Synopses & Reviews
The text sparkles with shrewdly plausible inferences mortared into a compelling narrative . . . Short] is excellent at coining pithy summations of political motives that ring humanly true.--The New York Times Book Review (front page)
Observing Pol Pot at close quarters during the one and only official visit he ever made abroad, to China in 1975, Philip Short was struck by the Cambodian leader's charm and charisma. Yet Pol Pot's utopian experiments in social engineering would result in the death of one in every five Cambodians--more than a million people.
How did an idealistic dream of justice and prosperity mutate into one of humanity's worst nightmares? To answer these questions, Short traveled through Cambodia, interviewing former Khmer Rouge leaders and sifting through previously closed archives around the world. Key figures, including Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, Pol's brother-in-law and foreign minister, speak here for the first time.
Short's masterly narrative serves as the definitive portrait of the man who headed one of the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of modern times.
Short chronicles the stages of the Cambodian revolution with admirable clarity . . . A few chilling details, expertly deployed, do the necessary work. --The New York Times
A spectacularly efficient job of describing what happened and why . . . A chillingly clear portrait. --The Economist
Philip Short investigates Pol Pot's rule of Cambodia, when a fifth of the population died through execution or hunger and disease.