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The Years of Zero

With remarkable passion and courage, Ty, a survivor of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, recounts the pastoral days of his middle-class Cambodian childhood, under the loving care of his physician father and devoted mother before a time of widespread destruction and death. The author does not mince words when he lists a series of heart-stopping tragedies beginning with his father’s death at the hands of the sadistic Pol Pot’s soldiers, his mother’s haunting demise from starvation in a labor camp, and his eldest brother’s fatal torture in a secret prison. There were brutal mass killings throughout the stark landscape, and Ty writes of the constant surveillance by fellow citizens and the regime, his lone-survivor existence running just one step ahead of death, until he found the welcoming shelter of a Thai refugee camp. The book is a stunning tribute to Ty’s resilience and determination, qualities that help him emerge from the experience somewhat whole—he would eventually be featured in a Time magazine article, adopted by a middle-class family in Amherst, Mass., and given a chance to live the American dream. With equal measures of humor and menace, Ty’s chronicle of endurance and flexibility allows us to cry and cheer for a war orphan who refused to quit life. (BookLife)

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SENG TY was born in the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, the son of a respected physician who taught him to value life, aspire to humility, and seek the good in people. He was thirteen when he made his way alone to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1981. His story was featured in TIME Magazine's article "Children of War", and was read by an American family in Amherst, Massachusetts, who adopted him a year later. Now he is a citizen of the United States, a husband, a father and an educator in the Lowell, MA school system.