First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers 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 SpiritOne 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 , 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 DestroyedHarrowing 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

An author, lecturer, and activist, Loung Ung has advocated for equality, human rights, and justice in her native land and worldwide for than fifteen years Ung lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband.

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  • Paperback
  • 238 pages
  • First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
  • Loung Ung
  • English
  • 10 September 2019
  • 9780060856267

10 thoughts on “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

  1. says:

    There are some things left unlearned from history books You can read about the Cambodian genocide from many other sources that will explain the facts and statistics in the traditional sterile style that historic texts usually take You can actually witness the places and things that history has left behind And then, you can dive into personal accounts of history how humanity struggles to survive during some of its darkest hours While I am usually a sucker for auto biographical works for the above reason, I have never been held so captive by a book in all my life I ve read many other survivor accounts from other historical periods, but this one disturbed me to no end such a young child, such horrible atrocities being committed, witnessed, remembered I could never imagine walking in her shoes at her age Her story will haunt me forever.I found that as the hours passed after I began the book, I could not go to sleep without finishing the story, without making sure this child would make it out alright Of course we know she does survive, how else would the book be written, but I read on as if her life depended on reading the very last word I finished it just as the sun started to rise and spent those first beautiful rays in complete thanksgiving how lucky are we, who have lived so well, to be able to learn from those who have not had that chance.

  2. says:

    On a recent trip to Cambodia I got to witness it s rich culture, lush landscapes and delicious, delicious food At every turn I also saw the remnants of a painful past I spent a hot afternoon walking through the Tuel Sleng Genocide Museum, having my breath taken away as I walked from room to room, each worse than the last In one section of the former prison, I walked into a hastily made brick cell and felt so instantly claustrophobic I had to run out into the open air.The pictures, informational plaques and even the conversation, held via hand gestures, with a former prisoner couldn t help me grasp the genocide that occurred not that long ago Later I went to Choeng Ek, the most in famous of the killing fields I walked up to, around and even in the commemorative stupa that had been built to honor the murdered and to hold their remains Seeing children s skulls display evidence of so much violence with the cracks, dents and bullet holes broke my heart Walking through the grounds and stepping on peoples bones and clothing remnants that were making their way up through the dirt Knowing that every year the rains would bring up remains How do people make peace with that How do they move on Loung Ung lived through the genocide and has carried on her life by teaching others about what happened, helping them to survive the atrocities that seems to keep happening around the world In her memoir First They Killed My Father A daughter of Cambodia remembers she tells of the Cambodia genocide from the eyes of a child This perspective that makes what happened all the heart wrenching but also makes the facts easier to understand I use that word loosely, because I can never understand why what happened did, but I want to, need to, understand the facts of what did happen Genocide is such a big concept The Cambodia genocide was so messy, political, based on a series of events that made it possible A child s memory strips out all of the extraneous facts and delivers only what they know In her memoir, she inserts the historical facts necessary to keep her story moving, but she inserts them as dialogue from her father delivered to her History as would be explained to a small child doesn t include the political intricacies that make our world so confusing For this, I was grateful to Ung Her tale helped me establish some basic knowledge from which I can expand with future reading A quick read, First They Killed My Father A daughter of Cambodia remembers is the kind of book you start reading and don t want to put down It s a great introduction to anyone interested in visiting Cambodia, learning about their history or learning about genocide in general.

  3. says:

    I read this memoir of Loung Ung on the heels of A Fine Balance, and I must say, now I need to read something light and joyful to regain a little balance of my own Of course, we all knew, secondhand, what was happening in Cambodia in the 1970s We heard horrifying tales of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot s killing fields But, hearing such news from a reporter, and hearing the account of a victim, are entirely different experiences I marvel at the resilience of people who endure such atrocities I wonder at the cruel nature of those who follow such a man and commit such acts Loung Ung s account is all the poignant because her four year trial began at the age of five An age when we do not let our children cross the street on their own Watching soldiers march her father away to his death was not even the worst thing she witnessed The hatred she so rightfully felt toward the Khmer Rouge and the soldiers of that regime must have been beyond imagination, and must easily have influenced every day of her life since How horrible to have so much to want revenge for and no one to hold accountable or way to render any semblance of justice I couldn t help chronicling my own life alongside hers When she was being ripped from her life in Phnom Penh and put onto a road of starvation and hard labor, I was graduating college and agonizing over making a good career choice When she was being delivered from the refugee camps in Thailand to a future in Vermont, I was getting married and embarking on a new life of my own Between those two events, she endured the unimaginable and I failed to fully appreciate the golden blessings of my own good fortune.It is important that we read these kinds of accounts They enrich our understanding of our own position in the world and they remind us why it is important that we pay attention and care about what is happening beyond our own lives and our own borders.

