Biographical

Cambodian biographies - life, love, suffering and survival. Sad memoirs of the Pol Pot regime's destruction, the Khmer Rouge killing fields, refugee camps and the purging of those perceived to be a threat to the regime's rule. Remarkable tales of escape by extraordinary people and journeys to futures unknown.

The Years of Zero by Seng Ty

The Years of Zero—Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge is a survivor’s account of the Cambodian genocide carried out by Pol Pot’s sadistic and terrifying Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. It follows the author, Seng Ty, from the age of seven as he is plucked from his comfortable, middle-class home in a Phnom Penh suburb, marched along a blistering, black strip of highway into the jungle, and thrust headlong into the unspeakable barbarities of an agricultural labor camp. Seng’s mother was worked to death while his siblings succumbed to starvation.

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Strongman: The Extraordinary Life of Hun Sen by Harish C. Mehta and Julie B. Mehta

Strongman: The Extraordinary Life of Hun Sen is the biography of the Cambodian leader whose private life has been a closely guarded secret. Fully updated and revised from the authors’ first edition (Hun Sen: Strongman of Cambodia, published 1999), this volume is based on recently declassified archival documents and hours of new interviews with Hun Sen, his wife Bun Rany, son Hun Manet, other family members and associates.

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Stay Alive, My Son by Pin Yathay

On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh to open a new and appalling chapter in the story of the twentieth century. On that day, Pin Yathay was a qualified engineer in the Ministry of Public Works. Successful and highly educated, he had been critical of the corrupt Lon Nol regime and hoped that the Khmer Rouge would be the patriotic saviors of Cambodia.

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Lulu in the Sky by Loung Ung

Concluding the trilogy that started with the bestselling memoir First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung describes her college experience and her first steps into adulthood, revealing her struggle to reconcile with her past while moving forward towards happiness. After the violence of the Khmer Rouge and the difficult assimilation experience of a refugee, Loung’s daily struggle to keep darkness, anger, and depression at bay will finally find two unexpected allies: the empowering call of activism, and the redemptive power of love.

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Golden Bones by Sichan Siv

While the United States battled Vietnamese Communists in the 1960s and 1970s, in neighboring Cambodia dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge declared war on their own people, enslaving and slaughtering anybody who disagreed with them. Sichan Siv knew he would soon be a target—ending up, perhaps, as one of the millions of anonymous human skeletons buried in his nation's Killing Fields—so he heeded his mother's pleas and ran.

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The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

As a girl she was sold into sexual slavery, but now she rescues others.

The story of a Cambodian heroine. Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia. Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking—rape, torture, deprivation—until she managed to escape with the help of a French aid worker.

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Reflections of a Khmer Soul by Navy Phim

A lyrical journey of self-acceptance as the author questions and comes to term with the Killing Fields and other genocides. This journey involves traveling inside oneself and to a distant past to discuss what it means to be Khmer, a hyphenated American, and different misconceptions about Cambodians and Cambodia, a place that still haunts and inspires her.

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Lucky Child by Loung Ung

After enduring years of hunger, deprivation, and devastating loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, ten-year-old Loung Ung became the "lucky child," the sibling chosen to accompany her eldest brother to America while her one surviving sister and two brothers remained behind. In this poignant and elegiac memoir, Loung recalls her assimilation into an unfamiliar new culture while struggling to overcome dogged memories of violence and the deep scars of war.

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