turning point in our history and recall how badly things can go wrong whenever we deviate from the principles upon which our nation was founded.

4-0 out of 5 stars How the Americans destroyed Cambodia.
In my title sentence, I basically give a summary of Shawcross's contention that Cambodia was destroyed by the United States. I think Shawcross makes good points on why the United States must bear some responsibility in the destruction of this small country. What is lacking is an even review of all the characters in the history (Khymer Rouge, Viet Cong, NVA, ARVN,
and the Thais) of Cambodia. The Vietnamese Communists have as much a stake in why Cambodia turned out as it did. I think Shawcross purposely overlooks this and points the finger at what he percieves as the evil doers of American policy--Kissinger and Nixon.
I think Shawcross does a good job of relating how the USA tried to salvage the intervention in Vietnam at the cost of destroying a small country. I think he proves that point. I also enjoyed his portrayal of all the principal American and Cambodian players in this drama. As I said, a more critical look at the Vietnamese would give this book a more even outlook. After I read this book, I understoon why Presidential Administrations did not involve Kissinger in future policy. Henry comes off as arrogant in the least, evil at the most. For more information on what happened after this time in Cambodia, please read Brother Enemy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that makes you think!
I have had a lot of trouble finding this book. It had been recommened by quite a few people to me, but I had a hard time finding it.

I found it in of all places, a outdoor market in the capital of Cambodia this summer. Cambodia is great for finding bootleg copies of any books on Cambodia.

Shawcross has written a well documented, researched, and written book on Cambodia's role in the Vietnam War. It was easy to read and it certainly made you think.

Unfortunately, I disagree with the tone of the book. And ultimately I disagree with the author's point of view. But anyone interested in the Vietnam War, Nixon, or what happened in Cambodia should read this book. I ultimately disagreed with the book, you may or may not, but regardless it is a book that is well written and will make you think.

Check this book out!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the books which destroyed Nixon
This is a book which describes the destruction of Cambodia. During the Vietnam war the Americans thought that a large portion of the supplies and infantry of the regular units of the North Vietnamese Army were moving into South Vietnam by the use of the Ho Chi Min trail. The trail was a series of roads which rang parallel to South Vietnam though neutral Laos and Cambodia. In reality it seemed that until the events of this book most supplies for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army were actually shipped by the Soviet Union through Cambodia.

Both Loas and Cambodia were neutral in the conflict and the United States faced a problem in getting them to stop the movement of troops and supplies through their territory.

The United States used the CIA to fund a private army in Laos to fight against the Pathet Lao the indigenous communist movement. In Cambodia a coup was organised to remove the government of Shinouk and to replace it with Lon Nol. Once that was done Lon Nol gave permission for the United States to bomb Cambodian territory and later for the South Vietnamese Army to mount armed raids into Cambodia.

The air raids were immensely heavy and dropped bomb loads which were similar to the entire tonnage of bombs dropped on Germany in the Second World War. The combination of the bombing and the coup led to the collapse of Cambodia's social fabric. Large numbers of peasants moved off the land to escape the bombing and swelled the capital. The American actions strengthened the hand of the local communists the Kyhmer Rouge and they started to win the civil war. This in turn led to more refugees. Towards the end the Lon Nol government was reduced to total dependence on imported food supplies flown in by the United States. I the end the Kyhmer Rouge were victorious and turned out to be one of the most murderous regimes of the century. (Some claim that on a per capita basis they were the most vicious in the 20th Century a good century for murderous regimes)

This book is an expose of what is a serious blot on the foreign policy record of the United States. It was a significant book at the time as a range of the actions carried out against Cambodia were illegal. However unlike some of the other tragedies of the last century the tragedy of Cambodia seems to be fading into the background. ... Read more

20. Braving a New World
by MaryCarol Hopkins
list price: $85.00
our price: $85.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0897893921
Catlog: Book (1996-10-30)
Publisher: Bergin & Garvey
Sales Rank: 1722698
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This ethnography, based on a five-year field study, presents a holistic view of a nearly invisible ethnic minority in the urban Midwest, Cambodian refugees. Hopkins begins with a brief look at Cambodian history and the reign which led these farmers to flee their homeland, and then presents an intimate portrait of ordinary family life and also of Buddhist ceremonial life. The book details their struggles to adjust in the face of the many barriers presented by American urban life, such as poverty, dangerous neighborhoods, and unemployment, and also by the conflict between their particular needs and American institutions such as schools, health care, law, and even the agencies intended to help them. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The source for refugee issues.
If you read only one book on Cambodian refugees, this should be it. Ethnography at its best ... Read more

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