Publication Date: Jul 2023
RRP: $36.99
ISBN: 9781922633903
Format: Paperback
Size: 153mm x 234mm
Pages: 384
Category: Monash Asia Series, Politics

A Tiger Rules the Mountain

Cambodia’s Pursuit of Democracy

Gordon Conochie

Also available as an ebook from your favourite retailer.

‘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.’ Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC KC, former Australian foreign minister

‘Gordon Conochie has written an incisive personal account of the past decade of Cambodian politics, detailing Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruthless consolidation of power and the closing-over of the country’s few remaining glades of freedom. Rich with the voices of ordinary people and keenly attuned to the country’s cultural and social dynamics, A Tiger Rules the Mountain is vital reading for anyone wanting to understand where Cambodia has come from, and where it might be going.Sebastian Strangio, journalist and author of Cambodia: From Pol Pot to Hun Sen and Beyond

‘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

‘A tour de force. Conochie skillfully weaves together a remarkable array of individual voices to reveal the complicated landscape of Cambodia today. His interviewees span the capital Phnom Penh, the regions, and the far- flung homelands of Cambodia’s indigenous people. He probes all sides of the political divide to show the nuances in a riveting, vital contribution to our understanding of Cambodia’s recent history.’ Sue Coffey, author of Seeking Justice in Cambodia

‘An extraordinarily compelling tale of the courage it takes to stand up to one of the world’s most repressive and corrupt regimes and why the “little” people of Cambodia need the support of the international community more than ever.’ Mary Ann Jolley, Al Jazeera

A propulsive and vivid insight into a complex country

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.


Watch Gordon Conochie’s interview on ABC News The World:

Gordon Conochie

Gordon Conochie is an adjunct research fellow at La Trobe University and a former journalist. Born in Scotland, he has masters’ degrees in politics and international relations. In Cambodia, he worked with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and the World Bank...
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