First They Killed My Father - Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father

By Loung Ung

  • Release Date: 2010-10-12
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Size: 5.43 MB
Score: 4.5
From 149 Ratings

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Repackaged in a new tie-in edition to coincide with the Netflix film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, a moving story of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her triumphant spirit as she survived the Cambodian genocide under Pol Pot’s brutal regime.

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. While her beautiful mother worried that Loung was a troublemaker—that she stomped around like a thirsty cow—her beloved father knew Loung was a clever girl.

When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family fled their home and moved from village to village to hide their identity, their education, their former life of privilege. Eventually, the family dispersed in order to survive. Loung trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, while other siblings were sent to labor camps. As the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia, destroying the Khmer Rouge, Loung and her surviving siblings were slowly reunited.

Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother, the courage and sacrifices of the rest of her family—and sustained by her sister’s gentle kindness amid brutality—Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this story is truly unforgettable.


  • Emotional

    By 👍👍👍🍕🍕
    This book was important for me to read to learn about my family’s history and the history of Cambodia. Reading this I became more aware. It also helped me connect to Cambodia through Loung‘s descriptions. It was well written and I’m glad that it became a movie. Overall, best book I’ve EVER read.
  • Remarkable

    By jaysf1129
    I couldn't put this book down. She brought me with her from her child point of View to the one of the worst humanitarian crisis in history, with honesty, and beautiful words. I can't wait to see the movie !!
  • It was ok

    By Simon Asnes
    To long though
  • Eye opening

    By Cyclops7747
    Loung ung did a phenomenal job writing this book and putting into words her awful experience through the Cambodian genocide. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who needs touching up on this gruesome period in history.
  • Moving and heartbreaking

    By Leftovers left no ending
    It's hard to "review" a book like this; the author's ability to retro her experiences in her own childhood narration highlights how harrowing her experience was. The confusion and loss. It's very hard hitting and difficult to accept at times, and at times angering, that such horrible things could happen. It's also inspiring to see her come through it all. Very moving.
  • Must Read

    By apchristine07
    Enriching! Her story really instilled both optimism and courage.
  • Amazing

    By jessica_garcia
    The author makes you feel like you are right there with her. Some very sad parts but throughout the whole book, I found myself pushing for her and her family. A true story of how a little girl survived it through the Cambodian genocide.
  • Inspiring

    By Lynhdan
    Wonderful book.