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Shoulders To Freedom: A Cambodian Diaspora Memoir Paperback – Large Print, May 28, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Mai Bunla (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061576343X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615763439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,005,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mai Bunla attended California State East Bay and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology. After college she joined the Peace Corps, becoming a volunteer in Nepal from 1996 - 1998. Upon her return home from her assignment in Nepal she worked for the United States Immigration & Naturalization Service for a number of years. Currently, she works for the Department of Homeland Security. Bunla loves to travel which she does when an opportunity presents itself. She lives in Washington DC with her daughter. Besides being a full time federal employee Bunla juggles between being a mom and being a co-founder of The Nyaw Project. The Nyaw Project is a forum in which the Nyaw people come together and share all things related to the Nyaw ethnic. The purpose of the forum is to form a Nyaw identity and the project is in a working process to produce a paper which will identify who are the Nyaw people and where they come from. Bunla is an advocate for the Nyaw ethnicity to come to forefront since the Nyaw ethnic is not known to the world.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Shoulders To Freedom" is captivating. Mai Bunla's life story is nothing short of amazing and one can only imagine how surreal life must have seemed - beginning life in a Cambodia village, to escaping and living in the refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines, and finally to America. There were so many poignant moments mentioned, but the descriptions (both good and bad) of the falang (i.e., foreigners) and the nuns in the Philippines were especially moving.

Mai Bunla's recounting of the difficulties emigrating brought to both her and her family also made me stop and ponder many times while reading the book. I cannot fathom how difficult that must have been on the family. Nothing was familiar and I have always marveled at how immigrants are forced to attempt to adapt and assimilate. I was struck by how Mai Bunla found an outlet in sports in high school and also with her decision to join the Peace Corps, despite the fact her parents did not quite understand the reasons why.

Mai Bunla has seen so much of the world and has a perspective very few can match.

Lastly, I must say I said a prayer for Bunla's brother, Ai Sang Thout. I pray he is at peace. The Khmer Rouge, like so many ideologies, took humanity so far from where God wants us to be.
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By C Crosswhite on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Mai Bunla has written a compelling book telling her very personal story of escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the middle of the night with her family and eventually becoming refugees in the USA years later after living in border camps in Thailand and the Philippines. This is such a great book - I cannot encourage you enough to read it. I shed many a tear reading it and Bunla has achieved so much in writing her amazing story and sharing it with many of us who knew little of what the people of Cambodia went through at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.
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By Kim Gentin on September 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully written book about a girl's displacement out of Cambodia to a refugee camp before she finally settles in Northern California. The vignettes of her life (both tragic and life affirming) provide the reader with a true sense of what life was like for the author. Her writing is very readable and the transitions from one chapter to the next flow very well. I was engaged immediately from the very beginning. I highly recommend this book.
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By Judy on June 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a heartfelt book about coming to this country, and learning how to fit in. And lots of times Mai received no help from people who should have helped her, but she made it. And here is another tribute to the Peace Corps. Her history is something to be so proud of, and her people. And I grieve for Cambodia, and the Nyaw People. And I salute the Bunla family for their courage and bravery.
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