The introduction outlines the principal arguments of the book, underscoring the importance of situating the Khmer Rouge period in the continuum of Cambodian history, and in the larger context of the Vietnam War. It argues that the Khmer Rouge’s utopian vision was not incubated in isolation, but informed by the colonial and post-colonial experiences of subjugation and perceived betrayal, and that the conditions under which power was seized accounted for Democratic Kampuchea’s self-consuming paranoia and absolute reliance on force both in the execution of policy and in the response to the failure of policy. The chapter also examines the impact of this history on the Cambodian diaspora, and the ways in which individuals and communities negotiate the complex and often vexed relationships with the home and host countries. It also discusses the methodology used in the study and the challenges involved in conducting such research.
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