Pol Pot

Pol Pot : The History of a Nightmare

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Pol Pot was an idealistic, reclusive figure with great charisma and personal charm. He initiated a revolution whose radical egalitarianism exceeded any other in history. But in the process, Cambodia desended into madness and his name became a byword for oppression. In the three-and-a-half years of his rule, more than a million people, a fifth of Cambodia's population, were executed or died from hunger and disease. A supposedly gentle, carefree land of slumbering temples and smiling peasants became a concentration camp of the mind, a slave state in which absolute obedience was enforced on the 'killing fields'. Why did it happen? How did an idealistic dream of justice and prosperity mutate into one of humanity's worst nightmares? Philip Short, the biographer of Mao, has spent four years travelling the length of Cambodia, interviewing surviving leaders of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge movement and sifting through previously closed archives. Here, the former Khmer Rouge Head of State, Pol's brother-in-law and scores of lesser figures speak for the first time at length about their beliefs and motives.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 40mm | 421.84g
  • John Murray General Publishing Division
  • John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 24 pages of b/w
  • 0719565693
  • 9780719565694
  • 88,606

Review quote

An extraordinary and brilliant book ... Like a clever and determined detective, Short has exposed the secrets, knitting together a story which it once seemed would never be told. The result is horrifying, but it must be read. Scotland on Sunday A superb, chilling, yet human portrait of a monster Simon Sebag Montefiore, Daily Telegraph A model of research ... an intelligent and compassionate account of the Cambodian nightmare Spectator His weighty book, which is as much a history of modern Cambodia as a biography of the man who shaped it, [is written with] with great discretion and sensitivity ... As well as a model of research, this is an intelligent and compassionate account of the Cambodian nightmare. The Spectator 'The first full biography of the man who led Cambodia into darkness.' - Sue Baker Publishing News Like a clever and determined detective, Short has exposed the secrets ... The result is horrifying, but it must be read Scotland on Sunday Short has written the definitive account of the nightmarish regime of 1975-1978, responsible for the deaths of some 1.5 million Cambodians. Contemporary Review Brings clear thinking to the big questions of blame Sunday Times Short succeeds in building a complete, compelling portrait of the man Herald Comprehensive and eloquent biography of a monster Literary Review Short unerringly broadens the inquiry to the point where serious history begins, and serious judgements can be made Financial Times Short's brilliantly detailed account is a salutary one Sunday Herald Riveting Scotsman Philip Short has done a spectacularly efficient job of describing what happened, and how Economist Exhaustive and authoritative Times Literary Supplement Short has made a Herculean effort to reconstruct the past. Telegraph, Robert Colville. The result is a searching account Sunday Times

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About Philip Short

Philip Short was for many years a foreign correspondent for the BBC, and now lives and writes in southern France. He first encountered Pol Pot in Beijing in 1977. His last book, Mao: A Life, has been hailed as the definitive biography of the founder of modern China.

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