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Synopsis

EXTERMINATORS?OF?THE?YEAR?ZERO focuses on the dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime of revolutionary human erasure in Cambodia †an implosive, volatile genocide exacted within Pol Pot's own country, and pursued with relentless, obsessional determination. At the end of his four years of dictatorial power, Pol Pot left behind a unique legacy †Cambodia, on its liberation from his reign of terror, comprised zones of immense killing fields and wastelands, with towering pyramids of human skulls stacked up around its depopulated cities. A quarter of the country's population had been exterminated, the victims often having suffered extended torture before being summarily clubbed to death; even the most committed and fawning adherents of the Khmer Rouge regime often found themselves aberrantly selected for massacre in Pol Pot's extermination facilities, such as Tuol Sleng. This illustrated document, based on extensive investigation and incorporating rare and often disturbing photographic images, looks in depth at the intricate origins of Pol Pot's annihilatory ecstasy, including his readings of Sade, Rimbaud and Bataille as a student in Paris. Like Hirohito's project for Japan's territorial expansion through mass-slaughter, Pol Pot's scorched-earth, Stalin-inspired strategy for Cambodia's population still indelibly imprints contemporary Asia and its future.

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