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The result of 20 years and dozens of reporting trips into Khmer Rouge controlled jungles, exclusive interviews with the architects of the Cambodian killing fields, and meticulous research and writing, this approximately 400 page hardcover book, Sympathy for the Devil, promises to be the most comprehensive and compelling history of modern Cambodian politics to ever be published.
Told as a first person memoir, Sympathy for the Devil makes one of modern histories darkest chapters come alive with the voices of the Khmer Rouge leaders themselves interviewed by the journalist who devoted his career to confront and ask them the question every Cambodian wanted answers to: Are you guilty of crimes against humanity? Why did you kill 2 million people? And are you sorry?
Thayer’s extraordinary journey penetrating their inner sanctums culminated with his confronting Pol Pot, “the last great interview in the world.” The story of his pursuit is fraught with danger and intrigue, surviving death threats, assassination attempts, badly wounded by a landmine, enduring 16 hospitalizations with malaria, and detention by various armies, among other trials.
Smuggled across front lines and international borders by clandestine contacts, he was the sole independent witness of the 1997 ‘People’s Tribunal’ jungle trial of Pol Pot. Months later, he got the only interview with Pol Pot after he was driven from a 3 year, 8 months, and 20 day reign in power that left 2 million people dead. The interview exposed an unrepentant, paranoid Pol Pot, and revealed a deeply conflicting soft spoken, gentle, and grandfatherly figure who spoke of his beloved daughter, his political influences and why he thought he had done more good for his country and people than harm.
After a decade in the jungles building relationships with low level soldier, Thayer gained the confidence of the top inner circle, interviewing every figure at the core of power.
He was the only outsider present on the day Pol Pot died in 1998.
This gripping tale of dogged reporting, meticulous research, and subordinating dangers of war and deprivations in harsh jungles allowed the world a ring side seat into the inner workings of one of the most notorious political movements of modern times.
This hardcover edition will include at least 32 pages of rare photographs taken by the author.
Estimated delivery: Nov 2014
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