Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ALIVE IN THE KILLING FIELDS by Nawuth Keat

ALIVE IN THE KILLING FIELDS

Surviving the Khmer Rouge Genocide

By Nawuth Keat (Author) , Martha Kendall (Author)

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0515-3
Publisher: National Geographic

Written in collaboration with his college literature professor, Keat tells the compelling story of how he survived the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The fifth of eight children, Nawuth was nine when the Khmer Rouge came to his small village. Nawuth’s father was a successful rice farmer, making the family one of its most prosperous—and a prime target for the Khmer Rouge, which captures and enslaves them. Forced to labor with hunger and physical brutality as constants, Nawuth eventually loses his parents, younger sister and several other members of his family; his resourcefulness and determination to keep the rest alive are inspiring. His recollections are vivid and often horrific, though the disjointed narrative sometimes makes it difficult to follow the chronology. As compelling and poignant as Nawuth’s personal story is, though, the lack of any historical context is a significant oversight. Without even an introduction or historical note to guide them, young readers will not understand what the Khmer Rouge was or why it engaged in a genocidal campaign against its own people, rendering this moving memoir incomplete. (time line) (Memoir. 12-16)