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Cambodia: 1975-1982 Paperback – 1 Mar 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press / Silkworm Books (1 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9747100819
  • ISBN-13: 978-9747100815
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
flawed but necessary to understand Cambodia 3 April 2004
By James Ordidge - Published on
Format: Paperback
Vickery's book has been frequently characterised as a 'denial literature' by the right yet the book contains an extensive records of the barbarity of the Khmer Rouge - particularly the Eastern zone massacres of 1978 which left the now well-known mounds of human bones in their wake. Similarly, Vickery praises the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge and argues that the Vietnamese-backed regime which replaced it was a vast improvement for the Cambodian people. This is hardly consistant with the argument that he is a Cambodian 'holocaust denier', and in stark contrast to the US and other western governments (and China) which supported the Khmer Rouge after their overthrow, as chronicled by Vickery in the book's two last chapters.
However, the casualty count of 700'000 - based on CIA data - is too low. Neither does the thesis of a 'peasant revolution' explain the nature of the Khmer Rouge regime. The Pol Pot government was led by a new ruling class drawn from the party, and were fundamentally an urban regime exploiting the Cambodian workers and peasants. This is consistent with other Stalinist regimes but not with Marxism, which states that peasants would be allowed to retain their land until they choose to join co-operatives voluntarily (see Engels' writing on the peasant question). However, all these arguments are within the realm of honest debate without the need for hysterical accusations of holocaust denial.
Where Vickery is right is in characterising the eastern zone as relatively more benign area of Cambodian and as the centre of opposition to Pol Pot. Ben Kiernan in his 1994 history argues the same and praises Vickery's work on this subject (if not others). Also - and part of the book mainly ignored by those on the right - is the book's situation of the Khmer Rouge directly in the history of Cambodia with it's attendent social discontent ,oppression and revolts, in the first chapter, and the vicious US-backed war and bombing in the second (in which more bombs were dropped on Cambodia in six months of 1973 than Japan during all of WW2). This is in contrast to the conservative interpretation that locates the crimes of the Pol Pot solely in Marxism-Leninism.
Vickery's book is a useful antioote to Cold War propaganda but should be read with some caution and alongside more recent works.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Argumentative, but deserves study by all Cambodia lovers. 4 Sept. 2001
By Richard Arant - Published on
Format: Paperback
Michael Vickery, always ready and perhaps even ever-anxious to attack anyone else who has studied Cambodia, shares some unique insights and valuable experience gained in Cambodia in the 1960s. While most of the arguments about the goings on inside Cambodia during the DK and PRK eras are now dated, readers can still learn much from "Cambodia 1975-1982". Early into this book, Vickery very cleverly uses passages from Bun Chan Mol's excellent book "Chareut Khmer" to catch off guard those readers who assume crimes against humanity in Cambodia began in the DK era. That passage alone makes the book worthwhile.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Insightful view 20 Dec. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
A carefully researched and balanced account of this tragic time. Well written and detailed, Vickery provides the definitive document of the early years of the People's Republic of Kampuchea. Any serious student of Cambodia should read this book.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The only book about Pol Pot that made any sense to me 24 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read a number of books, trying to understand what Pol Pot was all about. Most make him out to be satan incarnate, or otherwise incomprehensible. This is the one book that made the history of his regime reasonably comprehensible to me. Highest recommendation.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good but not great 7 Nov. 2009
By A. Espinosa - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed this book for a paper I was writing. It was an informative read but it was not organized in a way that flowed. It was hard to find exactly what I needed for my research, therefore for those who are writing a paper and only have a month to do it (along with papers for three other classes) and need to use at least ten resources, I recommend not using this book because you really need the time to read everything.
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