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First They Killed My Father Audiobook

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2000 Loung Ung (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Ung's memoir should serve as a reminder that some history is best not left just to historians but to those left standing when the terror ends." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (177 )
5 star
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4.3 (151 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-31-12
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-31-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An eye-opening look into an unknown world"
    Would you listen to First They Killed My Father again? Why?

    Yes. it was a difficult read, so I had to pick it up and put it down, but it was captivating and tragic.


    Have you listened to any of Tavia Gilbert’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I have... but I will have to check out more of her material; she did an amazing job on this one.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 01-27-15
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 01-27-15 Member Since 2016

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brutal, Heartbreaking"

    The trials held against some of the last surviving perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide this past October really had me interested in looking into some of books out there on the subject. After listening to the deplorable "Soul of a Tiger," "First They Killer My Father" was so hard hitting as to be almost unbearable. It's extraordinary the way Loung Ung's character develops from a naive, whiny child (whiny because she hasn't a clue as to how dangerous the situation is) to a desperate individual who would do anything to survive, even if it means stealing food, killing sparrows, whatever. This is starvation and desperation at its most devastating.
    This is not a light listen, but it's a good one. Just be prepared for some heartbreak, some hopelessness. But some love there too.
    That said, you'll never think of earthworms the same way again...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Gawler, Australia 10-09-12
    Michael Gawler, Australia 10-09-12
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    "excellent and very moving true story"
    What did you love best about First They Killed My Father?

    the whole story -a recall of a terrible time


    What other book might you compare First They Killed My Father to and why?

    nothing compares


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the most tragic was when they took her father away, very very moving!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    most definetly!


    Any additional comments?

    it made me appreciate the wonderful live I have and how easily this could be taken away1

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Point Clare, Australia 01-03-12
    Mark Point Clare, Australia 01-03-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Amazing, heartbreaking - A must read!"

    The atrocities surrounding events in this book sound like they should be deep in our past; however they were merely 30 years ago. This is an amazing and heartbreaking story told from the inside through the eyes of an intelligent young girl. I have recommended this book to many family and friends. It really does show all sides of human nature and opens your eyes to what people are capable of. A must read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rachel 02-18-16
    rachel 02-18-16 Member Since 2013
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    "simply beautiful"

    very touching book. gave a very good overview of the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia. I would absolutely recommend the read or the listen of this order book....

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christa 02-07-16
    Christa 02-07-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great and harrowing story of survival"

    I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. The only thing that I wish there had been was more historical and factual information about the reign of pol pot. As far as a first person memoir in an event like this, this book was well told and easy to listen to. I will have my kids listen to this when they are old enough. Because of details of rape, I would say 13+

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley 02-17-15
    Ashley 02-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Moving story of survival"

    Could not stop listening to this chilling true story of strength and survival. Great novel!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ari New York, NY, United States 05-17-16
    Ari New York, NY, United States 05-17-16 Member Since 2014

    NYC

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard Truths to Take In"

    This was a first person account of a brutal period of history. The small anecdotes about what life was like provided a reality that many academic historical more theoretical do not provide. If you are looking for the historical context and theories about why Pol Pot came to power this is not the book for that. What it does provide is a clear and concise honesty about what life was like on the ground. Using Wikipedia as a companion one can help piece together many answers to the many of the basic historical questions that I had. I felt that the first person perspective was very refreshing vs many of the nonfiction historical books that I read. Great performance as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 04-22-16
    Deborah 04-22-16
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    "Intense story...."
    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I have a problem with the narration of this book. She has a fantastic voice and speaks clearly, but the problem is I can't relate to her "voice" as the voice of this woman who suffered so much trauma. I think it's important to create a relationship between the narrators voice and the story they are telling. I think this is overlooked often and it doesn't do justice to the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrell Foley 04-07-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Gripping and personal account of the Khmer Rouge"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Having visited Cambodia and toured some historical sites, this story offers an important perspective to the genocide, bridging the event with the people who experienced it first hand.


    Any additional comments?

    A must for people who plan on visiting Cambodia. Since it's such a recent moment in history, the effects of the even ripple to today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • GRAHAMBELL1981
    Sheffield
    5/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mind bogling. "

    Hard to listen to in places. A diary of a most shameful period in human history. Important that it is known and learned from.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • BB
    3/2/16
    Overall
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    "Extremely emotional but amazingly compelling."

    The story is incredible touching, it made me cry which normally never happens. The narrator was clear to listen to, the information of the story helps to give a clear picture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ccunlif1
    2/23/16
    Overall
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    Story
    "Amazing. A truly haunting book."

    My wife put me into this book, she read it before a visit to Cambodia. 2 months after her return we have planned a trip there together and stated it was useful insight into the time. She would tell me it was such a difficult book to read as she had to keep stopping as she would begin to cry. I echo those words.
    Genocide on such a scale a relative short time ago and the fact that I had no real idea it had occurred scares me.
    This is a well documented book that tells a story of lives and those around them. Sadly there are many more that will never be told.
    To the author and all those who suffered. A fitting tribute. My thanks for opening my eyes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • shona
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    A very touching and descriptive tale of a child's experience of the war in cambodia. Well told and beautifully written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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