Item description for Pol Pot's Little Red Book: The Sayings Of Angkar by Henri Locard & David Chandler...
This handbook of slogans, interspersed with historical commentary and contextual analysis, describes the Khmer Rouge regime and exposes the horrific foundation upon which it constructed its reign of terror. On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge seized power in Phnom Penh. In the three years, eight months, and twenty days of their government, they made a tabula rasa of Cambodian society and culture, forcing the people to evacuate the cities and move to the countryside. They instituted a total collectivism based on the doctrine of "Pol Pot-ism," the Cambodian version of fundamentalist Maoism.
Assembled in this collection are the sayings that make up a "newspeak" uttered by the Khmer Rouge cadres: slogans, maxims, advice, instructions, watchwords, orders, warnings, and threats. All were spoken in the name of the ominous Angkar--a faceless and lawless "Organization"--n order to indoctrinate, control, and terrorize the populace.
These sayings have been collected from survivors throughout Cambodia between 1991 and 1995. They form the macabre, bare-bones skeleton of Khmer Rouge ideology.
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Studio: Silkworm Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 7.5" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Feb 28, 2005
Publisher Silkworm Books
ISBN 9749575563 ISBN13 9789749575567
Reviews - What do customers think about Pol Pot's Little Red Book: The Sayings Of Angkar?
An excellent resource Apr 4, 2008
I am currently working with a Cambodian to write his memoirs as a young teenager under the Khmer Rouge regime. He was twelve when he and his family were evacuated from Battambang City, and sixteen when the Khmer Rouge were finally defeated. His experiences differ from most of the other personal accounts coming out of this war as he spent most of this time in traveling workgroups, about half of which were in the jungle. He remembers many of the sayings in Pol Pot's Little Red Book. This book is a valuable resource when used with other scholarly studies of that time.
Interesting, Yet Shrill Dec 20, 2006
Locard provides a valuable, if flawed, service here for students of the Khmer Rouge, with his presentation of the slogans of "Angkar". This is not a scholarly book by any means, and his contextualization of Democratic Kampuchea is extremely shallow. Having read Philip Short's excellent biography of Pol Pot immediately prior to this book, I find Locard's writing to be near tabloid-calibre by comparison. He is certainly not hesitant to editorialize and promote his own rightist political views and ideologically biased interpretations of late-20th century Cambodian history. With a high school level of sophistication and an incessant stream of sometimes almost histrionic denunciations (frequently emphasized with the use of exclamation points), he spends a great deal of the book ridiculing (what he thinks is) Marxism in general, lumping the backwards-looking and organizationally psychotic Khmer Rouge with "all Communist and tyrannical regimes" everywhere, and bascially implying that any movement or group calling itself Marxist, including reform socialists, is basically a Khmer Rouge just waiting to happen, if ever given the chance. Poppycock! On the other hand, the translated slogans give the reader a unique and and often disturbing view into many aspects of life in Democratic Kampuchea -- I, for one, always wondered what they were saying in those black-and-white films from the Khmer Rouge years where everyone is standing, fists clenched in the air, yelling revolutionary slogans. Now, it seems, we know.
I give this book an "A" for the material directly related to the translation of the slogans, and a "D-" for interpretation and contextualization, thus two-and-a-half stars.
Original sources, not for everyone May 16, 2005
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that this book is outstanding. The bad news is that it is NOT for everyone. From my perspective as a former Khmer linguist with the US Military I remember the beginning of the Pol Pot era, the "strange" messages we began to intercept from the mysterious and scarry "ankar," and most of all, I remember following the genocide in the news during the '70's and wondering "how could this happen in such a gentle society as Theravada Buddhist Cambodia?"
This book, which lists hundreds of Khmer sayings during the Pol Pot era in both English and in Khmer, is like an injection of ice-water. I read and shivered. There are several editorial mistakes but remember that the original was written in French and translated into English with the Khmer equivalent also provided. The book took me back 30 years. I believe this book will prove to be a valuable source far into the future despite its niche appeal.