No wonder the 25-odd students writing here fled to the US. As one recalls: ""One day my baby sister had bloody diarrhea. . .but my mother couldn't really take good care of her. . .if my mother took one day off, she could get in big trouble and would have been punished by being denied food, and if she took three days off, she could have been executed."" That was life under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge; but, as the short autobiographical essays here make clear, it wasn't much rosier in communist Vietnam or in Laos. So, off to America, in many cases with the first leg of the journey being spent on rough high seas in rusty-bucket boats, braving and--as horrifyingly detailed here--sometimes encountering murderous, raping Thai pirates. And then America itself--which, despite painful adjustments to new food, language, and other customs, rarely has shone so brightly as the land of the free as in these simple, moving pages.