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Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land

Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land [Kindle Edition]

Joel Brinkley
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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"Kirkus", February 15, 2011 "An excellent...account of a country whose historic poverty, exacerbated by the Vietnam War, remains remarkably unchanged.""Publishers Weekly""A riveting piece of literary reportage." "Booklist""A heartbreaking but vital status report on a people who deserve far better." "Foreign Affairs", May/June 2011"Brinkley cuts a clear narrative path through the bewildering, cynical politics and violent social life of one of the worlds most brutalized and hard-up countries."" San Francisco"" Chronicle", April 16, 2011"As a young reporter, Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his coverage of the Cambodian refugee crisis. Returning to the region 30 years later, Brinkley - now a professor of journalism at Stanford - chose his subject well...[he] admirably...demonstrates that Hun Sen's administration has been a disaster for many Cambodians.""The Wall Street Journal", May 19, 2011 "Illuminating...Mr. Brinkley won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for covering Cambodian refugees, and he weaves the details of the nation's underbelly into a compelling argument, interviewing powerful figures and foreign officials involved in politics, courts, hospitals, land development, forests and schools." "The American Interest", July/August, 2011"Compelling... a revealing tale of delusion and corruption told with considerable panache."

Product Description

A generation after the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia shows every sign of having overcome its history--the streets of Phnom Penh are paved; skyscrapers dot the skyline. But under this façade lies a country still haunted by its years of terror.

Joel Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime that killed one quarter of the nation's population during its years in power. In 1992, the world came together to help pull the small nation out of the mire. Cambodia became a United Nations protectorate--the first and only time the UN tried something so ambitious. What did the new, democratically-elected government do with this unprecedented gift?

In 2008 and 2009, Brinkley returned to Cambodia to find out. He discovered a population in the grip of a venal government. He learned that one-third to one-half of Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge era have P.T.S.D.--and its afflictions are being passed to the next generation. His extensive close-up reporting in Cambodia's Curse illuminates the country, its people, and the deep historical roots of its modern-day behavior.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1694 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1586487876
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (12 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #136,265 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hard Truth 5 Jun. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Congratulations to Joel Brinkley for this 'warts and all' assessment of modern Cambodia. It is high time the truth was told about Hun Sen, his self-seeking regime and the wanton betrayal of a nation that has suffered enough. No-one escapes Brinkley's criticism, particularly the UN and Cambodia's donor nations, though he rightly reserves his most barbed passages for Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party.

I could not put this book down and read it in three sittings. Brinkley's prose is highly readable and his arguments balanced and reasonable. He chooses his examples well and his compassion and sympathy for Cambodia's repressed citizens is palpable.

There were several omissions that I would like to have seen included, though these in no way detract from a comprehensive picture of modern Cambodia. The notorious, incendiary, case of the murder of Piset Pilika shows the ruling elite in all its monstrosity, as does the acid attack on the nightclub singer Tat Marina. There is also no mention of the oligarch Sok Kong and the [unspecified] income he reaps from the ticket boothes at Angkor Wat.

I intend no criticism. The plethora of case studies that pepper 'Cambodia's Curse' give a more than adequate picture of the continuing hardships and injustices visited on Khmer citizens. Please read this extraordinary book - modern Cambodia continues to be overlooked by the world, just as Cambodia was overlooked in the late 1970s. Joel Brinkley deserves huge credit for trying to change this state of affairs.

'Cambodia's Curse' by Joel Brinkley: highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rather good book 15 Nov. 2014
Joel Brinkley does a fine job in detailing Cambodia's history and problems.

He starts off with telling the reader some history about the Khmer kingdom and as I read this part of the book I thought the corrupt nature of the Cambodian system originates there. Brinkley only briefly deals with the US attitude towards Cambodia in the 1970s. The author mentions William Shawcross' Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia, which is a rather excellent book (its appendix may well make you smile). The author also only briefly mentions the period of Khmer Rouge Rule and I find that a definite plus. There are scores of books, which have been written on this period of Cambodia's history and there are quite a few listed in the bibliography.

Since 1979 or perhaps one should say since 1993, Cambodia is fortunate in having such a stable Government, which runs itself exceedingly well and is able to attract the amounts of monies necessary to run matters smoothly. The only problem is that virtually nothing trickles down to the population at large. This is the message I took home from reading this book. Brinkley provides plenty of examples on how well the government-system works in Cambodia. Presumably, the government could run just as well if the people they are supposed to look after didn't exist.

What I didn't particular like about the book is that although the author includes a table of content I don't think he adds value by numbering his chapters just one to 17. It would have been worthwhile to add a header for each chapter.

But apart from that, this is a very good book and compulsory reading for anyone interested in Cambodia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 1 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wel written , well laid out and easy to understand a lot about this beautifull country,s past history and problems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and informative 28 Jun. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having visited Cambodia I found this book to be easy to read. The history of this country is complicated and I felt that the reader was given an unbiased record.
I highlighted salient point so that I could refresh my memory when presented with further information. I would recommend it to anyone planning a visit, as I did, or wishing to understand more of the history.
One warning is that the discovery of events is very sad and the treatment of the people from fellow human beings quite difficult to understand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening 22 Aug. 2013
By Kerry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've recently visited Cambodia and went with very little knowledge of the history of the country. I was captivated by the people and the country and came home wanting to know more about Cambodia's past and why the country is the way it is now. Joel Brinkley's book is an excellent read - having spent time after the fall of the Khmer Rouge and then again a few years ago - gives you a comprehensive insight into this complex country.
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