By Philip Short
"The textual content glints with shrewdly believable inferences mortared right into a compelling narrative . . . [Short] is superb at coining pithy summations of political factors that ring humanly true."―The manhattan occasions e-book evaluate (front page)
gazing Pol Pot at shut quarters throughout the one and basically reliable stopover at he ever made overseas, to China in 1975, Philip brief was once struck through the Cambodian leader's allure and aura. but Pol Pot's utopian experiments in social engineering might lead to the loss of life of 1 in each 5 Cambodians―more than one million humans.
How did an idealistic dream of justice and prosperity mutate into one among humanity's worst nightmares? to reply to those questions, brief traveled via Cambodia, interviewing former Khmer Rouge leaders and sifting via formerly closed files worldwide. Key figures, together with Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, Pol's brother-in-law and overseas minister, converse right here for the 1st time.
Short's masterly narrative serves because the definitive portrait of the fellow who headed some of the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of recent times.
"Short chronicles the levels of the Cambodian revolution with admirable readability . . . a number of chilling information, expertly deployed, do the required work." ―The long island Times
"A spectacularly effective activity of describing what occurred and why . . . A chillingly transparent portrait." ―The Economist
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Additional info for Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare
The common fact of Marxism,’ he defined, ‘must be mixed with particular nationwide features and procure a distinct nationwide shape whether it is to be necessary, and in no situations can it's utilized subjectively as an insignificant formulation. Marxists who make a fetish of formulation are easily enjoying the idiot . . . ’ merely on one aspect used to be Mao, like Stalin, absolutely rigid: both you co-operate with the Communist celebration otherwise you oppose it . . . the instant you oppose the Communist get together, you turn into a traitor . . . Whoever desires to oppose the Communist celebration needs to be ready to be floor into dirt. while you're no longer a fan of being floor into airborne dirt and dust, you had definitely greater drop your competition. With Stalin’s grim prescriptions for preserving purity in a progressive occasion and Mao’s consultant to progressive perform, the younger Khmer communists-in-the-making appeared to have so much of what they wanted. None of them, no longer even Ieng Sary together with his much-vaunted ‘diploma’ from the PCF Cadre university, took a lot curiosity in Marxist idea. not anyone indulged in philosophical hypothesis approximately metaphysics or the solidarity of opposites, as Mao and his partners did at a similar level in their careers. Nor, it sort of feels, did they search out Western debts of the chinese language and Russian revolutions. Edgar Snow’s crimson celebrity Over China, Jack Belden’s China Shakes the realm and Agnes Smedley’s China’s purple military Marches have been all to be had in French translations. yet there isn't any proof that any Cambodian ever learn them. Even a celeb scholar like Keng Vannsak used to be blind to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s influential paintings Humanism and Terror, an apologium for the Stalinist convey trials, regardless of having the writer as his thesis director on the Sorbonne. nonetheless much less did any of them examine Hegel or Feuerbach or Nietzsche, as their chinese language opposite numbers had, part a century prior to. The Cambodians embraced Marxism now not for theoretical insights, yet to profit how one can dispose of the French and to rework a feudal society which colonialism had left mostly intact. From this perspective, Stalinism and Maoism either had one nice flaw. They handled an international during which satisfaction of position belonged to the economic proletariat. The Bolshevik Revolution have been introduced via the staff of Petrograd in a rustic which used to be already the world’s fourth-ranking business strength. In 1917, Russia had greater than seven million staff. Stalin’s imaginative and prescient of socialism mirrored stipulations in an industrialised country contending for global supremacy with the foremost capitalist powers. Even Mao, best what he defined as ‘essentially a peasant revolution’, insisted within the subsequent breath that ‘the revolution can't be triumphant with out the fashionable business operating classification. ’ In Cambodia there has been no ‘industrial operating class’, sleek or in a different way. Even the Vietnamese, fired up by means of their missionary endeavour to create a Khmer progressive move, have been pressured to confess that stipulations didn't exist for ‘a socialist revolution, or perhaps a new-democratic revolution, yet purely [for] a revolution that's nationwide in nature’.