Children of Cambodias Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors (Southeast Asia Studies)

ISBN 10: 0300068395 / ISBN 13: 9780300068399
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Synopsis: This extraordinary book contains eyewitness accounts of life in Cambodia during Pol Pot's genocidal Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, accounts written by survivors who were children at the time. The book has been put together by Dith Pran, whose own experiences in Cambodia were so graphically portrayed in the film The Killing Fields.The testimonies related here bear poignant witness to the slaughter the Khmer Rouge inflicted on the Cambodian people. The contributors -- most of them now in the United States and pictured in photographs that accompany their stories -- report on life in Democratic Kampuchea as seen through children's eyes. They speak of their bewilderment and pain as Khmer Rouge cadres tore their families apart, subjected them to harsh brainwashing, drove them from their homes to work in forced-labor camps, and executed captives in front of them. Their stories tell of suffering and the loss of innocence, the struggle to survive against all odds, and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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

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

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Compiler-Dith Pran; Editor-Kim DePaul; Introduction-Ben Kiernan
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Dith Pran [Compiler]; Kim DePaul [Editor]; Ben Kiernan [Introduction];
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