First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Movie Tie-in)

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Movie Tie-in)

by Loung Ung

Paperback(Movie Tie-in)

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From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit—now a Netflix film by Angelina Jolie.

Repackaged in a new tie-in edition to coincide with the Netflix film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, a moving story of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her triumphant spirit as she survived the Cambodian genocide under Pol Pot’s brutal regime.

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. While her beautiful mother worried that Loung was a troublemaker—that she stomped around like a thirsty cow—her beloved father knew Loung was a clever girl.

When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family fled their home and moved from village to village to hide their identity, their education, their former life of privilege. Eventually, the family dispersed in order to survive. Loung trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, while other siblings were sent to labor camps. As the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia, destroying the Khmer Rouge, Loung and her surviving siblings were slowly reunited.

Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother, the courage and sacrifices of the rest of her family—and sustained by her sister’s gentle kindness amid brutality—Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this story is truly unforgettable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062561305
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Edition description: Movie Tie-in
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 315,669
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Loung Ung was the National Spokesperson for the “Campaign for a Landmine Free World,” a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Ung lectures extensively, appears regularly in the media, and has made more than thirty trips back to Cambodia. She is also the author of Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind and LuLu in the Sky.

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First They Killed My Father 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 141 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books. This book first sparked my interest in humanitarian efforts and biographies as a middle school student. Now a junior in college I still find this story to be excellently told and captivating. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An incredible memoir of life during the Khmer Rouge reign in Cambodia, 1975 to 1979. Ms. Ung manages to tell her story keeping the voice of the child she was but with the intelligence and insight of an adult. Although mostly horror, some of the childhood vignettes are funny and universal. The author never sugarcoats the sweeter moments, nor does she overly dramatize her most desperate experiences. What comes through is a brutally honest yet delightful (I know that sounds like a nonsequitor) narrative that completely draws the reader into Luong's story. This book moves. From first page to last the pace never lags. I started reading it in the late afternoon and only put it down in the early morning from sheer exaustion. First thing upon getting up, I picked it up to finish reading. In other words, the book reads like a terrific novel. Although a real story of survival during a grisly, genocidal time, this book is the opposite of homework. I'm left leafing through to reread parts, and wishing to know more about the later lives of all of Luong's surviving family. Let's hope Luong Ung follows up with another book where this one leaves off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers is genocide viewed through a child's eyes. Twenty years later, Cambodia's killing fields still cover unspeakable atrocities the world has yet to unearth. This is one survivor's attempt to shed light on the pain she tried to bury along with the dead.The strength and the weakness of this book rests in its style; the use of the present tense in a child's voice can fall flat. Nonetheless, the narrative can leave the reader stunned and near tears several pages later. As author Loung Ung reconstructs political conversations she claims she had with her beloved father at the age of five, it strikes the reader as totally contrived--as it obviously is. Yet as she describes a child's fear spawned by war, terror, hunger, and the nightmares that follow her at all times, it becomes all too real. Loung, now a beautiful American woman, becomes a tough little Cambodian girl again at these points. It seems almost a sacrilege to criticize any aspect of this compelling book, though, because it is such a powerful testament to the human spirit. On balance, the shortcomings that result from Loung's style are greatly outweighed by the power her narrative evokes. The guilt she suffers after she has eaten some of her family's scarce rice, for example, reveals a child's innate honesty and ability to grasp the ramifications of the simplest act. As pirates steal a jade Buddha, the last tangible link to Loung's murdered father, the reader feels the orphaned child's complete numbness. Loung's observations about her siblings' different personalities, and how these varied traits allowed some to survive the communist slaughter, probably are the strongest observations in the book. Loung concedes she cannot understand how such a sensitive person as her sister