Brother Number One: A Political Biography Of Pol Pot by David P. ChandlerIn the tragic recent history of Cambodia—a past scarred by a long occupation by Vietnamese forces and by the preceding three-year reign of terror by the brutal Khmer Rouge—no figure looms larger or more ominously than that of Pol Pot. As secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) since 1962 and as prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea (DK), he has been widely blamed for trying to destroy Cambodian society. By implementing policies whose effects were genocidal, he oversaw the deaths of more than one million of his nation’s people.The political career of Saloth Sar, better known by his nom de guerre Pol Pot, forms a critical but largely inaccessible portion of twentieth-century Cambodian history. What we know about his life is sketchy: a comfortable childhood, three years of study in France, and a short career as a schoolteacher preceded several years—spent mostly in hiding—as a guerrilla and the commander of the victorious army in Cambodia’s civil war. His career reached a climax when he and his associates, coming to power, attempted to transform their country along lines more radical than any attempted by a modern regime. Driven into hiding in 1979 by invading Vietnamese forces, Pol Pot maintained his leadership of a Khmer Rouge guerrilla army in exile, remaining a power and a threat.In this political biography, David P. Chandler throws light on the shadowy figure of Pol Pot. Basing his study on interviews and on a wide range of sources in English, Cambodian, and French, the author illuminates the ideas and behavior of this enigmatic man and his entourage against the background of post–World War II events, providing a key to understanding this horrific, pivotal period of Cambodian history. In this revised edition, Chandler provides new information on the state of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge following the death of Pol Pot in 1997.
Pol Pot’s Broken Heart Influenced His Actions, Biographer Says
Home News Politics. His friends and acquaintances seemed surprised that such a thing had happened because this couple was not a usual one. He was stuck with everything. With arrests, killings, and tortures on the rise, nothing could be done. Keng Vansak, interviewed following publication of his Khmer-language biography of the Khmer Rouge's "Brother Number One," said he had tried to cheer the young man up with a reference to Cambodian literature, in which young princes disappeared into the jungle to learn how to fight. I said that in most Khmer literature, young princes went out to study with hermits in the jungle. After they had acquired all the power they needed, they got a powerful bow, left their masters, fought with the yaksa [ogre], and then came in to take power in their own land.
He directed the mass killing of intellectuals, professional people, and city dwellers—over a million of his own people. Pol Pot's father had political connections at the royal court at the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, some seventy miles from Prek Sbau, the small hamlet in Kompong Thom province where Pol Pot was born. Visits by court officials and even by Cambodian king Sisowath Monivong himself to Pol Pot's father's home appear to have been common. Pol Pot often denied that he was Saloth Sar, probably to protect his family. He adopted his new name by , and even after he had become premier, people were unsure of his actual identity.
Pol Pot , original name Saloth Sar , born May 19, , Kompong Thom province, Cambodia—died April 15, , near Anlong Veng, along the Cambodia-Thailand border , Khmer political leader who led the Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime —79 in Cambodia that imposed severe hardships on the Cambodian people. His radical communist government forced the mass evacuations of cities, killed or displaced millions of people, and left a legacy of brutality and impoverishment. The son of a landowning farmer, Saloth Sar was sent at age 5 or 6 to live with an older brother in Phnom Penh , where he was educated. A mediocre student, he failed the entrance examinations for high school and so instead studied carpentry for a year at a technical school in Phnom Penh. In he went to Paris on a scholarship to study radio electronics. There he became involved with the French Communist Party and joined a group of young left-wing Cambodian nationalists who later became his fellow leaders in the Khmer Rouge.