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The Lost Executioner: The Story of Comrade Duch and the Khmer Rouge Paperback – 4 May 2009

17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (4 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408804018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408804018
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Nic Dunlop's remarkable journey into the dark, suffering heart of Cambodia is a revelation' John Pilger 'Nic Dunlop's search for the holy grail - the understanding of how (rather than why) good men become evil - makes this into a harrowing book' Gitta Sereny 'Nic Dunlop's book, a vivid, highly personalised account of his quest for comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer, interrogator and butcher, leads us deep into this ideological heart of darkness' Sunday Telegraph 'His book vividly depicts the war, the meticulous records kept by the KR of their victims, their horrible tortures and the effect of the tragedy on Cambodians today. It is a tough and brilliant read' Irish Times

An example of a rare genre: An outstanding photographer who is also a talented writer.
(FINANCIAL TIMES)

Dunlop's book is empathic, intelligent and a real page-turner.
(GUARDIAN – 3RD BEST BOOK ABOUT CAMBODIA)

Compelling reading... a vivid, highly personalised account of Dunlop’s quest for comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer.
(SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Compelling… The Lost Executioner illuminates the darkness of recent Cambodian hisory and examines not only the banality of evil but also its ambiguity.
(PROSPECT MAGAZINE)

A powerful account of Cambodia's history, both ancient and more recent.
(CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR – BEST BOOK ON KHMER ROUGE)

The Lost Executioner is a truly excellent and important book, by a writer who brings to the present an enviable command of Cambodia's past. It is ­ apart from anything else ­ a model history of the region from a historian who knows how to write.
(NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE - AUTHOR)

A tough and brilliant read.
(IRISH TIMES)

Chilling… this is a brave book by a brave man.
(TIMES)

An important and, at times, intensely moving book.
(LONDON METRO MAGAZINE)

Beautiful and harrowing… I don’t think I’ve read a better book… I can think of fewer people who work in South East Asia that I hold in higher regard.
(FERGAL KEANE – BBC CORRESPONDENT & AUTHOR)

A heart-felt and harrowing book.
(DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Dunlop’s writing is clear and often poetic, especially regarding pictures, violence and his own feelings… A brilliant and haunting tale.
(SEATTLE TIMES)

Nic Dunlop’s search for the holy grail — the understanding of how (rather than why) good men become evil makes this into a harrowing book. The fact that the events described here are seen through the eyes of a photographer rather than a writer, immeasurably invigorates his account of Cambodia’s horrifying thirty year war, its appalling prisons and monstrous tortures, and America’s hapless involvement.
(GITTA SERENY AUTHOR ‘ALBERT SPEER: HIS BATTLE WITH TRUTH’)

Nic Dunlop's The Lost Executioner is the story of one of the key links in the chain of repression. Comrade Duch was one of those most directly responsible for the terror, yet without the photojournalist Dunlop's one-man search for him, he might still be working for one of the Western NGOs helping to rebuild Cambodia. When confronted with an old photo, Duch decided to confess and has since been taken into custody.
(TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

Astonishing… a remarkable contribution.
(FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIREW)

Dunlop's personal quest for international justice holds the narrative together and deepens his story with a thoughtful - and very personal - commentary on photography and violence… a measured but horrifying book.
(PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Stunning and frightening. A biography, memoir and history of unspeakable darkness.
(KIRKUS REVIEW)

In this haunting, elegant book, Nic Dunlop takes us into a poisonous era, and into the thought world of a idealistic mathematician who believed that his society would become pure when all of its enemies were killed. There are frightening lessons for all of us in these absorbing pages.
(DAVID CHANDLER – AUTHOR ‘BROTHER NUMBER ONE: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF POL POT’)

A visceral account of the Khmer Rouge… wrenching and revelatory.
(BOOKLIST)

The Lost Executioner is my Book of the Year… [Dunlop’s] prose has a real composure to it - it's extremely simple without being simplistic, and there is not one verbose word or overwrought sentence here. The understated tone of Dunlop's journalism allows the appalling facts of his narrative to speak for themselves far more clearly. A truly remarkable story… The Lost Executioner is a vital book and one that deserves to reach a huge audience.
(SPIKE MAGAZINE)

