This book is intended as a contribution to the history of Cambodia between April 1975 and 1982--the period of Democratic Kampuchea (the so-called 'Pol Pot Regime') from April 1975 to January 1979 and the first three years of the succeeding People's Republic of Kampuchea ('Heng Samrin Regime'). The formulation 'contribution to the history of Cambodia' has been chosen with all deliberation. I do not claim to have written The History of Cambodia, nor even A History of Cambodia for the period in question, primarily, as is explained in chapter 2, because the sources used are too incomplete and unrepresentative of the Cambodian population as a whole. Those sources merit the attention given them, but entire areas of information essential for The History of Cambodia remain untouched by them and cannot yet be studied adequately from other sources either.
If the form and emphasis of the book are determined in part by the sources used, they also depend in some measure on my own experiences of Cambodia, which began in 1960.
I first arrived in Cambodia in July 1960 to begin work as an English language teacher in local high schools under one of the U.S. government aid programs to that country. In that capacity I spent nearly four years in Cambodia, the first two in Kompong Thom, then a year in Siemreap, and a fourth academic year in Phnom Penh, cut short in March 1964 as a result of Sihanouk's termination of all U.S. aid projects.