Survival in the Killing Fields Paperback – 5 Dec 2003
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"The best book on Cambodia that has ever been published."
Best known for his academy award-winning role as Dith Pran in "The Killing Fields", for Haing Ngor his greatest performance was not in Hollywood but in war-torn Cambodia. Here, in his memoir of life under the Khmer Rouge, is a searing account of a country's descent into hell. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting off with his childhood, I found it amazing that a teenager as rebellious as Ngor nevertheless makes it into medical school and becomes a doctor working in a Phnom Penh hospital. Whilst he progresses we catch a good feel how quickly Cambodia falls into corruption during the Lon Nol regime. The take-over of the country by the Khmer Rouge in April 1975 was seen by some as a new beginning. It was indeed that, but rather different than people expected and one which still haunts the country today. Dr. Ngor's description of life under the Khmer Rouge makes every movie made on the subject a very polite first try. I think one should read all of it including the three bits Dr. Ngor suggests one (perhaps) shouldn't. Fleeing the country in 1979 to Thailand and then the USA, Dr. Ngor survives the killing fields. In the US he climbs to Hollywood success almost by chance. Dr. Ngor's life story is not a singular experience - everyone who survived the killing fields has a story to tell - but perhaps his was noted more than others' because of his Hollywood fame.
This book is a must for everyone interest in this part of Cambodian history.
While it is excellent on the Khmer Rouge, it is equally interesting for the insights it gives into normal Cambodian life and customs. The description of his early life describes rural life and later his success in Phnom Penh.
This is the most moving book I have read and I would recommend it to anyone who takes an interest in Asia or Foreign Politics, the latter as a shocking example of how it can go wrong.
The author, Haing Ngor, was a trained doctor and worked in the hospital in Phnom Penh, so was a target for extermination by the rebels, and consequently the new government.
I won't cover the whole story, suffice it to say it covers his trials and tribulations in great detail, and he warns at the start of some of the more graphic passages of what is to come, so you can avoid these parts if you want. I would recommend that you do not miss these passages out as, uncomfortable as they are, it is essential to read these to understand how brutal the regime was.
The twist in this extraordinary tale of survival, is that after his escape from Cambodia, Ngor was chosen to play the part of Dith Pran in the film, The Killing Fields. I particularly found his account of his arguments with the film production company as he felt the film was not brutal enough, very interesting as anyone who has seen the film will know how brutal the film is.
This version has an extra chapter detailed what has happened to the author since he completed this book, a tragic end to the life of a man who survived the killing fields.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is very easy to forget what happens in the past . Today we walk with our eyes shut unaware of what true suffering entails. Read morePublished 2 months ago by karen fitzpatrick
As a fan of real life books, I have read many books on varying topics. I first read this book whilst travelling through Cambodia and was also aware of the actor, having seen the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by travis
What an incredible book. Powerful and thought provoking. I had no idea about the history of Cambodia and was both shocked and moved, definitely worth a read.Published 4 months ago by Ellen H
An absolutely fantastic book. There should have been a film of Haing Ngor's life. However, as he says in the book, his suggestions to make the "Killing Fields" more real... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Edwin Knight
Phenomenal book, one of the best books I have ever read. Hard to read as the accounts are so harrowing, but its the only way to understand the depravity of life under the Khmer... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Moody
One man's account of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime. It will move you to tears in places. At times almost unbearably sadPublished 5 months ago by Max