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
"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)
Yes. it was a difficult read, so I had to pick it up and put it down, but it was captivating and tragic.
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.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
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...
the whole story -a recall of a terrible time
the most tragic was when they took her father away, very very moving!
it made me appreciate the wonderful live I have and how easily this could be taken away1
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!
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....
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+
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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
A very touching and descriptive tale of a child's experience of the war in cambodia. Well told and beautifully written.
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