Beyond the Killing Fields: War Writings - Sydney Schanberg Cambodia, an Unnecessary War
This chapter of the book is devoted to Schanberg's news articles about Cambodia and notebook entries from the time, arranged in a chronological order. It allows readers to read the articles as they would have appeared in the New York Times back when they were written. The articles deal with every aspect of the Cambodian Civil War and its aftermath: The war crimes committed by all sides; mistaken bombings of allied Cambodian villages by US planes; the miserable conditions of refugees; the thousands of malnourished and starving children; the horrible conditions of the hospitals; and the rampant corruption of the Lon Nol regime. The last few stories in this chapter are devoted to Schanberg's personal experiences: being captured by the Khmer Rouge and nearly executed, life in the French embassy, and finally being taken to Thailand with all of the other foreigners stuck in the French embassy. 5/5
The Killing Fields
The only writing that this section contains is "The Death and Life of Dith Pran", about Schanberg and Pran's friendship leading up to the Khmer Rouge takeover, the massive guilt that Schanberg felt when he left Pran at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge, and the story of Schanberg's attempt to find Pran; however, the main theme in this is the story of Dith Pran's survival, escape and eventual reunion with his family and Schanberg, which is what the movie The Killing Fields was based off of. 5/5
East Pakistan Fights to Become Independent Bangladesh
This chapter, like the first, is a collection of Schanberg's articles written about the struggle for Bengali independence and the start of the Bangladesh Liberation War. It deals with the cruelty, suppression and "ethnic cleansing" of the Bengali people, particularly the Hindu minority, by the West Pakistanis; the suffering of the millions of refugees streaming over the border to India; the eventual intervention of India on Bangladesh's behalf; and finally, the horrible aftermath of the Pakistani massacres and how the US delayed India's receiving the peace offer by a day. 5/5
Vietnam, 1972
This chapter is composed of articles written from Schanberg's time in Vietnam, covering the "Easter Offensive" and the retreat of hundreds of thousands of refugees further south when a South Vietnamese unit breaks without even fighting the North Vietnamese, leaving the way open for the North Vietnamese to overwhelm the villages below the "Demilitarized Zone". The best story out of them all is the last one, covering the relationship between the American and South Vietnamese governments and the journalists stationed in the country. 5/5
Return to Cambodia: A Military Coup
This chapter is just one long article; it is a very good one however. It is about the terrible political atmosphere of Cambodia in the late 90s, with both Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh trying to gain influence with the Khmer Rouge to use it against the other. Also written about was the quest for justice against Pol Pot and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge, which since both Hun and Ranariddh wanted more troops to fight the other, was nearly pushed aside. 5/5
The Cover-Up of U.S. POWs Left Behind in Vietnam
Schanberg has amassed a large amount of evidence pointing to the fact that hundreds of POWs were left behind in Vietnam after the US withdrawal, and that despite this evidence, the US Government has never officially admitted to leaving them behind. The government has not only not admitted to it, but, led by men like John McCain, have been actively denying this and accusing people holding these views of being crazy and "conspiracy theorists". 5/5
The Bush Doctrine in Iraq
This short chapter is a criticism of George Bush and other neoconservative's rampant militaristic political views, and also an attack on the Project for the New American Century. The last article gives the reasons why some journalists, after experiencing all the horrors of war, still wish to continue covering them. 5/5