From Publishers Weekly
Ah, to be young, Western and ambitious in a war zone. It's the early 1990s, and Cain and Postlewait are two American U.N. employees sent to Cambodia to help the country rebuild itself after two decades of war and genocide. Thomson is a New Zealandâ"trained doctor who has already been there for a short while, patching up limbs shattered by land mines and looking for a corner of the world to save. The three meet during the U.N.'s efforts to install democracy in one of the unlikeliest places. Idealism, financial need, thirst for adventure and the desire to be a part of history bring them there, and the high they get from doing their work keeps them flitting around the globe, looking for hot spots to help cool down. The trio's early success in Southeast Asia is only added encouragement, as they follow their own intertwining paths through the wars and killings of the 1990s. From Cambodia, Somalia and Haiti, to Bosnia, Rwanda and Liberia, Cain, Postlewait and Thomson find death, sex, bureaucratic betrayal, sex, liberation from their pasts and seamy, regret-tainted sex amid the body parts and rotting flesh. Infuriating, heart-wrenching and well written, their tale is compelling both as a bottom-up look at U.N. peacekeeping efforts during the 1990s and a testimonial from the people who put their lives and sanity on the line for the sake of a simple ideaâ"peace. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW
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At the beginning of the 1990s, the authors, who did not know each other, came together in, of all places, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There was the Harvard Law graduate who didn't want to be just another corporate lawyer; the New York social worker who saw her chance to make a difference slipping away; the missionary doctor looking for the best way to use his skills to help the people who need him most. They all came to Cambodia as part of the UN peacekeeping mission, and there they became friends, colleagues, and much more. The book is about people who went somewhere for all the right reasons and wound up facing challenges they never knew existed. The story is vividly told, almost tactile in its details. Many of the book's images--of poverty, desolation, abuse--are difficult to forget. For the authors, it was an experience that enriched them beyond measure. This is a unique and rewarding book, a mix of memoir, history, travel, and personal analysis. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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