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The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79, Third Edition 3rd ed. Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300144345
ISBN-10: 0300144342
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kiernan, the leading authority on modern Cambodia, meticulously examines Pol Pot's killing machine and clears up many misconceptions found in earlier studies. . . . An important book for students of genocide as well as scholars of Southeast Asia."—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

"The most comprehensive analysis of Khmer Rouge war crimes yet."—Yale Daily News

(Yale Daily News)

"Kiernan has compiled an invaluable record of the workings of a political phenomenon of our century, a materialistic idealogy applied to the enslavement of a people." -Simon Scott Plummer, Tablet

(Simon Scott Plummer Tablet)

"In this authoritative work, Ben Kiernan . . . explores the reasons why Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge revolution became a Cambodian nightmare."—Richard Gough, Times Higher Education Supplement
 
(Richard Gough Times Higher Education Supplement)

"This is not the first account of Pol Pot's terror. . . . But Mr. Kiernan's is perhaps the most complete and the closest to Cambodian sources."—The Economist 
(The Economist)

"Impressively researched and deeply disturbing."—Sunday Telegraph

(Sunday Telegraph)

"One of the most important contributions to the subject so far, and one which neither specialist scholars nor general readers can afford to ignore." -R.B. Smith, Asian Affairs

(R. B. Smith Asian Affairs)

"The most detailed history to date of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. . . . This book, written at an advanced level, will certainly be the benchmark against which all future research on the Khmer Rouge must be measured. Very highly recommended."—Choice
(Choice)

About the Author

Ben Kiernan is the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History, professor of international and area studies, and the founding director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University (www.yale.edu/gsp). His other books include Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur and How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930–1975, published by Yale University Press.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 3rd ed. edition (August 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300144342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300144345
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book that helped me understand Pol Pot-Ieng Sery and the insanity of their regime. I never did, for example, understand why they evacuated Phnom Penh. After reading Kiernan's book, however, I understand their reasoning. Their logic was twisted, not to mention incredibly cruel, but I now have some understanding of the reasoning underlying their decisions.

Kiernan's book holds a special resonance for me because my wife is grew up in Svay Reng Province. But she was born in 1980, right after the Pol Pot-Ieng Sery regime fell and because her parents, understandably, don't want talk about their experiences during the Vietnam War and life under Pol Pot, she hasn't been able to shed much light on this period of history. I read with a great deal of interest the chapters dealing with the east --Svay Reng, Prey Veng, and Kompong Cham Provinces and found them very illuminating in light of the little bit I have learned of her family's history, most of whom were killed by Pol Pot.

Having been to Cambodia on numerous occasions, I have been to many of the towns and villages that are discussed in the book. I found the chapters describing the uprising in the east, along Highway 7 and Highway 1, in Prey Veng and Svay Reng Provinces, particularly interesting, mostly because I am familiar with those areas and understand where the various battles took place. The book also gave me an understanding of Cambodia's minorities, particularly the Cham. Aside from the fact that the Cham are Muslim, I had no idea where they came from and knew little of their experiences under Pol Pot.
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Format: Paperback
For those who are interested in what happened at the village and district level during this terrible period in Cambodian history, I can't imagine a more complete, detailed account could be written by another single person. The breadth of the research is astonishing--if you want to know how many ration cans of rice different classes of peasants were getting in which year, and in which district, well, this is your dream book--and most of the sources he cites seem credible.

The book is curiously short on argument, and almost bereft of analysis. Mr Kiernan seems content to let the evidence speak for itself. This is ok for the specialist who has read many volumes of Khmer Rouge history, or the "buff" who intends to read many more; but it is not ideal for the reader who seeks a single, definitive work on the subject.

In fact, the book suffers from what is its only clear argument: that certain groups were systematically targeted by the Pol Pot regime, thus qualifying its actions as genocidal, and thus criminal under international law. This gives the book a predominant focus on the victims of the Khmer Rouge. The perpetrators of the crimes are strangely anonymous, their motives almost entirely mysterious. This is a pity, because Kiernan's sources must certainly have had some interesting things to say on this topic. We get only the most occasional teasing glimpses: this party cadre was kind, that one severe, another one cruel and bloodthirsty.
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Format: Paperback
People who can't admit when they're wrong have no business writing history. If you're interested in the history of the battle to write the history of the Khmer Rouge, this needs to be read. If you're interested in the history of the Khmer Rouge, read Short's "Pol Pot," and Bizot's "The Gate."
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Be Kiernan was a Khmer Rouge supporter until the evidence became overwhelming. When the truth of the atrocities of the regime came out, Kiernan quickly changed his story. Now we are treated with a history of events fabricated by Kiernan to further his political views. While Pol Pot was mudering millions Kiernan was denying the evidence, and supporting the regime. He should have known better.

"There is ample evidence in Cambodian and other sources that the Khmer Rouge movement is not the monster that the press have recently made it out to be. Ben Kiernan - "Cambodia in the News; 1975-76. Melbourne Journal of Politics. 1976.

Did the new government plan and approve a systematic largescale purge? There is little evidence that they did. Apart from the execution of high-ranking army officers and officials, the killing reported by refugees from the northwest since April 1975 was instigated by untrained and vengeful local Khmer Rouge soldiers, despite orders to the contrary from Phnom Penh. Ben Kiernan "Social Cohesion in Revolutionary Cambodia." Australian outlook. December 1976.

As a result of the Khmer Rouge irrigration program, Cambodian agriculture will be modernised and peasant living standards increased. Ben Kiernan - "Social Cohesion in Revolutionary Cambodia." Australian Outlook. December 1976.
The Western Press have more of an interest in a "bloodbath" in Cambodia than the communists do. Ben Kiernan - Letter to The Age (Melbourne). March 2, 1977.

After interviewing many refugees I have found, as others have, that each one I s view of the revolution depends to a great extent on their class background. This 1s natural, since the revolution is decidedly biased in favor of the poor, in particular the peasantry. Ben Kiernan - Unpublished letter to The Times (London) August 11, 1977. Published in Journal of Contemporary Asia. Vol 7. No.4. 1977.
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