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30 review for Survivor: The triumph of an ordinary man in the Khmer Rouge genocide

  1. 5 out of 5

    Khari

    I went to the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh three years ago and Chum Mey was there. I bought the book from him because I was so horrified by what I had seen at that museum that I wanted to do something, anything, to try and erase some of the suffering that place had caused. I know that my ten dollars and tearful face didn't really do anything, they can't change the past, but by reading the book and passing it on to someone else, I can raise awareness about the atrocity humans are capable of infli I went to the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh three years ago and Chum Mey was there. I bought the book from him because I was so horrified by what I had seen at that museum that I wanted to do something, anything, to try and erase some of the suffering that place had caused. I know that my ten dollars and tearful face didn't really do anything, they can't change the past, but by reading the book and passing it on to someone else, I can raise awareness about the atrocity humans are capable of inflicting on other humans. Honestly speaking, the book isn't that good. It's not well written, and it's not a good translation. There are spelling errors and binding issues, but all of that really doesn't matter because all you can really hear as you read this book is one person's story. It's full of sincerity and pain. I recommend it on those grounds, but even more that that I recommend actually going to Cambodia and visiting Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields because it will change your life and how you view the world.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura Peña

    like most of the other reviewers, I also purchased this book from chum mey while i was at the toul sleng genocide museum. I didn't get around to reading it til now because it is difficult to read. i dont really know how to rate it w stars because it isn't like a book or argument or memoir, it is a matter-of-fact testimonial. he crams his life story into about 40 pages, then we have a pamphlet section on his organization and their mission statements, and then we read a transcript of the "confessio like most of the other reviewers, I also purchased this book from chum mey while i was at the toul sleng genocide museum. I didn't get around to reading it til now because it is difficult to read. i dont really know how to rate it w stars because it isn't like a book or argument or memoir, it is a matter-of-fact testimonial. he crams his life story into about 40 pages, then we have a pamphlet section on his organization and their mission statements, and then we read a transcript of the "confession" he gave while being tortured. I honestly cannot imagine how he can even set foot in the prison and I hope he's had a lot of happiness in the rest of his years. very weird side note is this book smelled really good and i kept stopping reading to sniff it

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I bought this book when I met the author at S-21 because I wanted to support his telling the story of his life. It's the story of one man's life and horrific experiences under the Khmer Rouge. Mey is not a writer by profession so the writing is not literary at all, just simple sentences and fragments. I guess the prose isn't the main point of the book, but it didn't really draw me in. This book was a good accompaniment to my visit to Tuol Sleng, which I definitely recommend visiting if possible, I bought this book when I met the author at S-21 because I wanted to support his telling the story of his life. It's the story of one man's life and horrific experiences under the Khmer Rouge. Mey is not a writer by profession so the writing is not literary at all, just simple sentences and fragments. I guess the prose isn't the main point of the book, but it didn't really draw me in. This book was a good accompaniment to my visit to Tuol Sleng, which I definitely recommend visiting if possible, but I don't think I would've gotten as much out of the book if I hadn't already seen the site in person.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Candice Walsh

    I ended up buying this book at Tuol Sleng from Mr. Mey, who is a very sweet and charming man. The book is gut-wrenching and insightful, although there's no literary quality to it, and the matter-of-fact tone when it comes to the death of family members is jarring.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori Sunn

    We met this man at the S-21 Prison in Phnom Penh. He is one of two remaining survivors from that prison and, despite the atrocities he experienced there, he returns every day to share his story with visitors. For Cambodians, it's important that their experiences under the Khmer Rouge are shared. This is a simple, yet raw, account of this man's experience of being starved, tortured, and losing his entire family during this horrific period in time. It puts a real face on the horror that we typicall We met this man at the S-21 Prison in Phnom Penh. He is one of two remaining survivors from that prison and, despite the atrocities he experienced there, he returns every day to share his story with visitors. For Cambodians, it's important that their experiences under the Khmer Rouge are shared. This is a simple, yet raw, account of this man's experience of being starved, tortured, and losing his entire family during this horrific period in time. It puts a real face on the horror that we typically only see in movies from our couches. You don't read it for the literary prose, you read it for the real, gritty, first hand account of what one man experienced.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I purchased this book from Chum Mey at the S-21 prison. His story is amazing, and he is an inspiration. I was hoping for more from this book. I wanted more details about his life and how he was feeling during the time, but it was more to the point. He wrote about what happened and during what year. It was a little difficult to read maybe because of the translation to English.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tegan

