Alive in the Killing Fields

Alive in the Killing Fields

Surviving the Khmer Rouge Genocide

Book - 2009
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The story of Nawuth Keat who survived the invasion of Cambodia by Khmer Rogue rebels. He lived through physical abuse, hunger, and terrible living conditions, but family gave him strength.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781426305153
Characteristics: 127 p., [4] p. of plates : col. ill., col. map ; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Kendall, Martha

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Sep 09, 2015

The description is fairly accurate though it errors in stating that the Khmer Rouges invaded Nawuth's homeland. Nawuth is Khmer along with most Cambodians. The Khmer Rouges were the communist rebels that together with the help of Vietnam over threw the Cambodian government. They were the winners in Cambodia's civil war they were not invaders from another country.
So the way they treated their own people is perhaps the most shocking part of this story of all.
Nawuth is a name he takes later as he begins his new life in America. Through out the story he is known by his nickname Mop.
From the start Mop was very resourceful; though only nine years old and shot numerous times with one bullet nearly missing his liver and his left elbow shattered by another bullet, Mop pretended to be dead as he lay there in that ditch with his dead mother and siblings including his baby sister that his mother had held tightly when the bullet passed through her baby then into her own heart killing them both instantly with the same bullet. Mop remained motionless as the Khmer Rouges jumped into the ditch and kicked at the bodies to make sure they were all dead. When they kicked Mop's head he let it flop then when they kicked it again he let it flop again.
Satisfied that everyone was dead the Khmer Rouges went in search of more victims.
Contrary to what the description says Mop did not lose both parents in that first attack.
As his family was being massacred in that ditch Mop's father hid helpless in the dark in some nearby bushes. This was not cowardice he knew that if he revealed himself to the Khmer Rouges he also would simple have been killed as well all he could do was hope someone may have survived and then he could help them after the Khmer Rouges departed.
A Cambodian doctor was able to save Mop's left arm by crudely reconstructing his destroyed elbow and setting it at a natural bend since it would never bend again but an arm that does not bend at the elbow is much better than no arm.
At first Mop's father tried to keep the farm going.
Then he was warned that the Khmer Rouges were going to kill him. He fled to the jungle to hide out and there using his considerable jungle survival skill he lived with Mop soon joining him. For a long time they lived a primitive but peaceful life sending gifts of wild honey to the Khmer Rouges in hopes of appeasing them.
Eventually Mop left the jungle and rejoined the rest of his family in their enslavement by the Khmer Rouges.
Sometime after that Mop's father also was mudered by the Khmer Rouges. Though he easily might have continued to elude them he had finally surrendered to them in hopes they would spare his family. He sacrificed his life to try to save his remaining family.
But Mop was not completely orphaned his elder sister and brother-in-law took on the role of head of the family.
Though only 20 years old himself Mop's brother-in-law Van Lan repeatedly uses cunning and surprising resourcefullness to keep his family alive.
A surprising error to find in a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC book is in the picture section next to the caption that says he and his father survived in the jungle is a photo not of jungle at all but of giant palm plants called Nipa palms. These palm plants are grown agriculturally threw out Southeast Asia and are in fact the source of the palm thatch roofing material used to make cheap but effective roofs in these impoverished tropical countries.

Sep 24, 2014

great for all ages if you're up for some not great history 12+
is what i'd say


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