  4. says:

    A riveting but harrowing account of a young Cambodian girl who s innocent idyllic childhood is swiftly obliterated by the invasion of the Khmer Rouge.Loung at 5 years old and one of seven children shares her traumatic story of the 4 years spent under the terrifying Khmer Rouge reign trying to survive after her family are forced to flee their home in Cambodia s capital Phnom Penh in 1975, it details all the devastating hardships from being forced to live in a labour camp, starvation, disease and learning to become a child soldier, and then navigating dangerous landmine terrain to reunite with her family The story is relentless, the bravery of these kids having to endure hunger, being separated from parents and siblings watching some of her family being taken away only to be led to their death, it reminds you that no child should ever have to deal with the devastation of genocide, the loss of human life for political purposes is truly one of the hardest things to read about The book reminds me how lucky I am to have been immune to such horrors in my lifetime but it s also equally important to hear these stories and learn about the true testament of the human spirit, the courage and the fight to live and survive is truly amazing What an amazing account, and what a brave, strong and tenacious girl she was, many people died and weren t so lucky to escape.I m so glad Loung lived to share her tale and how she was able to find a purpose with her mission in life to educate and inform by becoming a human rights activist and also the national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World.

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  6. says:

    I feel the need to explain why I ended up giving this one three stars I expected to come out of this with no less than a four star review Ung s suffering under the Khmer Rouge is long and both physically and mentally painful I learned a lot about the Cambodian Genocide at least from the point of view of a child I always wanted to keep reading and was invested in her and her family s story That being said, the pacing had me all over the place and the writing was okay I felt a little lost and confused like I was missing parts of the story that became relevant later on Part of this is because the story is being told from the perspective of a 5 8 year old and, understandably, she doesn t comprehend everything that s happening around her, but it could have benefited from information concerning the larger picture Choosing to tell her story the way she did had drawbacks than benefits in my opinion The writing was great in certain spots and then really bad in others Enough to make me question what the editors were thinking when they read it words missing, words repeated in the same sentence, bad sentence structure , though this only seemed to be an issue toward the end I m a bit disappointed I was expecting to get out of this memoir than I did The book isn t that long She easily could have expanded on certain things and still kept the book at a reasonable length It has made me want to read and understand about the Cambodian Genocide, but part of that is because I was left lacking explanations.

  7. says:

