‘An intriguing kaleidoscope of Cambodian voices, giving enriching insights into why the country is still so far from becoming the true democracy its people need and deserve.’ Gareth Evans
‘A must-read, at times gripping and remarkable ringside view of the last decade of Cambodia’s fight for the survival of democracy under a Leviathan Prime Minister who no longer brooks dissent.’ Professor Sophal Ear, PhD
‘A gritty, from-the-ground-up view of recent Cambodian politics, which privileges the voices of ordinary Cambodians. Meticulously researched and spun into a gripping story by Conochie, this is a vital piece of narrative non-fiction and social history.’ Dr Tom Doig University of Queensland
Cambodia’s Hun Sen is the world’s longest-serving prime minister, in power since 1985. In 2013, Sen’s rule came under threat when the exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, unexpectedly returned just before a national election. One hundred thousand supporters hailed him at the airport as protests swept the country. On election day, millions voted for change. This narrative non-fiction account tells the dramatic story of that election and the subsequent multi-year wrestle for power, right through to the dramatic events of the present day.
This is Cambodia through the lens of the human stories. Gordon Conochie lived and worked in the country and interviewed many involved in the events, including government officials, journalists, young human-rights activists and opposition politicians. The story he finds is both complex and riveting: Cambodia’s history is riven with trauma yet there is a powerful and swelling appetite for change. Looking ahead to Cambodia’s future and the role of democracy in South-East Asia, Conochie examines whether we will continue to see a backslide in liberal democracy or if the region could gradually be on the path to a more liberal future.