About the Author

Nic Dunlop was born in Ireland in 1969. He attended the Central School of Art and Design in London before becoming a photographer in 1990. His work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide. In 1999, he was co-recipient of an award from the Johns Hopkins University 'for excellence in international Journalism' for exposing the head of the Khmer Rouge Secret police, Comrade Duch. He lives in Bangkok.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eckybun on 10 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Having read a book all about Cambodia under Pol Pot, I was interested in learning more about Comrade Duch, the man who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison where countless Cambodian's were tortured and executed. Nic Dunlop sets out to find Duch with just a photograph of him. Duch disappeared after Pol Pot was overthrown and has never been made to answer for his terrible crimes. I won't tell you whether or not Dunlop is successful in his quest. This is a fascinating book looking at the life of one of the most infamous men in Cambodian history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harry Houdinski on 7 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Nic Dunlop's quest to find Comrade Duch has given us one of the best books detailing life in the Khmer Rouge time. Dunlop paints a masterful picture of the past and the people who both perpetrated the horrors and suffered from them. His clear style and eye for detail steer us through modern-day Cambodia back to the terrors of the past using the Khmer Rouge as guides. Having spent many years in Cambodia myself in the immediate years after the Vietnamese pull-out, and having read most books on the subject, I can recommend Dunlop's book as one of the very best. An excellent read for any serious student of Cambodia and a chilling insight into one of the greatest horrors of the modern age that will also captivate those coming fresh to the subject. A future classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author starts the book off by stating an apparently simple mission. Find comrade Duch, and confront him with his crimes. Now, had Nic Dunlop done only that, this would have been a slim enough volume. The author assumes that you know nothing much about Duch (my case, more or less), and proceeds to give you not only a pretty detailed biography, always prompted and in the context of his search for the man, but also a very interesting history for the conflict.

The style is journalistic and very simple and down to earth. I also found that even though the author has a strong opinion about all of the facts, he's not overly pushy with it. At some points he lapses into abstract musings about a certain fact or place, but these don't last too long.

The book is overall very readable, and treats this harrowing subject in a dignifyed way. The author doesn't fall into a rabid rant about a subject he's obviously devoted a large chunk of his life to. Also he describes the atrocities in just the right way, avoiding any sensacionalism. Definately worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By juliem on 8 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thoroughly researched book.
Nic Dunlop has painted painful pictures with his words.
A brave author who sought to find the truth,and with it,Comrade Duch.
Nic has opened my eyes to the countries who,through aid & shelter,assisted in prolonging the genocide.
Also the Aid Agencies who allowed themselves to be used which often prevented the true refugees from recieving food & medical aid.
Thank you Nic for sharing this with the world
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sue Rodge on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I REALLY BELIEVE A BOOK LIKE THIS SHOULD BE IN INCLUDED IN THE NATIONAL CIRRICULUM, having been a complete ignoramous on this historic and tragic and even more so profound story of subjects hard to comprehend until read, I am now planning to find out as much about what happened and although understand why, still question WHY? and just 35 or so years ago??? baffling!
Anyway a mustb read!
May trigger a want for similar reads!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Lang on 13 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
This was the first book I read around the history of the Khmer Rouge and the atrocities of this era. A very easy, engaging read as you follow the journey of Nic Dunlop in his search for Duch. This book truly sparked my interest in Cambodian history and the nightmare that was the Khmer Rouge ... it certainly hasn't stopped at this book. Well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By neats on 29 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a must read to anyone interested in or about to visit SE Asia. Ive read some awful books before this - trust me, this is the book to read!

Thought provoking, balanced and good use of personal accounts and factual sources. You are left feeling exhausted and astonished and a little confused! Most books on this subject can simplify what went on in Cambodia but this does not paint a picture of good V evil but presents the complex psychological and historical points that need to be made.This book leaves you feeling that your eyes have been opened!

We need more of these books being written and read by people!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James G on 11 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this for my kindle sat in my hotel room in Phnom Penh the same day I went to Tuol Sleng and Cheung Ek as I had read some of the notices about Comrade Duch and wanted to find out more and try and gain some insight into why someone would commit such heinous crimes. The book was well written and informative and to realise that the author was responsible for bringing cvomrade duch to justice was fascinating. I struggled to put it down the first time I read it, until I fell asleep with my tablet on my lap.
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