In recent history, atrocities have often been committed in the
name of lofty ideals. One of the most disturbing examples took
place in Cambodia's Killing Fields, where tens of thousands of
victims were executed and hastily disposed of by Khmer Rouge
cadres. Nearly thirty years after these bloody purges, two
journalists entered the jungles of Cambodia to uncover secrets
still buried there.
Based on more than 1,000 hours of interviews with the top surviving
Khmer Rouge leader, Nuon Chea, Behind the Killing Fields
follows the journey of a man who began as a dedicated freedom
fighter and wound up accused of crimes against humanity. Known as
Brother Number 2, Chea was Pol Pot's top lieutenant. He is now in
prison, facing prosecution in a United Nations-Cambodian tribunal
for his actions during the Khmer Rouge rule, when more than two
million Cambodians died. The book traces how the seeds of the
Killing Fields were sown and what led one man to believe that mass
killing was necessary for the greater good.
Coauthor Sambath Thet, a Khmer Rouge survivor, shares his personal
perspectives on the murderous regime and how some victims have
managed to rebuild their lives. The stories of Nuon Chea and
Sambath Thet collide when the two meet. While Thet holds Chea
responsible for the death of his parents and brother, he strives
for understanding over revenge in order to reveal the forces that
destroyed his homeland in the name of creating utopia.
In this age of suicide bombers and terror alerts, the world is
still at a loss to comprehend the violence of zealots. Behind the
Killing Fields bravely confronts this challenge in an exclusive
portrait of one man's political madness and another's personal
Subjects: Political Science
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