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The Gate Paperback – January 6, 2004
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Finally freed after Douch had pleaded his case with the leadership, Bizot became the only Western captive of the Khmer Rouge ever to be released alive, but his story does not end there. On his return to Phnom Penh, due to his fluency in Khmer, he was appointed interpreter between the occupying forces and the remaining western nationals holed up in the French embassy. As the interlocutor at the eponymous gate, he relates with dreadful resignation the moment when the Khmer nationals in the compound were ordered out by the Khmer Rouge forces for "resettlement."
Bizot's is a touching and gripping account of one of the darkest moments in modern history and it is told with a unique voice. As a Cambodian resident, a lover of Cambodia and a fluent Khmer speaker, Bizot shows an understanding of the prevailing mood in the country that other Western commentators have failed to capture effectively, while as a Western academic he is able to see the forces at work and how Cambodia fits into the bigger picture of South East Asian conflict. What emerges is a tale of a land plunged into insanity and Bizot tells it like a eulogy for a dead friend and a confrontation of old demons. The Gate is a stunning book and a must for anyone interested in this grim period of Asian history. --Duncan Thomson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ordinarily, this is the type of story that would just be amazing; indeed, two of the three stars I give in my rating are mostly for the story alone. In a setting where just to survive was exceedingly rare, rarer still is the kind of picture Bizot has the potential to paint -- a close look at the captor and captive, doomed and fated to be freed, side by side. If you are looking for a general history of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, this book isn't it. But if you are looking for a more intimate portrait of what happened under the Khmer Rouge (at least at the ascendency of their power), then "The Gate" will intrigue you.
At the end of the day, however, "The Gate" is lacking in both heart and serious reflection. It would seem silly to say this about a book in which a person describes what might have been the most horrific time in his life. Unfortunately, Bizot's descriptions simply don't go far enough. The absence of introspection in this book -- to go along with a measure of self-aggrandizement and political pontificiation -- turns what could have been a seminal read into a merely interesting one.Read more ›
It is difficult to determine to what extent America’s role in the events of the region might have contributed to the Khmer Rouge revolution. The CIA (I suppose) had helped stage a coup d'état against Prince Sihanouk and installed pro-U.S .General Lon Nol as head of the new republic. The country fell into complete dependence upon American aid. It was the complicity of those people seduced by American money whom the Khmer Rouge despised, although in their fanaticism they associated anyone educated, who wore glasses or fingernail polish, as traitors to Cambodia.
North Viet Nam used America’s coup as a pretext to invade, presenting themselves as liberators. The Khmer Rouge considered themselves at war with American Imperialism, or at least used that as their justification for their revolution. Of course, there are those who claim that if America had persisted in the Viet Nam war to victory, at the cost of merely another 20,000 or so Americans, the genocide would have been averted. Maybe, but given that the royalty in Cambodia had a history of soaking up wealth and doing very little for the people, the country was sufficiently stratified for an ambitious scoundrel to arm the peasants and stage a revolt. At any rate, when Viet Nam invaded to oust the Khmer Rouge from power, The United States, rather than recognizing Viet Nam’s regime, continued to recognize Pol Pot as the legitimate government.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book before traveling to Cambodia in order to get a better idea of the country, and a unique perspective from a foreigner who witnessed the rise and brutality of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by TM18
I found this book profoundly affecting. I have visited Cambodia twice: the first time I went to tuol sleng and the second time I visited the killing fields. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MJMCI
The Gate is a marvelous non-fiction story that reads like a novel. It covers the pre-Pol Pot era, the beginning and eventual "liberation" of Cambodia, and its aftermath,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by patricia perez-arce
One fo my favourite books. Well written and great story. One of my favourite books.Published 20 months ago by Whitefish
A wonderful insight into the Khmer Rouge in general and Duch in particular, and the twisted creed that drove them to their horrendous crimesPublished on June 29, 2014 by JOHN QUILTY
This book has an introduction which states that the reader is "lucky" because they have not read this book yet and they are about to have that feeling of reading something... Read morePublished on March 4, 2014 by Watertheplants!
This book has been on my Wish List for over 8 years and it was a surprise to receive it as a present. Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by AM van den Hurk
Easily one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Surreal and almost impossible to comprehend, it's like a visit to the twilight zone. Read morePublished on October 16, 2013 by Happy Gal