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Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare

By Philip Short

"The textual content glints with shrewdly believable inferences mortared right into a compelling narrative . . . [Short] is great at coining pithy summations of political factors that ring humanly true."―The ny instances ebook overview (front page)

gazing Pol Pot at shut quarters through the one and in basic terms legitimate stopover at he ever made in another country, to China in 1975, Philip brief was once struck through the Cambodian leader's attraction and air of secrecy. but Pol Pot's utopian experiments in social engineering could lead to the loss of life of 1 in each 5 Cambodians―more than one million humans.
How did an idealistic dream of justice and prosperity mutate into one among humanity's worst nightmares? to reply to those questions, brief traveled via Cambodia, interviewing former Khmer Rouge leaders and sifting via formerly closed documents all over the world. Key figures, together with Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, Pol's brother-in-law and overseas minister, communicate right here for the 1st time.
Short's masterly narrative serves because the definitive portrait of the guy who headed essentially the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of recent times.

"Short chronicles the phases of the Cambodian revolution with admirable readability . . . a couple of chilling information, expertly deployed, do the required work." ―The long island Times

"A spectacularly effective activity of describing what occurred and why . . . A chillingly transparent portrait." ―The Economist

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A warren of slender lanes and dwellings, drowsing quarters and refectories encircles the temple right, which stands, hidden in a grove of banyan and palm timber, beside mammoth grey-blue stupas. rookies, in indian crimson gowns, squat among the homes, doing washing, getting ready rice for the clergymen’ lunch, shouting, combating, ribbing lay neighbors who've come to go to. at some point, the jobs could be reversed: the younger acolytes will rejoin the workaday global open air, and their buddies becomes rookies of their position. The wat is a revolving door, a spot of continuing interchange among the hustle and bustle of town and Cambodians’ internal longing for non secular unencumber via ritual and meditation. every year a few hundred young children, among seven and twelve years previous, have been despatched there to be initiated into the mysteries of the Triple Jewel and the Eightfold course and, scarcely less significant, to profit to learn and write in Khmer. the bulk, like Sâr, have been from the nation-state, yet there have been additionally boys from aristocratic families, introduced by means of their mom and dad for a couple of months to fulfil a spiritual legal responsibility. Many have been desperately homesick. Nhep remembered feeling wretched after being packed off to Phnom Penh. but when Sâr overlooked his father and mother he by no means noted it. to the contrary, in later years he reminisced fondly in regards to the time he had spent on the wat, even on a variety of events falsifying his biography to make it appear that he had stayed there longer than used to be truly the case. It used to be a crucially very important formative interval. Monastic self-discipline used to be strict. As a beginner, Sâr used to be a part of a rigidly ordered group within which, as in all conventional Cambodian associations, together with the court docket and the Royal Ballet, originality and initiative have been discouraged, the least deviation used to be punished and the best advantage lay in unquestioning obedience to triumphing orthodoxy. Nhun Nhget, later abbot of Botum Vaddei, was once between Sâr’s contemporaries: In these days, in case you got here to the wat as a amateur, you needed to learn for 3 months earlier than you have been allowed to put on the gown. You have been taught the etiquette of a monk: how one can wear the gown; tips on how to converse; easy methods to stroll; the way to positioned your fingers jointly to teach admire . . . and also you got a thrashing if you happen to didn’t do as they acknowledged. for those who didn’t stroll safely, you have been crushed. You needed to stroll quietly and slowly, with no making any sound together with your ft, and also you weren’t allowed to swing your palms. You needed to circulation serenely. You needed to research through center in pali the principles of behavior and the [Buddhist] precepts so to recite them with out hesitation; for those who hesitated, you have been crushed. the men had dormitories in their personal, become independent from these of the older priests. They rose at four a. m. , lit sticks of incense and made obeisance to the Buddha, the legislations and the Clergy. Then for 2 hours they recited sutras, led via a senior monk, sooner than doing their assigned chores — sweeping the temple courtyard, and cooking the rice for breakfast. After extra hours spent memorising the scriptures, they observed the priests to beg alms, repeating silently to themselves an impetration in pali to subdue the self.

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