Chou lived amidst the ever-present threat of rape, murder, torture and starvation, and the reader grows to appreciate the beauty that terrible mystery represents. As reports emerge from North Korea and elsewhere about mass starvation and terror under the reigns of madmen, the reader can recall that two decades ago the same happened in Cambodia and the world stood mute as it would again and again in Rwanda and too many other places to name. Each new indignity against humanity makes the slogan "never again" ring a little more hollow, but as long as writers like Loung survive and chronicle what happened, the hope the phrase represents will endure because in the end they did not kill her soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book touched a part of me that I never knew existed. I succumbed to tears multiple times when I first read it. Unlike other books, though, this raw emotion didn't fade the second, third, or fourth time I read this book. First They Killed My Father will stay with you; becomme a part of you. As you read, you will become acquainted with these people you've never met, but you will feel as if you've known them all your life. You will feel their suffering and shed their tears. Peace be with them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly well written account of the experiences of a five year old who witnessed the utter destruction of her family and world at the hands of the Khmer Rhouge regime. Her strength of spirit and determination to survive through the most abhorent conditions and situations is a testament to her character. I loved this book and will try very hard to be grateful everyday for the blessings that so many of us overlook on a daily basis. Thank you Ms. Ung for sharing your story as it must have been very difficult to re-live this chapter in your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.i had to read it for one of my classes and i dont really like biographies but this is one of the best books ive read
ppam More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, from beginning to end. Totally compelling to follow the author, as a child, surviving Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge rebellion. It was upsetting, unbelievable, terribly sad, and mostly informative. While killing was going on all around her she learned to survive. It all started when she was only 5 years old. And the ending, while good for the author was very bittersweet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
one of the most powerful books i've read. my favorite book ever.
AlexandraRamona More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written from the viewpoint of a participating victim. Sadly but fortunately it is honest though brutal. The gallantry shown in keeping the family together in the present and future is a noble goal - as is the respectful and loving memory of those who suffered death at the hand of the enemy. Prayers to all who survived and to those who have read this accounting. May we all remember to count our blessings daily.
Teganelizabeths More than 1 year ago
I bought this book from a little girl selling books in Cambodia during Christmas time. So, if you have been to Cambodia and seen the poverty this book is a great way to help you get an insight into why, how and what happened to make Cambodia the way it is. It is written from the perspective of a 5 year old girl who's life was turned upside down when the Khmer Rouge communist takeover happened, and tells things from her curious eyes. It makes it entertaining and easy to understand, but at times heartbreaking and hard to handle. After reading this book, it made me want to change my lifestyle and reorganize my priorities. I think this author is amazing, and I think she made an amazing recount of her life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well my history teacher (i go to a christian school) gave me this book without reading it first and after i told her about some of the content of the story she felt pretty bad ;) other than that its a pretty good story and really puts things into perspective (LIFE COULD BE WORSE!!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wothwhile read, though sometimes difficult to absorb. Never again will I say I am starving, without stopping to think about what that really means.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eye opening. Cleverly written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will always be a treasure to me because its just so i cant describe love it love it love it i would rate this book 1000000 1000000
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A shocking true story.
J-C59 More than 1 year ago
Courageous, gutsy, amazing....this book should be on the mandatory reading list for high school students. I couldn't put it down once I started that I've read it I think twice before I complain about ANYTHING.
Natalie Beal More than 1 year ago
I began reading this book for school and insted of reading 50 pages like we were suposted to, I stayed up all night finishing this book. This book is beautifuly written in such a powerful way. I mean this when I say this, this book changed my life. I've neve cryed so hard in my life! Everyone, I mean EVERYONE should read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story through the eyes of a young little girl. A must read that will change your life.
apsara198x More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing
heaathaa2013 More than 1 year ago
