Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
Outstanding yet terrifying
on 12 June 2005
Dr. Haing Ngor's book on his life is probably the most heart breaking account of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. When I picked it up I literally read it in one go. And so will you. It is an amazingly absorbing story.
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.