    Purchased this book from Chum Mey himself at S21 Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently. Incredibly moving tale of his childhood & life before the Khmer Rouge, however, not much on his time at S21 or the Khmer Rouge. Purchased this book from Chum Mey himself at S21 Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently. Incredibly moving tale of his childhood & life before the Khmer Rouge, however, not much on his time at S21 or the Khmer Rouge.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Miller-turnbull

    Having met Chum Mey made this book extra special and realistic. It is all truth from his eyes and what he saw during the Khmer Rouge genocide. It is a real eye opener and would be a good teaching aid for schools to explain the harsh treatment theses people endured.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam Schroder

    With a school group from Bowral NSW we visited S21 on 15.1.17 and met Chum Mey. His story is heartbreaking and we were all in awe of the courage it must take to go back there every day as he does. This book is brief and factual. It offers the devastating story of a simple man, living his life the best he knew how, who experienced incomprehensible torture and lost every person he had ever loved, including his wife and four children. It includes images and information about the hell that was the S With a school group from Bowral NSW we visited S21 on 15.1.17 and met Chum Mey. His story is heartbreaking and we were all in awe of the courage it must take to go back there every day as he does. This book is brief and factual. It offers the devastating story of a simple man, living his life the best he knew how, who experienced incomprehensible torture and lost every person he had ever loved, including his wife and four children. It includes images and information about the hell that was the S21 prison and a transcript of the 'confession' that helped, along with his mechanical repair ability, to save his life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is not an author nor a work that pretends to be literary. This is a straight account of a survivor of S-21, the notorious Khmer Rouge torture facility in Phnom Penh. It reads like you are simply listening to the author, without any editor stepping in. It is rather shattering. The book also includes the lengthy "confession" of the author, which is remarkable in how droning and ridiculous it is. One wonders why the author of the confession thought future readers would find the stilted prose a This is not an author nor a work that pretends to be literary. This is a straight account of a survivor of S-21, the notorious Khmer Rouge torture facility in Phnom Penh. It reads like you are simply listening to the author, without any editor stepping in. It is rather shattering. The book also includes the lengthy "confession" of the author, which is remarkable in how droning and ridiculous it is. One wonders why the author of the confession thought future readers would find the stilted prose and painful density to be useful at all. After visiting S-21 and seeing Mr. Chum, this was compelling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Saheb Roy

    Like most, I purchased the book from Mr. Chum Mey earlier this month when I was on a solo trip to Cambodia. I really feel so ignorant that I did not know about this cruel recent history of Cambodia before this. This is an eye opener. I am unable to fathom the fact how the quest for power can cloud one's mind so much that one would go at such heinous length to torture fellow human beings. The recent history is very sad, and although this book summarizes some of the facts, it also leaves a lot of q Like most, I purchased the book from Mr. Chum Mey earlier this month when I was on a solo trip to Cambodia. I really feel so ignorant that I did not know about this cruel recent history of Cambodia before this. This is an eye opener. I am unable to fathom the fact how the quest for power can cloud one's mind so much that one would go at such heinous length to torture fellow human beings. The recent history is very sad, and although this book summarizes some of the facts, it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suze

    Mr. Chum describes his life and experiences leading up to, and during, the reign of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in this simply written nonfiction book. As he recounts his imprisonment, torture, and fabricated confession I couldn’t help thinking, “This is real, this is what so many of the world’s people experience.” Meeting him on the prison tour in Phnom Pehn and getting a signed copy of his book makes it even more meaningful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Kate

