Khmer Rouge

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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Brother Number One by David Chandler

In the tragic recent history of Cambodia—a past scarred by a long occupation by Vietnamese forces and by the preceding three-year reign of terror by the brutal Khmer Rouge—no figure looms larger or more ominously than that of Pol Pot. As secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) since 1962 and as prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea (DK), he has been widely blamed for trying to destroy Cambodian society.

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Why Did They Kill? by Alexander Laban Hinton and Robert Jay Lifton

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.

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To Destroy You is No Loss by JoAn D. Criddle

A documentary account of the treatment of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge, written by a keen observor of character and events. Life changed radically for the 15-year-old narrator when the regime took control, turning lives and values upside down. Anyone with education was marked for death; the people of the cities were driven into the countryside to a life of forced agricultural labor under harsh conditions. Positions of responsibility were given to the uneducated and unskilled.

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  • Published in Politics

Dancing in Shadows by Benny Widyono

This fascinating book recounts the remarkable tale of a career U.N. official caught in the turmoil of international and domestic politics swirling around Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. First as a member of the U.N. transitional authority and then as a personal envoy to the U.N. secretary-general, Benny Widyono re-creates the fierce battles for power centering on King Norodom Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

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When The War Was Over by Elizabeth Becker

Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Becker started covering Cambodia in 1973 for The Washington Post, when the country was perceived as little more than a footnote to the Vietnam War. Then, with the rise of the Khmer Rouge in 1975 came the closing of the border and a systematic reorganization of Cambodian society. Everyone was sent from the towns and cities to the countryside, where they were forced to labor endlessly in the fields. The intelligentsia were brutally exterminated, and torture, terror, and death became routine.

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Oukoubah: Justice for the Cham Muslims under the Democratic Kampuchea Regime by Ysa Osman

The 1975-1979 regime of Democratic Kampuchea (DK), led by Pol Pot and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, left more than one million Cambodians dead, their bones scattered like those of animals. All of the more than 6,000,000 people who survived the regime lived with constant horror and fear throughout those 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days.

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A Short History of Cambodia by John Tully

Temples and killing fields, mighty rivers and impenetrable forests, a past filled with glory and decline Cambodia is a land of contrasts. A millennia ago it was an empire at the height of its power, building the vast temple complexes of Angkor. Now, a thousand years later, ravaged by conflict and a genocidal civil war, Cambodia finds itself struggling with democracy, beset by corruption and on the lowest end of the global spectrum of economic wealth.

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Cambodia, 1975-1978 by Karl D. Jackson

One of the most devastating periods in twentieth-century history was the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge over Cambodia. From April 1975 to the beginning of the Vietnamese occupation in late December 1978, the country underwent perhaps the most violent and far-reaching of all modern revolutions. These six essays search for what can be explained in the ultimately inexplicable evils perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge. Accompanying them is a photo essay that provides shocking visual evidence of the tragedy of Cambodia's autogenocide.

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