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Alive in the Killing Fields: Surviving the Khmer Rouge Genocide [Kindle Edition]

Nawuth Keat , Martha Kendall
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Alive in the Killing Fields is the real-life memoir of Nawuth Keat, a man who survived the horrors of war-torn Cambodia. He has now broken a longtime silence in the hope that telling the truth about what happened to his people and his country will spare future generations from similar tragedy.

In this captivating memoir, a young Nawuth defies the odds and survives the invasion of his homeland by the Khmer Rouge. Under the brutal reign of the dictator Pol Pot, he loses his parents, young sister, and other members of his family. After his hometown of Salatrave was overrun, Nawuth and his remaining relatives are eventually captured and enslaved by Khmer Rouge fighters. They endure physical abuse, hunger, and inhumane living conditions. But through it all, their sense of family holds them together, giving them the strength to persevere through a time when any assertion of identity is punishable by death.

Nawuth’s story of survival and escape from the Killing Fields of Cambodia is also a message of hope; an inspiration to children whose worlds have been darkened by hardship and separation from loved ones. This story provides a timeless lesson in the value of human dignity and freedom for readers of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up—At age nine, Keat was rousted from his bed by Khmer Rouge soldiers. After savagely murdering most of his family, they shot him three times and left him for dead. Miraculously, he survived, only to spend the next few years fighting for his life and running from the Khmer Rouge along with his remaining family members. Eventually, he and his siblings made their way to a refugee camp where his older sister bought his freedom. In this memoir, written with the assistance of his college professor, Keat paints a poignant portrait of life as a child in Cambodia in the 1970s. His skills, cunning, and sheer will to survive enabled him to endure devastating occurrences and difficult living conditions. The story is not for the faint of heart, as suffering torture at the hands of soldiers, subsisting solely off of rice chaff, and being forced to sleep among human remains are only some of the atrocities he suffered. Keat's story is compelling and concise, and readers will find themselves invested in his eventual escape.—Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, IL END

About the Author

Nawuth Keat survived the horrors of war in Cambodia, escaped to Thailand, and came to the U.S. as a teen. Now an American citizen, he understands what freedom means. He lives with his wife and children in Hollister, CA.

Martha E. Kendall has written several nonfiction books for children including National Geographic’s The Erie Canal. Kendall attended the Eastman School of Music, where she studied the cello. She sings and plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, penny whistle, and bass. She lives in Los Gatos, CA.

Product Details

  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Print Length: 136 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 142630515X
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
His mother said they were "poor uneducated peasants, thieves, drunks, and fugitives" and the family had to be on their guard at all times because no one knew when they would arrive in Salatrave. Bunpah, or "Mop" as his family nicknamed him, was only nine years old and really didn't understand what the Khmer Rouge was. Their leader, Pol Pot, and his band of thugs would raid Cambodian villages and kill with no rhyme or reason, claiming they were "saviors." They came one night and the family began to run in the darkness, but their unsuccessful flight got them nowhere. Mop was shot three times and later claimed that a ditch quickly "filled with my family's blood." He survived, but would he ever really live again?

Mop and a few surviving family members had to struggle to survive under thumbs of the men dressed in black. He survived his painful wounds, but he claimed that his "misery was just beginning." In order to forget the graphic memory of his mother and baby sister's deaths he had to keep repeating to himself, "Do not think about it. Do not think about it," but the memories would not go away. He was quickly turned into a slave for these madmen. Working in the rice fields relentlessly day after day began to physically take its toll on Mop and his siblings. If starvation didn't take his people the Khmer Rouge were more than willing to help them out. The people struggling in the rice paddies knew that "anyone who complained would be shot or beaten to death with a hammer or hoe." Would any of them survive to tell their story or would they all be buried in the killing fields?

This very graphic, sobering story of a young boy's efforts to survive during the reign of the Khmer Rouge was stunning. Once I picked up this book I didn't set it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not the best October 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very personal account of the Khmer Rouge but not the most detailed I have read. Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor is by far the most gripping, detailed and graphic account that I have read. This book is worth reading but I would recommend the other book first. This way you will have a firm background as to what was going on in the country at the time and what it was like to be displaced from the city.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average read April 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Would not recommend as very disjointed and poor writing. Did not flow or give a good story. I remember the film and that was fantastic. This was disappointing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent March 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The story is a quick read yet gives the reader a true understanding of the peoples struggles to stay alive physically and mentally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading September 8, 2013
By Jan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have visited the Killing Fields in Cambodia and found it very emotional. This is just one of the many of the untold stories
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