    Like many others I purchased Chum Mey’s book after visiting Tuol Seng in Cambodia. Three years later and I have finally decided to read it! It was an easy read despite the poor use of grammar. I found the text a bit dry, but there were parts that really made me hurt for Chum. What a remarkable story he has kindly shared with the world!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

    I really wish I could rate this 5 stars given the premise of this book but the reality is that the writing is a little rough. I am giving it three stars as it is still extremely powerful and courageous of Chum Mey to write his life story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anja Robinson

    A moving account.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan Stone

    Although not expertly written (the same as many autobiographies), it was very interesting to me as I have personally met Chum Mey.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Deepak

    Really powerful account about a horrible past. The book itself is not well written but the story is a must read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Austin Ward

    I'm not going to give this book a star rating... It's not that kind of book. Although there were some translation issues, the scope of the memoir was harrowing as it was the narrow testimonial of one individual's experience out of millions. It's a sad part of a past that is necessary to understand in order to understand the country of Cambodia today and what they have experienced in coming to where they now are.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Desira

    as other reviews have said, it's fascinating to read an account of one of few people to survive this prison. but it is a bare bones translation of the account with little narrative feeling. the details of his confession were surprising in the level of detail that the Organization was interested in.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diane Large

    This is Chum Mey's story of survival at the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On my tour of Phnom Penh, we were taken to the killing field first and then the prison where I met Chum Mey and purchased this book. What I fail to comprehend is this genocide took place from 1975-1979. The estimate is that under Pol Pot 2 million people were killed. We human beings are experts at hurting and killing each other. I don't know how Mey survived the torture, but he was allowed to live because he could r This is Chum Mey's story of survival at the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On my tour of Phnom Penh, we were taken to the killing field first and then the prison where I met Chum Mey and purchased this book. What I fail to comprehend is this genocide took place from 1975-1979. The estimate is that under Pol Pot 2 million people were killed. We human beings are experts at hurting and killing each other. I don't know how Mey survived the torture, but he was allowed to live because he could repair a typewriter. He was a mechanic by trade and repaired cars and equipment.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I found the book a little difficult to read as a lot of it in the beginning was names of provinces but no map is provided to put it into perspective of someone who does not know Cambodia. I could not feel his sadness or emotions in this book possibly due to the English translations. It was a good informative read however I believe there are better books out there to understand more about the Khmer Rouge regime

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    Like most of the other reviewers, I purchased this book from the author at the S-21 museum in Phnom Penh. Chum Mey's story of growing up as a rice farmer then moving to the city to study mechanics gives a flavor of what Cambodia is like, even today. His later detention and torture is horrifying, and sad. I found the confession at the end of the book to be pretty interesting. I can't help but wonder how much Chung Mey "confessed" or if the interrogators just made it up?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tini Bohang

    bought this book from the place where the story came from. to read this is to utterly recall me how the atmosphere was. pictures of the victims, the rules, the old building, the 1x1m rooms, all in there is just cold and dry.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Incredible to meet the man and see how he's contributed to preserving this story. What a remarkable account of his life and the lies he invented to survive the most horrific of tortures. It's hard to surmise the emotion, horror and history contained within this thin book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    An incredible insight into a tragic period in Cambodian history. However, the translation to English is not great and I feel his story deserved better. Still, essential reading for anyone visiting Cambodia or wanting a better understanding of that era.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mike Wigal

    Met him at S-21 prison where he barely escaped execution. A simple man's straightforward account of life in the Khmer Rouge regime.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    extraordinary story of one man's survival through one of histories most horrendous acts

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A very difficult story, but one to read in order to get a glimpse of what it was like during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Beck

    Had me in tears, I highly recommend to anyone who wants to better understand the Khmer Rough Genocide.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Xu Kien

    i have find khmer, and i like this book

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