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Golden Bones: An Extraordinary Journey from Hell in Cambodia to a New Life in America Hardcover – July 1, 2008
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About the Author
Sichan Siv served as a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2001 to 2006, and as deputy assistant to the president for public liaison and deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 1989 to 1993. Ambassador Siv holds a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University. He and his wife spend their time in San Antonio, New York, and beyond.
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In addition, I enjoyed learning more about the history and culture of Cambodia.
While reading Golden Bones, I was often in tears, and frequently, crying. Ambassador Siv's escape during the 1975-1976 period occurred when I was working in the White House. I saw how difficult his life was, and thought how soft it was for me at that same time. I can't even imagine what it was like to learn that your family had been brutally murdered. The description of his mother and family was wonderful and heart warming. His escape from the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields was remarkable and riveting.
Sichan Siv's return to Cambodia in 1992 representing the President of the United States must have been one of the most enjoyable and emotional moments of his life. Also, what a thrill to have the Dalai Lama ask for your autograph?
After going through hell, Ambassador Siv had so many good things happen to him upon arriving in the United States, but, obviously, meeting Martha Lee Pattillo, his future wife, had to be at the top of the list. His description of their courtship and relationship has the making of a movie, a true love story.
One of my regular tennis partners while in the White House was George H. W. Bush, before he became "41," so I also share Sichan Siv's great admiration for him. (Bush, Sr. was our liaison to China and then Director of the C.I.A. in those days).
I learned a great deal from Golden Bones, including courage, motivation and leadership, not to mention ABC, (American By Choice), and overall, one must work hard to achieve their objectives. Also, I'll always remember, "No matter what happens, never give up."
Golden Bones is an inspiring and uplifting story for people of all ages and walks of life.
John G. Carlson
I really love the fact that what principally keep him going was remembering that his mother told him always to have hope. Without hope, he could never make it through all the physical obstacles or worse yet the many encounters with the Khmer Rouge. I knew about them before from a book that I read some time ago, 'The Killing Fields'. This book is more a tale of survival and why you need to survive instead of relating what the Khmer Rouge did. He also made me appreciate Khmer folktales, poetry and gave some information on Khmer cooking. I thought that it symbolic that everyone in Cambodia always wore black clothes and the way he knew he had finally made it to Thailand was wearing colorful clothes clothes.
I don't it is giving away the book too much to state this observation. When I first started reading this book, I noticed that Sichan Siv was an extremely resourceful person. I started a list of the occupations that he had as the book went along, it was an amazing number of different kinds of work. I would have never applied for a job that I knew I didn't have the background for or at least know what the job title was but he did! I will let you compile your own list, you will be amazed.
I recommend this for everyone interested in the history of holocausts, Cambodian history and survivor stories.