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Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father

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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.

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367 printed pages
Publication year
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  • Sharon Purslowshared an impression7 years ago

    "First They Killed My Father" is exceptionally and profoundly written. I found myself needing to take mental and emotional breaks from reading due to the overwhelming sorrow and angst I felt from reading the excerpts of this book. Ms. Ung takes you there along side everyone who experienced the genocide in Cambodia as if you were experiencing it yourself, picturing your loved ones walking the long walk to flee, the heat, the sweat, and such immense and unimaginable loss. My heart cries for those killed, for those who survived, and for those missing. I am so sorry. Thank you for writing this book. Well done.

  • Mei Fongshared an impression5 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    First they kill my father always remind all Cambodian people . After I read the book and watch the film I feel so hurt and remember in my mind.

  • b6666618268shared an impression7 years ago
    💞Loved Up



  • Travis Gibsonhas quoted7 years ago
    The soldiers are everywhere. There are so many of them around, yelling into their bullhorns, no longer smiling as I saw them before. Now they shout loud, angry words at us while cradling rifles in their arms. They holler for the people to close their shops, to gather all guns and weapons, to surrender the weapons to them. They scream at families to move faster, to get out of the way, to not talk back. I bury my face into Keav’s chest, my
  • kukimariposahas quoted8 years ago
    Waiters and waitresses in black-and-white uniforms swing open shop doors as the aroma of noodle soup greets waiting customers. Street vendors push food carts piled with steamed dumplings, smoked beef teriyaki sticks, and roasted peanuts along the sidewalks and begin to set up for another day of business
  • Shasha Setiyadihas quoted3 years ago
    It is best if I just stop talking completely so I won’t unintentionally disclose information about our family. To talk is to bring danger to the family. At five years old, I am beginning to know what loneliness feels like, silent and alone and suspecting that everyone wants to hurt me.

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