Cambodia’s Curse, Joel Brinkley, 2011. A fascinating account of Cambodia’s ongoing struggles as an emerging country scarred by the Khmer Rouge and saddled with rampant corruption by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. This is a must read for understanding Cambodia’s past, present and future.
Cambodia: Report From A Stricken Land, Henry Kamm, 1998
This first-hand report was written by Pulitzer Prize winner who covered Southeast Asia for the New York Times.
First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung, 2001
A moving autobiography of a child’s first-hand experiences in the war.
Golden Bones, Sichan Siv, 2008
Written by a former US Ambassador to the UN, this autobiographical account relates the author’s experience in Cambodia’s slave labor camps and his eventual escape to Thailand.
I Have Seen the World Begin: Travels through China, Cambodia and Vietnam, Carsten Jensen, 2002
Paul Theroux declared that Jensen “sees Asia anew, the poetry as well as the politics.” The travel memoir won the golden laureate award in his native Denmark and the accounts of his time in Cambodia are particularly powerful.
Stay Alive, My Son, Pin Yathay, 2000
Yathay’s book is one of the first refugee accounts of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
Sun After Dark, Flights into the Foreign, Pico Iyer, 2005
One of the great modern travel writers comments on many countries, including Cambodia and other Asian nations in the midst of change, in memorable essays,
When Broken Glass Floats, Chanrithy Him, 2001
Him’s memoir recounts growing up under the Khmer Rouge, from the loss of her parents and siblings to her escape to a Thai refugee camp following the regime’s fall.
When the War Was Over, Elizabeth Becker, 1998
Author Elizabeth Becker covered Cambodia for the Washington Post starting in 1973, and her examination of the events following the Lon Nol regime’s overthrow is widely considered one of the best reports on the Khmer Rouge.
“Lake Breakfast in Cambodia,” Sichan Siv, New York Times, April 28, 2008
Article about the start of the war from the author of Golden Bones.
Never Fall Down, Patricia McCormick, 2012
The true story of a young Cambodian boy who survived the killing fields by playing music for the sadistic Khmer Rouge political party.
The Killing Fields, 1984
This British film drama about the Khmer Rouge is based on the war experiences of three journalists. Nominated for Best Picture in 1984, Killing Fields won awards for best supporting actor, best editing and best cinematography.
S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, 2004
This documentary features first-hand accounts from both victims and former soldiers in the S-21 detention center. The film won the Francois Chalais Award at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at Chicago International Film Festival and the International Human Rights Award.
Swimming to Cambodia, 1987
This film, directed by Jonathan Demme, features the late actor Spalding Gray. There is little action as he sits at a desk throughout the entire film, but as a master of the monologue, he manages to bring views on a vivid journey through his research for his small role in The Killing Fields. He traveled to Southeast Asia but also revisits his personal history.
The Missing Picture, 2013
This French-Cambodian documentary on life in Cambodia under Pol Pot won an award at Cannes and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. With a mix of news footage and clay animated figures, it tells the horrific story of life under the Khmer Rouge.