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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Loung Ung , Tavia Gilbert
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Jun 2011

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights and being cheeky to her parents.

When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Loung's family fled their home and were eventually forced to disperse to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier while her brothers and sisters were sent to labour camps. The surviving siblings were only finally reunited after the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia and started to destroy the Khmer Rouge.

Bolstered by the bravery of one brother, the vision of the others and the gentle kindness of her sister, Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life.

First They Killed My Father is an unforgettable book told through the voice of the young and fearless Loung. It is a shocking and tragic tale of a girl who was determined to survive despite the odds.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (27 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452653275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452653273
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,031,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"So sharp with pain that when I read it, the words plunged into me like a knife" (Jon Swain Sunday Times)

"There can be absolutely no doubt about the innate power of [Ung's] story, the passion with which she tells it or its enduring importance" (Washington Post Book World)

"Ung's memoir should serve as a reminder that some history is best not left just to historians but to those left behind when the terror ends" (Booklist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

An unforgettable narrative of war crimes and desperate actions from a childhood survivor of Cambodia's brutal Pol Pot regime --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't not read this 27 Dec 2003
As soon as I finished reading this I wanted to start it all over again. Loung Ung is not only an amazing writer but an inspirational person, and to read her story is to know her. The hate that grips her after all that happens to her makes you so angry as the child you meet at the start of the story is forced to disappear. To read this book is to have your heart torn out that this was allowed to happen. You read it and wonder where was the rest of the world when all of this was going. If you ever thought that the problems of the world weren't yours then this book will change your mind, it will make you want to get up and do something. You cannot read this book and not be affected by her story. This is one of the most important books I will ever read in my lifetime.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, then DO it!! 2 Jun 2003
This book is a gut wrenching, heartbreaking tale of a young girl during the horrendous regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I always wanted to read this book since I saw it at school but never got round to it. In November of 2002 I took my son to Cambodia and whilst there we visited some of the places talked about in the book and you can start to feel what it must have been like at the time. Never, ever should this sort of event be allowed to happen again, believe me, you will be close to tears at some points when you read this book, I have now read it three times and the atrocities committed under the banner of the Khmer Rouge are still unfathomable.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by it's cover! 28 April 2005
By Claire
I travelled through SE Asia with 2 friends who both read this book while we were there. I kept looking at them holding the book with the harrowing title on the front cover and thinking 'why on earth would you read that? We've seen the museums, they were tough enough, why read something with such a traumatic title?' ... Then I read it.
Only about 100 pages and amazingly enthralling. The author is amazing, the editing is excellent as this story could easily have been spread out into 1000 pages. I don't want to enthuse too much about this book as one of the reasons I was so moved by it was that I had no expectations.
I wouldn't go as far as to say it changed my life. However, I think I have thought about the story at least once a month for the last 18 months since I read it. Not many books have affected me in that way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read this book 14 Feb 2002
By A Customer
After visiting cambodia I was interested in reading more about the lives of those who'd lived through the Pol Pot regime. This book tells a very vivid tale of what life was like through the eyes of a child.
I had to read it in one sitting because it was too compelling to put down. This is a book I think everyone should read, so that we never allow anything like this to happen again. But be prepared to cry!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 14 May 2006
'First they killed my father' is a compelling personal account of a young Cambodian girl's experiences of life under the Brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. This being Luong's first book, takes the form of a diary account and is written in a simple yet informative and readable format.

Luong was born into a wealthy family of nine in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Pen. As her father is employed in the city as a military police captain and is a supporter of the former Lon Nol government both he and his family risk being captured and killed by the Extreme communist Khmer Rouge if his identity is found out. The Khmer Rouge wants to turn Cambodia into an agrarian nation free of the 'western poison' of capitalism. To make this dream a reality they begin to kill anyone who isn't 'pure' Khmer and all those who indulge in western culture and learning. Luong's father moves his family to the countryside where the Khmer Rouge places them into a work camp. The father attempts to keep his origins a secret so his family can survive. Every member of the family works hard and speaks to no-one so that they will become worthy citizens in the eyes of the angkar.

The Book moves at a steady pace and the reader is kept interested throughout because of the author's uncomplicated writing style. Luong's changing emotions are vividly articulated drawing the reader in and allowing them to understand her plight and also her great triumph at the end when she beats all the odds and finally achieves her freedom.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book! 25 Jan 2005
By ciara
I picked this book up while travelling in Asia and it made my trip to Cambodia a meaningful experience. You can visit the museums and see evidence of the K.R but reading this book makes it personal. Be prepared to cry and be prepared to have this book play on your mind for a long time to come, but please, please read it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving account through the eyes of a child 23 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I read this book in Cambodia and I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but I couldn't put it down or stop crying. Fantastic, important and very well written. Ung manages to take you back to that terrible time and it is very powerful because of that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One girl's story of strength and hope 26 Jun 2001
This is the story of thousands of Cambodians who have gone through the horrific barbarity of the Khmer Rouge regime. This girl's plucky spirit and utter determination gives you hope as well as admiration for her and her family as they try and survive the inexplicable cruelty of the Khmer Rouge soldiers. She grows up under awful circumstances and sees half her family murdered one by one. Her story and vivid imagination gave me nightmares and the book kept me thinking about Cambodia's past for weeks after I read it. If Loung's message to the world is to let us think "this is how it was; let us prevent this from happening ever again", then I think she has succeeded. This is one powerful, thought-provoking narrative.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, second one I have read on this subject in the last...
Interesting book, it is the second one I have read on this subject in the last couple of months, definately recommend it
Published 2 months ago by J K Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars A must before visiting the country.
I downloaded this to read whilst I was travelling in Cambodia and am so glad I did.

It's harrowing in parts, grim in others and will raise a lump in the most hardened of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by AmazonAddict
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read but a history everyone should know about.
It is difficult to say that you love this book as it is such a harrowing story. Having just visited Cambodia, I wanted to learn more about the people's experiences. Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. M. Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you thankful
This was a story of an individual who had their life interrupted by war. It was extremely well written. I recommend this book without reservation.
Published 2 months ago by Allison Coe
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
If you are travelling to Cambodia or South East Asia this is a must read!
You will understand about their history through the eyes of a 5 year old girl.
Published 2 months ago by MC
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrible life experience
I think this is a very interesting book beause it gives you the oportunity of learning what life was like under the Kmer Rouge regime. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sandra Pauli de Campana
5.0 out of 5 stars There are no words...
An incredibly sad account of just one family's ordeal during the war in Cambodia. This book gave me a glimpse of the terror and heartache war brings. Brilliantly written.
Published 3 months ago by Lucy
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Book
While visiting Cambodia I bought this book and was so moved by it I wanted my daughter to read it too. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Janet
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is such a sad story, but very well written and a very good read. I couldn't put it down.
Published 3 months ago by Mel1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars
Excellent, well written story of the pol pot regime. Loung ung shares her family with the reader, I couldn't put this down.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs Susan Culpin
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