The book First They Killed My Father is a remarkable book. It's a tough read, but definitly worth your while. The book covers the years of 1975 through 1979, It talks about deaths of many family members. Being forced to seperate and then later on reuniting the family. This young girl goes through beatings, starvation, and attempted rape but yet she never gives up on trying to make her escape for survival. This book provides an example of how war can deeply affect a childs life. Sad but inspiring, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Cambodias history, this book gives Loung Ungs personal view of events.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
The Rest of It: Ung's tale begins in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Once known at "the pearl of Aisa", Phnom Penh is the home of the Ung family which consists of her mother and father, and her siblings, Meng, Khouy, Keav, Kim, Chou, Loung (the author) and Geak. Life in Phnom Penh is quite pleasant for Loung. Her father (Pa) works for the government and is highly respected in the community. Due to his class standing, they live in a nice house and Loung's mother (Ma), does not need to work. However, as the Khmer Rouge invade Cambodia, the Ung family is forced to leave their home. This is Loung's story of what happened to them on their way to Thailand. As you can imagine, this is a very tough story to read. Loung is so young when her family is forced to move. She is only five-year's old. Caring for her younger siblings and sometimes even the older ones, must have been very tough for her. As her family makes their way from one work camp to another, their fight to stay alive becomes more difficult as food rations dwindle, and violence abounds all around them. This is from page 149/50 of the paperback. Loung is referring to her younger sister's emaciated body: My eyes stay on Geak. She does not talk anymore. She is so thin it is as if her body is eating itself up. Her skin is pale yellow, her teeth rotten or missing. Still she is beautiful because she is good and pure. Looking at her makes me want to die inside. Ung's story is quite compelling. Her relationship with her father comes through as being strong and solid, so much so, that when the soldiers take him away, her world falls down around her. Since it is impossible to know exactly what happened to her father, she fills in the gaps with visions she has of the event. These visions seem plausible and serve as closure for her, and I found them to be quite effective. She uses this technique again towards the end of the story and although I saw it coming, it was just as effective and shook me to the core. What was particularly poignant for me, were her memories of life in Phnom Penh. The clothes they wore, the food they ate. She never realized how good she had it until all of it was taken away. Those moments seemed so small to her at the time, but in reflection, they end up being the cement that holds her together. My book club chose this book for May. We meet to discuss it next week. I didn't know too much about the Cambodian Genocide before reading it. Although it is a tough read and hard to stomach at times (it took me a really long time to finish), I am glad I read it. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this topic.
3tzmom More than 1 year ago
I was very moved by her story. I wasn't able to put this book down as I read one disturbing image after another. I did lose sleep over her story as it distrubed and touched me. It is not for those who like light and happy books. You will learn a lot about the History of Cambodia and human endurance.
BiglouVirginian More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most insightful memoirs I have ever read. The life of this young girl was so totally transformed from one of peaceful, joyous existence to one of hell on earth that it tugs at your heart. She is also one of the gutsiest individuals that I have become inspired by. Her determination and internal strength to fight for survival are absolutely amazing. This tale provided a real revelation to me about a period in history that totally escaped me and was never adequately covered in the mass media.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful. It opened my eyes to a lot of things that go on in Cambodia. Loung Ung writes wonderfully and explains everything in such detail. I would read this book over and over again. Some parts even made me cry because of the evils this young girl had to endure in her home country. This book is very enlightening and touching. I recommend it to everyone!
TimP More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing thriller with Ung and her family and them dealing with adversity throughout the Halocaust. Her family was hiding from all the soldiers that was sourrounding her city, and throughout her small city. Once her family is discovered they take her father from her, and tell her that he will return the next morning. But yet many days go past and yet still no return, this is one example of adversity that Ung and all of her family faces. Later on in the book 2 or her six siblings were eventually murdered and tooken to the concetration camp as with the rest of the family, and theirs escapes. He father especially helped Ung survive the war, and along with the rest of the family explaining the dangers of the war and the other dangerous things. She spent four years trying to escape from the war, and then finally Ung and her brother escape to Thyland and eventually to the U.S. This is an amazing thiller at times and yet very tense settings. This is a very serious book, and a very hard read, but yet very worth it.