    I visited SE Asia this year visiting S 21 prison the Killing Fields moved me than anything else I saw this book moved me than anything else I read this year No child should suffer what Loung does and she doesn t flinch from telling things that show her in a less than favourable light but if she hadn t been an extremely tough five year old, she would never have survived view spoiler in one of the few funny lines in the book, Loung says she doesn t know how her far softer sister did hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Mit diesem Buch habe ich meine A Z Autorinnenchallenge abgeschlossen und ich habe es nicht bereut Urspr nglich wollte ich ja ein anders lesen, aber das andere l sst sich auch hervorragend in die 2019er Eu Autorinnenchallenge einbauen.Dieses Werk habe ich gew hlt, weil ein Lesefreund mich darauf aufmerksam gemacht hat und weil ich am Schauplatz der autobiografischen Geschichte berall im Jahr 2015 war Killing Fields, Pnom Penh, Die Gef ngnisse, Tonle Sap der Norden Kambodschas Auch durfte ich einem anderen, sehr alten berlebenden des Foltergef ngnisses in Pnom Penh die Hand sch tteln und ihm seine Biografie abkaufen Doch nun von der Motivation zum Werk selbst Stilistisch ist es doch etwas verwirrend gestrickt, weil die Autorin Pr sens und Ich Form eines kleinen M dchens, der Protagonistin, gew hlt hat, die dann aber nicht immer authentisch kindgerecht sondern oft wie eine erwachsene Schriftstellerin formuliert Bei jedem komplexen Wort teilweise pr sentiert die Autorin einen ausnehmend komplexen Sprachschatz und bei den fter eingestreuten Konjunktivsatzkonstruktionen hat es mich als Leserin gesch ttelt, weil dieser Stil so ambivalent und definitiv verwirrend ist wenn so etws ein 5 9 j hriges M dchen formuliert.Trotz dieser zugegebenerma en ernsteren stilistischen M ngel hat Luong Ung aber etwas Wichtiges zu erz hlen Die Geschichte der Familie ist herzzerrei end, im Wohlstand beginnend und anschlie end gepr gt von permanenter Flucht, Hunger, Krankheit und Tod, erst stirbt die die Schwester, dann werden Vater und Mutter von den Soldaten abgeholt und erschossen Anschie end irren drei voneinander getrennte minderj hrige Kinder durch die Lager, finden sich zuf llig wieder und machen sich auf, ihre restlichen erwachsenen Geschwister zu suchen.Auch die Beschreibungen der Landschaft, der Leute und der Situationen sind plastisch realistisch und eindr cklich, das kann die Luong Ung sehr gut Pnom Penh war 2015 genauso, wie die Autorin die Stadt 1975 so anschaulich geschildert hat Hat sich fast gar nix ge ndert, bis auf ein paar Hochh user als Hotels Auch ein paar Gedenkst tten als Lager habe ich gesehen und darin nat rlich auch die Zeitdokumente der Insassen Diese stimmen mit meinen Eindr cken deckungsgleich berein.Das Thema der Kindersoldaten ist zudem ein spannender Aspekt in der Geschichte dieses Krieges der Roten Khmer gegen ihre eigene Bev lkerung Auch wenn die Protagonistin als junges M dchen zwar nicht authentisch formuliert, da sie in der Ich Form von einem kleinen M dchen gesprochen werden, findet das erwachsene Ich der Autorin aber dennoch sehr weise Worte, die sie kurz und knackig auf den Punkt bringt Seine Regierung hat ein rachgieriges, blutd rstiges Volk geschaffen Pol Pot hat aus mir ein kleines M dchen gemacht, das t ten will Eines sollte noch gesagt werden Diese Familiengeschichte ist harter Tobak und nichts f r zarte Gem ter, dennoch sollten wir auch auf einen solchen grausamen Krieg eigentlich ja nur Konflikt in einem Land hinschauen Fazit Weil mir pers nlich die Geschichte, die erz hlt wird, immer wichtiger ist als die formale Struktur, bin ich ber die Erz hlkonstruktion sehr schnell hinweggekommen, und weil es zudem an sprachlich ausgereiften S tzen berhaupt nicht gemangelt hat Deshalb vergebe ich 3,5 Sterne, die ich leichten Herzens gerne auf 4 Sterne aufrunden m chte.P.S Die Biografie ist 2017 von Angelina Jolie als Regisseurin verfilmt worden und war 2018 f r den Auslandsoscar nomiert L uft bei uns in sterreich in den Programmkinos

  9. says:

