Starving Season: One Person’s Story

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Seng’s Starving Season is a true story of hope, heartbreak, and survival. It is a snapshot of one life disrupted by one of the most horrific, rarely spoken of atrocities of the ‘modern age’ — the genocide of native Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge through slow starvation and brutal labor.

Seng entered the ‘killing fields,’ the encampments where so-called new people (people who were educated or had any kind of diluted blood that made them look less than a full-blooded old person) were sent to slave away. With him were his mother, father, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Twenty-four of his family began this horrendous journey. One survived.

My heart broke reading this book. It boggles the mind how humans can treat fellow humans this way. Dr Seng’s book brings a sense of intimacy to the topic that a pure history text never could. It was an up-close and personal look at the near extinction of a culture, a reminder that these events happened to real people. This was an intense read. While not in any way graphic, we do get a feel for the terrible living conditions. For the backbreaking work, for the lack of food. For the despair of watching your family members waste away and die, one by one. For the fear of sickness and death.

The Khmer Rouge genocide is an event that I didn’t learn much about in school, which makes me kinda angry. I feel like perhaps my schools regarded it as unimportant, especially given that other genocide events were discussed in greater detail. A poll of my younger siblings, and younger co-workers revealed that only one knew what I was talking about. All were actively in college. I find that rather unacceptable. If we do not teach these things in schools, we are destined to repeat the past. If we give less space to one event over another, we show we value some lives more than others. If I still taught, this book would be added to my curriculum for sure!

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.



Author Seang M. Seng, MD
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 170 pages
Publisher Lulu Publishing Services
Publish Date 2017-Aug-10
ISBN 9781483473703
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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