During the Khmer Rouge's brutal reign in Cambodia during the mid-to-late 1970s, a former math teacher named Duch served as the commandant of the S-21 security center, where as many as 20,000 victims were interrogated, tortured, and executed. In 2009 Duch stood trial for these crimes against humanity. While the prosecution painted Duch as evil, his defense lawyers claimed he simply followed orders. In Man or Monster? Alexander Hinton uses creative ethnographic writing, extensive fieldwork, hundreds of interviews, and his experience attending Duch's trial to create a nuanced analysis of Duch, the tribunal, the Khmer Rouge, and the after-effects of Cambodia's genocide. Interested in how a person becomes a torturer and executioner as well as the law's ability to grapple with crimes against humanity, Hinton adapts Hannah Arendt's notion of the "banality of evil" to consider how the potential for violence is embedded in the everyday ways people articulate meaning and comprehend the world. Man or Monster? provides novel ways to consider justice, terror, genocide, memory, truth, and humanity.
Brother Number One by David P. Chandler
Publication Date: 1999-03-05
"Excellent and absorbing.... Indispensable to any attempt to understand the Khmer Rouge." -William Shawcross New York Review of Books "A dramatic account of Pol Pot's rise to power in 1975 and his direction of Cambodia's autogenocide.... David Chandler has given us an absorbing and authoritative portrait of Brother Number One and a fascinating insight into Cambodia's cruel history." --Frederick Z. Brown New York Times Book Review "This first biography of Pol Pot is valuable not just for what it tells us about Cambodia's past, but for helping us understand the present and perhaps predict the future.... Superbly written, pioneering work. Chandler makes up for the paucity of details about Pol Pot's life by painting a rich tableau of his times and setting out the historical context of his policies.... The only plausible portrait of the man whose gentle persona and brutal actions remain an enduring paradox." -Nayan Chanda Far Eastern Economic Review "This book is particularly welcome. Although a work of scholarship, [it] has the fast pace of a thriller.... [Chandler's] analysis rings true, and he has no ideological axe to grind; he is willing to go where the evidence takes him." -Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly "Chandler's gracefully written biography of the enigmatic revolutionary of this century, Saloth Sar (alias Pol Pot), deserves wide readership.... Chandler successfully walks a fine line, condemning Pol Pot and all his works, but trying to understand what motivates him.... Recommended without reservation." -Choice "No biographer could hope for a more elusive or enigmatic subject than Pol Pot. From interviews and extensive research, Chandler pieces together a riveting account of the life of this inaccessible man who was alternately mild mannered, cultivated, and genocidal.... Highly recommended." -Library Journal In Cambodia's recent, tragic past, no figure looms larger or more ominously than that of Pol Pot. In this revised edition of the first book-length study of the man, the historian David P. Chandler throws light on the shadowy figure of Pol Pot, illuminating the ideas and behavior of this enigmatic man and his entourage against the background of post-World War II events, providing a key to understanding this horrific, pivotal period of Cambodian history.
Pol Pot by Philip Short
Publication Date: 2006-01-10
"The text sparkles with shrewdly plausible inferences mortared into a compelling narrative . . . [Short] is excellent at coining pithy summations of political motives that ring humanly true."--The New York Times Book Review(front page) Observing Pol Pot at close quarters during the one and only official visit he ever made abroad, to China in 1975, Philip Short was struck by the Cambodian leader's charm and charisma. Yet Pol Pot's utopian experiments in social engineering would result in the death of one in every five Cambodians--more than a million people. How did an idealistic dream of justice and prosperity mutate into one of humanity's worst nightmares? To answer these questions, Short traveled through Cambodia, interviewing former Khmer Rouge leaders and sifting through previously closed archives around the world. Key figures, including Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, Pol's brother-in-law and foreign minister, speak here for the first time. Short's masterly narrative serves as the definitive portrait of the man who headed one of the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of modern times. "Short chronicles the stages of the Cambodian revolution with admirable clarity . . . A few chilling details, expertly deployed, do the necessary work." --The New York Times "A spectacularly efficient job of describing what happened and why . . . A chillingly clear portrait." --The Economist
The Lost Executioner by Nic Dunlop
Publication Date: 2006-02-07
Nic Dunlopwas born in Ireland in 1969. His work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide. In 1999, he received an award for Excellence in International Journalism from Johns Hopkins for exposing the head of the Khmer Rouge secret police, Comrade Duch. Dunlop lives in Bangkok, Thailand. In Cambodia, between 1975 and 1979, some two million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Twenty years later, not one member had been held accountable for the genocide. Haunted by an image of one of them, Comrade Duch, photographer Nic Dunlop set out to bring him to life, and thereby to account. "I needed to understand how a movement that laid claim to a vision of a better world could instead produce a revolution of unparalleled ferocity; how a seemingly ordinary man from one of the poorer parts of Cambodia could turn into one of the worst mass murderers of the twentieth century:" Weaving seamlessly between past and present, Dunlop unfolds the history of Cambodia as a lens through which to understand its tragic last forty years. He makes clear how much responsibility the United States must share, through failed political alliances and the illegal bombing of Cambodia, for the bloodshed that followed. Guided by witnesses, Dunlop teases out the details of Duch's transformation from sensitive schoolchild and dedicated teacher to the revolutionary killer who later slipped quietly back into village life. From the temples of Angkor to the prisons of Pol Pot's regime, to his unexpected meeting with Duch himself, Dunlop's special vision as a photographer enlarges our own.The Lost Executioneris a blend of history and testimony—and a reminder that, whether in the killing fields of Cambodia or the deserts of Darfur, if we turn our backs on genocide, we must bear a collective guilt. "A harrowing book. The fact that the events described here are seen through the eyes of a photographer immeasurably invigorates his account of Cambodia's horrifying thirty-year war, and America's hapless involvement."