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The Elimination: A survivor confronts the chief of the Khmer Rouge Death Camps
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The Elimination: A survivor confronts the chief of the Khmer Rouge Death Camps

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  190 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
From the internationally acclaimed director of S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, a survivor’s autobiography that confronts the evils of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship.

Rithy Panh was only eleven years old when the Khmer Rouge expelled his family from Phnom Penh in 1975. In the months and years that followed, his entire family was executed, starved, or worked to death. Th
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Other Press (first published 2011)
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Ana  Vlădescu
Short account of a survivor's suffering during the Khmer Rouge rule of Cambodia, and the ensuing mental problems he has suffered for the rest of his life. Nothing about this account is stylized, and I loved that. This is as deep as the author could cut to get to the truth of his childhood and the horror of the genocide we now condemn globally. Must read for anyone interested in the subject.
Juan Jiménez García
Rithy Panh. Viaje al fin del hombre

Para aquellos que hemos seguido la obra de Rithy Panh desde tiempo inmemorial, la aparición de La eliminación (escrito junto a Christophe Bataille y publicado ahora por Anagrama), es uno de los acontecimientos del año, además de venir a cerrar (como seguramente también para el director camboyano), un círculo, o, mejor, terminar un puzle. Este libro es esa pieza que sirve para darle una nueva intensidad.

Cuando Panh habla de su última película, Duch, le maître de
Diane S ☔
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A filmmaker and a survivor, who lost his whole family at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. There is just something chilling and powerful reading this history from someone who had a first hand view. Not many people get to confront their torturer, who insists he is every man and any man, and ask for reasons and explanations. Duch is the torturer, the head of the group, who torture for the fun of it, knowing the confessions they were getting were not true. Absolutely horrifying to read at times and yet ...more
Nick Lincoln
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
This is the story of someone who lived and survived in the insane world of "Kampuchea" in the late 1970s. It's not a treatise on why these events happened.

It's as chilling as you'd expect. What makes the Cambodia story so compelling is the brevity of the events (barely four years) and the total dominance of the Khmer Rouge in that period.

Panh's story is, of course, heart-breaking. What the book doesn't give is a context for why the disaster happened; no doubt this is covered elsewhere and I'll b
I love memoir more than any other genre especially if it involves history. However I must say that I developed a love-hate relationship with this book simply because of its narrative: everything’s mixed up from beginning 'til end as if the author wants to convey everything at once, lest he forgets them. As a result it took me longer to finish the book than I would normally have. Six days of intermittent reading slump, almost to the point of giving up. But I knew I had to go on because it was the ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I found the style not very reader-friendly, but upon reading of Rithy's experience, it makes perfect sense. Someone who lives through such trauma probably remembers things at random, seemingly out of place, and without warning or context. The fact that such treatment of people happened only 40 years ago is just astounding. Praise to Rithy for rising above and never losing hope.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich weiß nicht, was ich zu dem Buch sagen soll/kann/darf ... außer, dass ich es empfehle, es zu lesen. Mir blieb mehrfach der Kloß im Halse stecken. Das Buch ist echt harter Tobak. Das kann man jedenfalls nicht so einfach mal nebenher lesen.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Haunting. Brutal. Beautiful.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Si certains peuvent affirmer que les chambres à gaz nazies ont été un "détail" dans l"histoire de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, alors tout crime de masse est susceptible, un jour ou l'autre, d'être considéré comme un "détail"- en France ou ailleurs. Au Cambodge par exemple. [...] Je veux que la vérité soit établie et documentée. Si aucun détail de l'histoire n'est contestable, alors ce crime de masse ne sera jamais un "détail"".

Il est dur de parler de ce livre juste après en avoir lu la dernière
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the style in which the author wrote this book. It's split sort of into different commentaries. One of an interview with a benevolent member of the regime, his own experience, and how he feels present day. I was really drawn to the passages of his experience and wish they were fleshed out a bit more. At some points there was a lot of jumping around from one line of commentary to the next and it made for a bit of confusing reading at times.

Overall, a great read.
Luis R
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ce livre et le documentaire 'S21 The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine' sont essentiels pour comprendre le Cambodge aujourd'hui. Il faut admettre que dans ce cas là, parfois la réalité dépasse la fiction. Rithy Panh est tout simplement magistral.
Michael Westveer
Good read, a little bouncy.

I'm not sure if something was lost in translation,but the author often outthought himself and confused this reader. However, Jesus does save and this mirrors Saul/Paul.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Tragic story.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rithy Panh interweaves autobiography (the author lost nearly his entire family to the Cambodian genocide when he was barely a teenager), interviews he conducted, having become a film-maker, with Duch (a maths teacher before he became a torturer), the head of the Khmer Rouge's main torture and execution centre, then awaiting trial for genocide, and broader commentary by the author.

