The Gate
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The Gate

3.81 (643 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In 1971, on a routine outing through the Cambodian countryside, the young French ethnologist Fran-ois Bizot is captured by the Khmer Rouge. Accused of being an agent of 'American imperialism', he is chained and imprisoned. His captor, Douch - later responsible for tens of thousands of deaths - interrogates him at length; after three months of torturous deliberation, during which his every word was weighed and his life hung in the balance, he was released. Four years later, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. Fran-ois Bizot became the official intermediary between the ruthless conqueror and the terrified refugees behind the gate of the French embassy: a ringside seat to one of history's most appalling genocides. Written thirty years later, Fran-ois Bizot's memoir of his horrific experiences in the 'killing fields' of Cambodia is, in the words of John le Carr-, a 'contemporary classic'.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 22mm | 222.26g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • maps
  • 0099449196
  • 9780099449195
  • 108,715

Flap copy

In 1971 a young French ethnologist named Francois Bizot was taken prisoner by forces of the Khmer Rouge who kept him chained in a jungle camp for months before releasing him. Four years later Bizot became the intermediary between the now victorious Khmer Rouge and the occupants of the besieged French embassy in Phnom Penh, eventually leading a desperate convoy of foreigners to safety across the Thai border. Out of those ordeals comes this transfixing book. At its center lies the relationship between Bizot and his principal captor, a man named Douch, who is today known as the most notorious of the Khmer Rouge's torturers but who, for a while, was Bizot's protector and friend. Written with the immediacy of a great novel, unsparing in its understanding of evil, The Gate manages to be at once wrenching and redemptive.show more

Review quote

"A harrowing narrative, worthy of a novel by Graham Greene or John le Carre... [It] possesses the indelible power of a survivor's testimony." --"The New York Times" "It possesses such truth of feeling, such clarity and conviction of narrative, such a wealth of image and adventure, and such depths of long-held passion that I do believe it is indeed that rarest thing: a classic." - John le Carre, from the Foreword "A deeply unsettling account of a particular ordeal that suggests larger questions: the moralities of power's ends and means, the character of revolutionary fanaticism and the indecipherable humanity that flickers within it. . . . by turns evocative, wise and crisscrossed by fury." "- The New York Times Book Review ""[A] fascinating book, to say the least. Passages of The Gate are riveting, some scenes heartbreaking." -"The Wall Street Journal"show more

About Francois Bizot

Fran-ois Bizot is a French ethnologist who has spent the greater part of his career studying Buddhism. He is the Director of Studies at the -cole Pratique des Hautes--tudes and holds the chair in South-East-Asian Buddhism at the Sorbonne.show more

Rating details

643 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 26% (168)
4 38% (246)
3 28% (182)
2 6% (39)
1 1% (8)
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