First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung UngFirst They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

byLoung Ung

Paperback | April 4, 2006

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From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit.

One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.

Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.


Loung Ung is a national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. She is the author of Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind, and she lives with her husband in Ohio.
Title:First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia RemembersFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.65 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.31 × 0.65 inPublished:April 4, 2006Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060856262

ISBN - 13:9780060856267


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotionally taxing but a must-read I got this one on a whim partly because it was on my list of books to read and then also because I was taking a trip to Cambodia and wanted to learn more about the history. This memoir shook me; it took me a few days to read not because it's particularly inaccessible but because it was something that I had to take breaks and come back to once my heart could rehandle taking more in. But it was so moving. You live alongside the emotions and life of Loung, and it's written in a way that you want to reach out to her in its ability to make you question sympathy, empathy, what we know about childhood development, and huamn resilience itself.
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Reminded me of Hemmingway I think if you like Hemingway you might like this book. It takes place in the 1920's and the characters lead (and suffer from) the same aimless life that comes from wealth and privilege. However this book has more plot turns, pace, adventure, and is quite a bit darker.
Date published: 2017-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Developed my love of memoirs This was the first memoir I have ever read, and has also been the most memorable. I am not great at history but this first-hand account of the author's life under the Khmer Rouge regime made the history more accessible and real to me. Such a horrible but touching story. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Touching Story This book is something that touches its readers. This story tells the tale of a young girl that lived through the Genocide that occured in Cambodian. As a reader you read about the violence, death and injustice that the author experienced. These images are so strong that it shakes the readers to the core. This is since it is hard to image that something so horrible could happen. However, it did.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional and Powerful This is an amazing read. It is a story about a young Cambodian refugee. It’s important that we learn about each other’s history. We begin to understand that at some point all races have experienced some type of injustice or slavery. This was the first and only book so far that I’ve ever cried to, it’s hard to grasp that there was so much suffering and brutally. This war ended in the 80’s – yet so many people were unaware of it taking place. This book made me realize how truly blessed we are.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reality Check This story is of one girl and her family in a terrible time of the Pol Pot regime. It is a very good read and will have you thanking the moon and stars that you are doing well. Do you have memories of your 5-10 years of age? If ya think you were given a smelly start in life, think again.
Date published: 2015-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fast-paced and excellently written. 1949. Three American travellers in Algeria deal with their fear and attitudes towards the locals (and to the French), as the drama unfolds. Perfect descriptions of North Africa. Full of fear, paranoia, and terror. Fast-paced and excellently written. It's hard to put down. I read it in pretty much one sitting.
Date published: 2014-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First They Killed My Father Riveting. Grab some tissue and read.
Date published: 2014-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book Despite a lot of tears I could not put this book down. Truely one of the most harrowing but powerfully inspiring books.
Date published: 2013-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book This book was an excellent read. It was very hard to put down. The book gives you specific knowledge about victims of war. I could not believe the type of suffering this family faced and all the hardship they went through. It amazed me to know that this type of abuse still exists today. This is a must read book!
Date published: 2008-09-02

Editorial Reviews

"[Ung] tells her stories straightforwardly, vividly, and without any strenuous effort to explicate their importance, allowing the stories themselves to create their own impact." (New York Times)