It's an extremely difficult read because of how horrific the content is; Panh is a superb writer. He makes it clear
Mar 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I decided not to read this book, because I didn't want to read a book about this subject.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¿Qué sucede cuando un niño de apenas trece años debe “aprender a no ser”? ¿A borrarse como individuo? El horror en el que sumió Pol Pot a Camboya hace apenas 35 años es uno frente al cual el lector debe forzar los límites de la imaginación al compás de la narración.
El hilo conductor de la memoria, que reconstruye el caos asesino, la hambruna y el masivo desplazamiento al que fue sometido todo el país, lleva de la mano al lector por el infierno de Dante. Rithy Panh, hijo de un educador humanista
Andrés Bermúdez Liévano
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary memoir of surviving the Cambodian genocide and then interviewing one of its most infamous perpetrators (Comrade Duch) over several months.

The book's main strength, tough, is precisely that it does not 'behave' like an ordinary autobiography. Instead, it weaves many of Rithy Panh's personal reflections: fragments of his childhood memories in the bush, slices of conversation with Duch and fellow torturers, descriptions of the notorious S21 prision (object of his most memorable do
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un texte sur ce génocide mal connu (en tout cas pour ma part) qu'est le génocide cambodgien (1975)-1979). On découvre une idéologie pseudo marxisante complètement délirante produisant une horreur sans nom et surtout le personnage de Douch, tortionnaire dans le camp de S21, homme instruit à la française dépourvu, semble-t-il du moindre remords, Le texte entrecoupe l'histoire de l'auteur, survivant du génocide ayant perdu une grande partie de ses proches, avec son expérience auprès du tribuanl pén ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A thoughtful, moving account of Rithy Panh's experiences as a child during the four years of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia interspersed with notes from his interviews with Duchy, chief of the Khmer Death Camps. I've recently visited S21, the camp within Phnom Penh, and seen the buildings and the cells that have been turned into a museum, so to imagine the scenes being described there and Duchy's participation in them was especially harrowing. Panh has made several movies about the genocide, one ...more
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For who wants to know more about the Red Khmer revolution, this book is a must-read.
The writer describes in parallel his personal experience and life during the Khmer Rouge era (he was 13 in 1975, at the beginning of these events) and his numerous interviews with Duch as an adult and recognised film director. He writes in a vivid manner and one understands how, knowing that he is a cineast.
His whole process is to try to stay away from emotions and mostly to try and understand the man Duch, this
Sarah Lahey
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I believe this is a book that deserves to be read and absorbed and I would have given it a higher rating if it flowed better. It's on purpose, but the broken, back and forth style didn't make a lot of sense to me until I was about half way into the book. I kind of wished that Panh's personal story and his interviews of Duch were separated by two different books.

If you liked this book, I would highly recommend:
When Broken Glass Floats, by Chanrithy Him

Her memoir is one the most heartfelt tellings
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
The way Rithy writes, flashbacks and interviews mixed with life now is a very intriguing style of writing. I did have some trouble trying to remember what was happening if it did jump around a lot making it a bit confusing to read at times. However, his memories did come across clear at times and were written with so much emotion and vivid descriptions I felt like I could actually see the hell he was describing. It was a very informative and interesting look on the Khmer Rouge and Duch, one of t ...more
ce livre m'a permis d'apprendre quelque chose sur l'histoire du Cambodge qui ne m'est pas familier. J ai été ému par ce témoignage, toutefois je trouve qu'il est parfois difficile de garder le file de l'hisoire avec la superposition des deux périodes temps voulue par l'auteur.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impossible de lacher ce livre..un must! Rithy Panh, ancienne victime des Khmers Rouges, devenu cinéaste, passe de longues heures à interviewer Duch, bourreau et ' technicien du génocide'. Il parle aussi de son parcours, de sa famille. Puissant et incontournable.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
"kMeh" rouge.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Chilling book from a survivor and now film maker who documents his one-on-one discussions with the former commandant of S-21 killing center.

Helen Epstein
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, memoir
an unusual book about the cambodian genocide by a survivor who is a film-maker in France. You can read my full reviews at
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Duro e crudo.... Un libro che fa riflettere sulla malvagità dell'uomo.
Come può una persona essere cosi spietata, fare cose disumane sui suoi simili...
R.W. Gray
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Profound and painful to read. Such unfathomable loss and trauma.
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“But I’ve never seen a free exchange. A gift is something else. I lived for four years in a society without currency, and I never felt that the absence of money made injustice easier to bear. And I can’t forget that the very idea of value had disappeared. Nothing could be estimated, or esteemed, anymore—not human life or anything else. But to assess something, to evaluate it, doesn’t necessarily mean to have contempt for it or to destroy it. Nothing” 0 likes
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