Until age five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of an educated, high-ranking government official. When the Kymer Rouge stormed the city in 1975, the young girl and her family fled from village to village. Fighting to hide their identity, the Ungs eventually were forced to separate to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans. As half her family died in labour camps by execution, starvation, and disease, Loung herself grew increasingly resilient and determined - armed with indomitable will, she miraculously managed to outlast the Kymer Rouge and survive the killing fields. "First They Killed My Father" is her story, a memorable human drama of courage and survival against all odds.
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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 LightnerFrom the Back Cover:
One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.
Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2001. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket. Very good copy with minor shelfwear and creasing to last page. Bookseller Inventory # 023872
Book Description Tandem Library, 2001. School & Library Binding. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0613338960