Cambodian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide

ABC-CLIO. Feb. 2022. 232p. ed. by Paul R. Bartrop. ISBN 9781440876530. $97. REF
Between April 1975 and January 1979, up to two million Cambodians—one in four people in the nation—were killed under the rule of dictator Pol Pot. His communist Khmer Rouge shock force carried out this genocide under a policy of ruthlessness aiming to erase foreign influence in the country and to establish a new society based on the culture of rural Cambodia. In this book, historian Bartrop (emeritus, Ctr. for Holocaust and Genocide Research, Florida Gulf Coast Univ.) and 13 subject scholars impartially and insightfully explain the events of the Cambodian genocide. The work begins with short chapters on the genocide’s causes, consequences, perpetrators, and victims, plus international reactions; these are followed by 87 encyclopedic entries on the Cambodian genocide’s most pivotal events, places, and people. The contributors authoritatively and powerfully report on the depth of Khmer Rouge atrocities, the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal (formed in 1979 to prosecute the Khmer Rouge leadership), and efforts to establish representative government after Vietnam helped topple the Khmer Rouge in 1978. The book includes nine forceful and revealing primary-source documents (Pol Pot’s Speech to the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of Kampuchea; reports of atrocities and crimes committed against Cambodians). Perhaps most chilling is the “Khmer Rouge Biographical Questionnaire of Members,” which required applicants to the political party to disclose detailed information about members of their family and was often used as a pretext to arrest and punish opponents. There’s also an excellent month-by-month chronology of 1975 to 1979.
VERDICT A high-quality and informative general work for anyone interested in genocide studies, Asian history, and 20th-century history.
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