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The Lost Executioner: A Story of the Khmer Rouge Paperback – 2 May 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Airport and Export ed edition (2 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747580588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747580584
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,991,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A tough and brilliant read. -- The Irish Times

An example of a rare genre: a reflective work by an outstanding photographer who is also a talented writer. -- John Ryle, Financial Times

Compelling reading. A vivid, highly personalised account leads us deep into this ideological heart of darkness. -- Daily Telegraph

Nic Dunlop's remarkable journey into the dark, suffering heart of Cambodia is a revelation. -- John Pilger --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nic Dunlop was born in the Irish Republic 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 John 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ms. Casey on 26 Nov 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up in a local book shop a few weeks ago, admittably I was looking for something like this, having already read Francois Bizot's The Gate I wanted to learn more about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975 - 1979.

Nic Dunlop portrays a truly traumatic episode in Cambodian history when the Khmer Rouge saw to the demise of upwards of 1.2 million people in the name of The Organisation (Angka). This book mainly focuses around one man, Comrade Duch, the senior camp commander of the secret Khmer Rouge prison in Phnom Penn code named S-12.

Throughout the book, Nic describes in detail the accounts of eye-witnessness at the time the actions of The Organisation and die hard believer's such as Comrade Duch in the near clinical and inhuman `liquidation' of political revisionists or anti-revolutionaries from within the the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), established 1966, and Cambodia's general population.

The book follows Comrade Duch from his early life, from his work as a school teacher to his dutiful collaboration in countless deaths which were recorded at S-21 prison. Nic finally discovers Comrade Duch for the first time working, after the invasion of the Vietnamese in 1979, in a refugee camp for a relief agency...

This book has more than can be described here but when you read it will not leave you. I found it vastly informative way and heart wrenching throughout. It is truly shocking in its depiction of a regime intent on mass genocide. I found Nic's writing both experienced in his subject matter, having been a long term reporter of Cambodian issues, and equally as passionate at getting to the truth behind what unfortunately to the international community has become old news.

Overall, what you can take from this book is a depressing indictment of how one country has repeatedly been torn apart through outside intervention of rival super powers; USA, China, and Russia.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Sep 2005
Format: Hardcover
Dunlop's book is one of the most accessible and yet moving accounts of the tragedy of Cambodian history in recent years. His near obsessive commitment to understanding the truth about the Pol Pot years in Cambodia tells us much about him and also the country that he fell in love with as a teenager. His expose of the 'UN times' in Cambodia - from the bottom up, from the view of the poor in rural areas - is one of the most brilliant indictments of the UN and international system as it exists today. This aspect of the book in particular was extremely ambitious, but he pulls it off brilliantly. Its a must read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 May 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dunlop's book is not only an important work of investigative journalism and a brave quest for justice and truth, but it is also a great piece of enthralling narrative into the harrowing history of Cambodia during the Pol Pot's years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Kenny on 11 Aug 2006
Format: Hardcover
Nic Dunlop's book interwines his search for one of the Khymer Rouge's worst executioners with a superb wider history of the tragedy that tore Cambodia apart. Dunlop writes with a professional coolness, but one cannot miss his sympathy and love for the Cambodian people. This book does not glamourise or sensationalise the decades of war, genocide and suffering, while Dunlop is extremely modest about is own efforts in unmasking a mass murder. The author is better known as an excellent photographer, but on this occassion his lucid prose and personal empathy with his subject tell us as much as any stark black & white image.
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Format: Paperback
Nic Dunlop poses the all important questions of how a vision of a better world can turn into bottomless evil, and how seemingly ordinary men can become mass murderers.
The ideological fundamentalists at the very top of the Red Khmer movement had a vision and a plan for the creation of heaven on earth (`the envy of the world'), but only for the 'good' soldiers. All the 'bad' ones, even (pregnant) women, children and babies, had to be simply murdered. Their utopia was a world of self-sacrifice, with no traces of individuality, no individual thought, no love (segregation of men and women), no foreign things, no towns, no money, no schools, no holidays.
The mass murdering was considered as an act of purification. It turned into a terrible real nightmare for the good and the bad. Everybody came to live in constant fear for their lives, acted in panic, told only what people wanted to hear and did what they were told to do. It was a system of paranoia, terror, constant surveillance and lies.
The Tuol Sleng prison became the heart of the movement, the centre of security, a symbol for a whole society as a slaughterhouse. Under torture people named names of innocent `spies', who in their turn named names, until ... `If the Organization arrests everybody, who will be left to make a revolution?'
After 4 years, the suspicions of conspiracies had killed more than three-quarters of the original Central Committee.

The answer to Nic Dunlop's question is Duch, the Commander of the S-21 prison, a fundamentalist, a cold executioner of the orders of his superiors, a good father for his children, but living in constant fear for his own life, obsessed by the 'enemies' within, behaving irrationally, but enjoying his role as `butcher' for the creation of utopia.
As D.
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