The Gate

The Gate

by Francois Bizot, François Bizot
4.5 10

Paperback(First American Edition)

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The Gate by Francois Bizot, François Bizot

In 1971 a young French ethnologist named Francois Bizot was taken prisoner by forces of the Khmer Rouge who kept him chained in a jungle camp for months before releasing him. Four years later Bizot became the intermediary between the now victorious Khmer Rouge and the occupants of the besieged French embassy in Phnom Penh, eventually leading a desperate convoy of foreigners to safety across the Thai border.

Out of those ordeals comes this transfixing book. At its center lies the relationship between Bizot and his principal captor, a man named Douch, who is today known as the most notorious of the Khmer Rouge’s torturers but who, for a while, was Bizot’s protector and friend. Written with the immediacy of a great novel, unsparing in its understanding of evil, The Gate manages to be at once wrenching and redemptive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375727238
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/06/2004
Edition description: First American Edition
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 578,763
Product dimensions: 5.21(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Francois Bizot is an ethnologist who has spent the greater part of his career studying Buddhism. He is the Director of Studies at Ecole Pratique des Hautes-etudes and holds the chair in Southeast Asian Buddhism at the Sorbonne. He lives in Paris.

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Gate 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm attempting to finish reading this book. I, myself, had been through the situation myself. Unfortunately, I have a hard time keeping myself consentrating on this book. I really don't know what it is. It's just difficult for me grasp what is being written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watch "The Killing Fields" right before reading this, as I did, and all eerily comes to life. Even the French Embassy's gate in the film matches the imaged evoked by Bizot early in his book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought I could finish the book within a few days (at most). It took me longer to finish it for I cannot help but feeling sad as I turn the page. Bizot took me back to the time that I dreaded the most and yet never want to forget. Each page of the book brought back memories filled with angers and sadness. The book should serve as a reminder to all that life is both beautiful and ugly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Gate' is simply stunning. Bizot's experience inside the infamous M13 prisoner camp commanded by 'Douch' in 1971 is a story no other Westerner can tell. The scenes surrounding the fall of Phnom Penh and the evacuation of foreigners from the French embassy are heart breaking. The description of the handover of key members of the ruling elite to the Khmer Rouge outside the embassy will haunt all readers. Bizot's year 2000 trip back to the site of his capture and imprisonment is full of shocking surprises. See the upcoming book 'Terror from the Southwest Zone' published by the Documentation Center of Cambodia ( for a detailed account of the tortures inflicted by Douch and his staff on the prisoners at M13.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are able to filter through and disregard the obvious anti-American sentiments of Bizot, this book enables the reader a unique perspective when visiting Cambodia. I have to add, having just been to Cambodia, Bizot would have been surprised to hear the repeated pleas, by the Cambodian business community, to this 'American-Imperialist,' to please come back to and re-invest in, modern day Cambodia's infrastructure. Cambodia is a fascinating place and The Gate is a must read should you plan to visit there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary account of a chapter in the Cambodian holocaust as witnessed and narated by a peace and truth seeking Frenchman caught up in the storm. I was impressed by Bizot's writing style as well as intrigued by his relationship with his captor. It is astonishing that Khmer Rouge's most prolific torturer, Douche, turned out to be quite compassionate with Bizot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First I hope that every reader tries to get in Bizot's 'shoes' while reading this book... Yes, this is yet another book attempting to describe how far and low some human beings are ready to go in the name of their 'convictions' to hurt other human beings... This is also the gut wrenching story of a man having to make the ultimate decisions: depending on what you say or do these people might survive but those will certainly die and having to live with the eyes of those who were taken away burnt in your soul for the rest of your life. This is also a book of great poetry. Bizot is a reluctant 'hero' it took him some 20 years to come to term and finally write this book under pressure from friends and loved ones...