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Book Escape from the Killing Fields: One Girl Who Survived the Cambodian Holocaust by Nancy Moyer (1991-07-01)


Escape from the Killing Fields: One Girl Who Survived the Cambodian Holocaust by Nancy Moyer (1991-07-01)

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Review Text

  • By Ry on November 3, 2011

    Ly Lorn may be a real Cambodian survivor of the Democratic Kampuchean revolution; I don't have any way to know, since I haven't met her.Her ghostwriter, Nancy Moyer, on the other hand, is a propagandist with no ability to check facts. She is only concerned with pushing a Christian evangelist agenda on both the readership of this book, and Cambodians at large. There is a very large number of verses from the Bible in the book, and they interrupt the story. Further, it is extremely hard to believe that Ly Lorn, the supposed author, actually wrote it, given the slang, the inaccuracies, and the thoroughly Western analysis of the situation. Nancy Moyer and Ly Lorn both worked for World Vision, a worldwide Christian evangelism machine, and this book is propaganda in favor of World Vision, not a historical document concerning the Democratic Kampuchean revolution. The book is riddled with inaccuracies, reports of events and situations that contradict every reputable source on the subject. I have no opinion about whether the book presents what Ly Lorn remembers of the situation; I would not be surprised if a survivor's memory were very disturbed and able to create memories that were untrue.The inaccuracy begins with the very cover itself - the cover is a caricature of Vietnamese people, not Cambodians; Cambodians never dressed in the manner depicted, certainly not during the Khmer Rouge period (in which everyone wore black pajama-style garb), and never wore those typically-Vietnamese hats. The illustrator clearly knows nothing about Cambodian culture or the KR revolution, or s/he would know that Cambodia and Vietnam are historically enemies and that Cambodians have never looked like Vietnamese caricatures.It is especially sad that Ly Lorn converted from Buddhism to Christianity thanks to World Vision propagandists. Most of her family died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Her new beliefs indicate that these family members now reside in Hell, since they were Buddhist instead of Christian. Theravada Buddhism has no hell, and if she were still Buddhist she would have the comforts of being able to speak with the spirits of her ancestors (forbidden as "idol worship" among Christian evangelists), and of knowing that they were not in Hell but rather reincarnated on Earth. What a shame.If you are a Christian zealot, this book will reinforce your beliefs. If you are interested in learning about the KR or the DK revolution, ignore this one completely and read any of the dozens of memoirs and scholarly works by reputable authors.I am so glad I picked up this book used and didn't inadvertently give money to World Vision by buying it new. Don't buy it. If you feel you must buy it, buy it used like I did, so you don't give them money to keep hurting people with. I'm glad I read it, since it's part of the body of literature on a topic I care about very deeply, but I must dismiss it as pure propaganda and will not be citing it in any of my research.

  • By Tell Me A Story on August 28, 2012

    I seek out Christian autobiographies where the protagonist faces serious circumstances that tests and increases faith. Ly Lorn's story is a tremendous testimony of courage and steadfast faith in the face of torture, slavery and starvation; through which she lost 9 family members (her parents, a nephew; and 6 brothers and sisters) as they died from illness born of the elements and lack of food. It reminded me that there are patterns of persecution by those seize power using military rule. Having recently seen the movie, "Defiance" about the Bielski Brothers and the thousands of other Jews, they hid in the Forest during the Holocaust, I see parallels in both situations.So for me, this is not just a message of faith; I saw the similarities in how those "who are in the way" of the regime are marginalized and demoralized until they die of fatigue, starvation, illness, torture or suicide.As I read this story, I suspected that there were intentional inaccuracies especially where acts of brutality was minimized so "sensitive" Westerns would stay with the story. I also suspect rape and torture were rarely mentioned, to accentuate that it was the followers of Pol Pot who were the problem, not the Cambodians (which is usually the case in nearly all occupied states).I would like to respond to the statements made by another reviewer. This book NEVER suggested Lorn's family is in Hell, because they did not make a declaration of the Christian faith. While the Bible does state, 'that he whom accepts Jesus Christ as Savior shall be saved' and "their names will be written in the Lambs' Book of Life". It also says that only God knows the heart of each person, HE and Christ alone are judges! God is a loving God. How could he cast aside people, who have never heard about him? In fact, according to the Bible, there are two judgments. The first is an evaluation of your heart (this determines your entry into heaven); the second is an evaluation for any reward/recognition a person is due, for those things that you did on behalf of humanity because of Christ.It is sad, that many Christians and especially those who have a wide audience (such as tv) do not clarify these points or even understand the Bible's point on this subject.Lorn believed that her family may miss heaven, when they died because they did not make it known to her if they chose Christ. On the same token, the book states clearly that they couldn't convey their thoughts anymore, if they were overheard and reported by a neighbor, then they would be executed, particularly if it were known they were Christians!This lack of communication imposed upon them was heart wrenching for her family because they were very loving and communicative. As a result of their imprisonment, they were non-persons. She makes many comments of the regime's desire to turn all captives into animals. One soldier told her he hoped Lorn's mother would die because she was not of any value even compared to a cow!It's a book worth reading. It is a story of survival. It is not a story of judgment.

  • By keithdt on June 13, 2010

    This is an excellent account of the sufferings experienced by the author & her family during the Cambodian Holocaust. It is gripping & well done. It deserves to be widely read & better known. Although it has a Christian slant, it doesn't much affect the main part of the narrative. It would be a valuable and gripping read for anyone regardless of their religious beliefs. I rarely post book reviews but felt this book really deserved a review.

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