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Publishers Weekly -In this disturbing first-hand report, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Kamm makes us care deeply about Southeast Asia's forgotten stepchild, Cambodia. Melding a history of the tormented nation of 10 million with reportage based on his numerous trips there between 1970 - 1997, he criticizes the Western powers, led by the U.S., for supporting dictator Pol Pot's genocidal regime (1975-79), which, he argues, the West considered a lesser evil than the Vietnamese communist invaders and their Cambodian backers who ruled for the subsequent decade.
Today, while Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia's absent king and former moderate leader, 'governs' by fax from Beijing, where he lies incurably ill with cancer, Cambodia is still ruled by the tyrannical, Vietnam-installed coalition government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. According to the author, Hun Sen has never attained legitimacy in the eyes of many of his compatriots, whose country -- strewn with countless land mines -- is beset by rampant lawlessness and corruption, endemic poverty and Asia's worst AIDS/HIV epidemic. Contending that the UN's much-touted 1992-93 peacekeeping mission to Cambodia was a failure that left the status quo intact, Kamm boldly proposes that Cambodia be placed under an international trusteeship to nurse this gravely incapacitated nation back to health.