An account of murder, starvation, bravery, and faith under Cambodia’s dreaded Khmer Rouge regime.
In 1974, Siv Eng, a Cambodian teenager from the rural town of Battambang, was full of hope for a promising future when she joined her younger sister, Sourn Leng, in a Phnom Penh apartment. There, they planned to live as they pursued pharmacy studies at the University of Health Science. They joined their older brother, Pho—a freshly minted electrical engineer—and his young wife, Sok Yann, as well as their aunt Chhiv Hong and other family members. But their lives were about to turn nightmarish, as the Khmer Rouge were about to take over the country. In this debut biography, Allen relates, in Siv Eng’s voice,the gripping story of her aunt’s struggle to survive seemingly unrelenting terror. In the 1970s, Allen notes, the Khmer Rouge enslaved the entire country’s population, eliminated education, money, the judicial system, private property, as well as any type of happiness, including singing, that the regime considered a sign of capitalist decadence. Throughout this book, the author employs a matter-of-fact, almost flat prose style that contrasts well with the horror of the narrative that she relates in her aunt’s voice. Along the way, Allen effectively reveals the privation and misery created by the Cambodian communists as Siv Eng survived in her country’s wasteland; she found hope in only two things—her love of her family members and her quiet, lasting sense of prayer: “We were so hungry,” Siv Eng narrates, “The suffering was unbearable. Instead of using the rice to feed the hungry mouths, the Angkar [Khmer Rouge] was feeding bullets to guns.” The story’s chronology isn’t straightforward, but flashbacks offer a contrast between Siv Eng’s earlier days and her later ordeal.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)