    Ein autobiografisches Buch, in welchem ein Mensch seine Traumata der Kindheit aufarbeitet, in einem Land, in dem einer der schrecklichsten Genozide der j ngeren Vergangenheit stattfand, ist schwer zu bewerten bzw zu kritisieren Per se ist der Mut, die Willensst rke, die Tapferkeit und das Leid, was diesen Menschen ausmacht, f nf Sterne wert Aber ich will ja nicht den Autor und sein Leben beurteilen, sondern das gerade beendete Buch, welches zwar interessant zu lesen war, aber auch so viele Ungereimtheiten aufwies Loung Ung schreibt ihre Kindheitserlebnisse, die sie zwischen ihrem 5 bis 10 Lebensjahr in Kambodscha im Pr sens Warum weigert sich ein Autor Vergangenes in der Vergangenheit zu schreiben Soll dies authentischer klingen oder bewegender oder unmittelbarer Soll der Leser das Gef hl haben, dass er beim Erz hlen ber das Abschlachten durch die Roten Khmer er quasi mitten im Geschehen ist Mich irritiert so etwas ungemein, genauso wie die Sprache, die dieses Kind spricht Ung verwendet die meiste Zeit eine kurze, pr gnante Sprache, die recht kindgerecht wirkt, aber immer wieder schleichen sich dann S tze und vor allem Ausdr cke in die Erz hlung, die absolut nicht kindgerecht sind Zudem kann sich kein Mensch derart detailliert an seine fr he Kindheit erinnern, wo ich wieder beim Thema bin Wieviel Fiktion steckt in einer Autobiografie Leider werde ich aufgrund der Erz hlweise den Eindruck nicht los, dass viele Erfundenes und Ausgeschm cktes die Schilderungen der kleinen Loung zieren Und das ist schade, denn mein Neugierde bez glich der schrecklichen historischen Begebenheit giert nach Fakten, und so ertappte ich mich, dass ich nicht mehr wusste, ob das nun real oder fiktiv war, was ich gelesen habe Das mag ein ganz pers nliches Problem von mir sein Andere Leser m gen sich von derartigen gef hlsbetonten Autobiografien angesprochener f hlen F r mich w re ein mit Abstand erz hlter R ckblick einer Betroffenen mit geschichtlichen Hintergr nden wohl besser Die Autorin ist beispielsweise Aktivisten gegen Landminen, doch hierzu geht das Buch gar nicht ein Auch ist mein Interesse ber die Beweggr nde f r die Schreckensherrschaft der Roten Khmer nach dem Buch eher geweckt, als gestillt Und abschlie end noch eine Ohrfeige f r den Fischer Verlag, denn wieder einmal bekommt der deutsche Leser einen gef hlsschwangeren Buchtitel pr sentiert, der sich kaum im Buch widerspiegelt und meines Erachtens nur auf der Emo Schiene den Verkauf f rdern soll Es geht Ung wirklich sehr selten um Hoffnung, es geht ihr meist um Rache, Zorn, Wut, Vergeltung und Hass Das meine ich nicht abwertend, sondern hierf r habe ich nachdem, was dieses arme M dchen erlebt hat, absolut Verst ndnis, nachdem die Eltern und zwei Schwestern umgebracht wurden Und daher ist auch der Originaltitel First They Killed My Father so treffend Aber so einen Titel kann man offensichtlich dem deutschen B chermarkt nicht zumuten Fehlte nur noch, dass man eine Lotusbl ten mit einem Schmetterling auf das Cover platzierte.Auch wenn ich vieles an dem Buch nicht stimmig f r mich fand, bin ich doch sehr froh es gelesen zu haben und w rde es trotzdem unbedingt weiterempfehlen Insofern ist meine Rezension genauso unstimmig wie das Buch selbst.

  10. says:

    Read for Tales Co Review originally posted on A Skeptical Reader.First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung is a memoir of the author s childhood living under the Pol Pot regime It opens right before the Khmer Rouge army storms into Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Ung s family has to abandon their home and belongings overnight and ends with her migration to the United States Encapsulated within is the story of a young Chinese Cambodian girl who survived a genocide that exterminated millions of her people.As I had no previous knowledge of this event, the dreadful title of the memoir kept my stomach in knots as my mind constantly speculated over when such tragedies would come to an end, or if they would at all Not helped by the fact that the tortures inflicted on the author and her family are relentless and without mercy Living under an oppressive regime where all individuality is stripped is scary enough but the consistent humiliations and threat of annihilation synthesized a dystopian society in my head unlike any other Last year I d read The Rape of Nanking and while that book is a textbook autopsy of war crimes, horrors that have been speculated to be the cause for the author s suicide, First They Killed My Father somehow felt even devastating because a young child stood at the center screaming for justice.The memoir is somewhat fictionalized with snippets of dream like imaginations from the young Ung It s debatable whether these scenes are a reaction to the trauma inflicted upon her or some other underlying psychological condition I m not a huge fan of creative nonfiction so I don t care about having to question the validity of the way a nonfiction narrative unfolds, however, in this case, I didn t object to Ung s approach to storytelling The fictionalized events read like self inflicted wounds but perhaps awarded the author some therapy I must allow as an interloper.If you have even the slightest appreciation for engaging memoirs, First They Killed My Father is a must read If not for the fact that it reads like fiction then to educate oneself about one of the most sickening genocides in modern history.

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