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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.) Paperback – April 4, 2006
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From the Back Cover
One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.
Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.
About the Author
Loung Ung was the National Spokesperson for the “Campaign for a Landmine Free World,” a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Ung lectures extensively, appears regularly in the media, and has made more than thirty trips back to Cambodia. She is also the author of Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind and LuLu in the Sky.
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I suppose my only hope or request would be for a follow-up memoir to describe how she acclimated to life in the United States, to talk about her return to Cambodia and her experiences reuniting with her surviving family members, and of her efforts to eradicate landmines around the world.
As this book attests, the ramifications of that war played on all the countries that surrounded it.
I have read this book over 2 times. It is a hear wrenching personal history from a little girl who lived like an American Middle Class person, but who was reduced to eating bugs to stay alive. It was not grinding poverty that tried to take her soul, it was a dictator with a soul from Hell. I don't believe that many Americans live the kind of life this girl did. Only Americans that we read about that are hidden away and raped and tortured by kidnappers or such survive the things that many people in Cambodia came to see as a way of life.
I am not too good at current events, but I think things in Cambodia are still pretty awful, but not at this level of personal horror.
Things from that part of the world are still hidden and more books will be written later. But this girl survived atrocities we only dream, in horror, of. This is not a fun, or lighly read book. It is about human cruelty on the level of Hitler's.
So, if you are studying, read it. If you want leisurly fun, pass it up. A piece of history at its worst is what it is. Reader beware!
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