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"After The Killing Fields" Reveals New Insights on Cambodian Genocide

One of history's most horrifying crimes takes center stage in a new book from Texas Tech University Press.

TTU Press

October Book Cover

One of the greatest crimes of the latter half of the 20th Century was the Khmer Rouge's genocide in Cambodia in the mid-1970s. Millions of innocent people were executed, most for the "crimes" of being educated or for being members of the upper- or middle-class. Most of the population was enslaved into brutal forced-labor gangs. The government worked to destroy the cultural and religious heritage of the nation, demolishing hundreds of historical sites and temples. Even after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, no senior member of the Khmer Rouge has ever been charged with a crime.

Craig Etcheson takes a new look at this horrifying crime in "After the Killing Fields: Lessons from the Cambodian Genocide," a new book from Texas Tech University Press. He reports that new findings show that the death toll from the Cambodian genocide was approximately 2.2 million -- about a half million higher than commonly believed. Despite regular denials from the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Etcheson demonstrates not only that they were aware of the mass killings, but that they personally managed and directed them.

This book details the work of Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program, which laid the evidentiary basis for the forthcoming Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The book also presents the information collected through the Mass Grave Mapping Project of the Documentation Center of Cambodia and reveals that the pattern of killing was relatively uniform throughout the country.

Detailing the struggle to come to terms with what happened in Cambodia, Etcheson concludes that real justice is not merely elusive, but may, in fact, be impossible, especially for crimes on the scale of genocide.

Etcheson is a principal founder of the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and former Program Manager and Acting Director of the Cambodia Genocide Program at Yale University.

For more information or to purchase the book, visit the Texas Tech University Press Web site.