—Gitta Sereny "Nic Dunlop's remarkable journey into the dark, suffering heart of Cambodia is a revelation."—John Pilger "A photographer/journalist charts the brutal, sanguinary history of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge and chases down one of its most savage officials, who now sits in prison awaiting trial. The kindless commandant of S-21, the most unforgiving of Khmer Rouge prisons, was a man of several names-Kaing Geuk Eav, his birth name; Comrade Duch, his Khmer Rouge name; Hang Pin, his name during his years in hiding, when he taught math and English in remote villages, declared himself saved by Jesus and worked for a relief agency. During his years as commandant, only a handful of prisoners survived. It's miraculous that any did. The methods of torture—60 lashes for urinating or defecating without permission, among them—bespeak both the vast dimensions of the terror and the unlimited abilities of people to imagine ways to torment one another. One of the most disturbing moments in Dunlop's narrative is an interview with a former prison guard whose lack of affect is both stunning and frightening. Many thousands died while in the care of Duch in ways horrible to imagine. Dunlop features interviews with victims and victimizers, including Duch himself, whom the author helped apprehend. Dunlop tells, as well, the sad recent history of Cambodia; at times, he is unable to restrain his disgust. He notes, for example, that the United Nations forces and bureaucrats, in the country in the early 1990s to supervise a cease-fire and monitor elections, spent $92 million on air-conditioned Land Cruisers for themselves but only $20 million on road and bridge repairs. Biography, memoir and history of unspeakable darkness."—Kirkus Reviews "Well written, harrowing, and blunt, this book is recommended."—Patti C. McCall,Library Journal "[A] measured but horrifying book, [and] a chronicle of [Dunlop's] dogged efforts to understand the carnage and bring about justice. With Duch at the book's core, the author (who worked in Cambodia throughout the '90s) weaves a contemporary account of a war-ravaged nation into the history of its ancient past and rumination on terror in the name of ideology. Dunlop also deepens his story with thoughtful—and very personal—commentary on photography and violence. In 1999, Dunlop found and confronted Duch, who voluntarily confessed to his role in the Khmer Rouge. Though Duch was then charged and imprisoned, he has not yet been brought to trial . . . Dunlop's personal quest for international justice holds the narrative together.—Publishers Weekly
Facing Death in Cambodia by Peter Maguire; Peter H. Maguire
Publication Date: 2005-03-30
The Khmer Rouge regime took control of Cambodia by force of arms, then committed the most brazen crimes since the Third Reich: at least 1.5 million people murdered between 1975 and 1979. Yet no individuals were ever tried or punished. This book is the story of Peter Maguire's effort to learn how Cambodia's "culture of impunity" developed, why it persists, and the failures of the "international community" to confront the Cambodian genocide. Written from a personal and historical perspective, Facing Death in Cambodia recounts Maguire's growing anguish over the gap between theories of universal justice and political realities. Maguire documents the atrocities and the aftermath through personal interviews with victims and perpetrators, discussions with international and NGO officials, journalistic accounts, and government sources gathered during a ten-year odyssey in search of answers. The book includes a selection of haunting pictures from among the thousands taken at the now infamous Tuol Sleng prison (also referred to as S-21), through which at least 14,000 men, women, and children passed?and from which fewer than a dozen emerged alive. What he discovered raises troubling questions: Was the Cambodian genocide a preview of the genocidal civil wars that would follow in the wake of the Cold War? Is international justice an attainable idea or a fiction superimposed over an unbearably dark reality? Did issues of political expediency allow Cambodian leaders to escape prosecution?The Khmer Rouge violated the Nuremberg Principles, the United Nations Charter, the laws of war, and the UN Genocide Convention. Yet in the decade after the regime's collapse, the perpetrators were rescued and rehabilitated-even rewarded-by China, Thailand, the United States, and the UN. According to Peter Maguire, Cambodia holds the key to understanding why recent UN interventions throughout the world have failed to prevent atrocities and to enforce treaties.
First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
Publication Date: 2006-04-04
From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit. One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed. Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.
Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor; Roger Warner (As told to)
Publication Date: 2003-12-26
Nothing has shaped my life as much as surviving the Pol Pot regime. I am a survivor of the Cambodian holocaust. That's who I am," says Haing Ngor. And in his memoir, Survival in the Killing Fields, he tells the gripping and frequently terrifying story of his term in the hell created by the communist Khmer Rouge. Like Dith Pran, the Cambodian doctor and interpreter whom Ngor played in an Oscar-winning performance in The Killing Fields, Ngor lived through the atrocities that the 1984 film portrayed. Like Pran, too, Ngor was a doctor by profession, and he experienced firsthand his country's wretched descent, under the Khmer Rouge, into senseless brutality, slavery, squalor, starvation, and disease -- all of which are recounted in sometimes unimaginable horror in Ngor's poignant memoir. Since the original publication of this searing personal chronicle, Haing Ngor's life has ended with his murder, which has never been satisfactorily solved. In an epilogue written especially for this new edition, Ngor's coauthor, Roger Warner, offers a glimpse into this complex, enigmatic man's last years -- years that he lived "like his country: scarred, and incapable of fully healing."
When Broken Glass Floats by Chanrithy Him
Publication Date: 2001-04-17
In this mesmerizing story, finalist for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, Chanrithy Him vividly recounts her trek through the hell of the "killing fields." She gives us a child's-eye view of a Cambodia where rudimentary labor camps for both adults and children are the norm and modern technology no longer exists. Death becomes a companion in the camps, along with illness. Yet through the terror, the members of Chanrithy's family remain loyal to one another, and she and her siblings who survive will find redeemed lives in America. 15 b/w photographs.