Social Scientist. v 2, no. 18-19 (Jan-Feb 1974) p. 72.


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BOOK REVIEW

Review Article

Prince Sihanouk on the Peopled War in Cambodia

NORODOM SIHANOUK and WILFRED BURCHETT, MY WAR WITH THE CIA—CAMBODIA'S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL, Alien Lane The Penguin Press^ London 1973, pp 271, ^ 0.50.

HE was a life-long revolutionary of humble origins. I am an aristocrat from a long line of monarchs. He was of another generation, 30 years my senior. But we had one thing in common, unswerving devotion to our country's independence. He chose the stern revolutionary road, a course which appalled me when I was young and thought of all the blood that would be shed.

Those were the feelings of Prince Sihanouk, Cambodia's Head of State, when he was taking his place as an honour guard at the bier of President Ho Chi-Minh. "Gazing for the first and last time at the serene, austere face of that incomparable patriot, I felt that, contained in his life and activities, was the history of generations of sacrifice by the peoples of Indo-China to be free of foreign domination." (p 157)

This probably sums up the content of the 262-page-long story of Prince Sihanouk which has merged with the story of the Cambodian people's struggle for freedom—first from the French, then from the Japanese, and finally from the Americans.

The co-author, Wilfred Burchett, tells us in his Foreword that the book's material "was dictated by Norodom Sihanouk in French, transcribed by myself into English, divided up according to agreed chapter titles and corrected by Prince Sihanouk.'* (p 16) The result is an extremely readable story of one of the chapters in the history of the Asian people's struggle for freedom.

It is not for us to quarrel with Sihanouk and his co-author on the title given to the book. We should, however, warn the reader against thinking that it is only the story of the prince's anti-American struggle. In fact, it goes back to the days when Cambodia was under the French colonial



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