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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures by Sambath Meas is a memoir of one family’s history and heritage. The memoir sheds light on those turbulent years of the 1970s in Cambodia when the Cold War between America and Russia was in full swing and which necessarily affected world politics, including the Vietnam War and civil strife in the East. The Immortal Seeds starts off with an introduction by Sambath about her own background and family history, and narrates how her family survived Cambodia during those years and finally made their way to America to settle there. The chapters thus start around the mid-1970s and contain detailed descriptions and narratives of her own family's displacement, struggles, the political situation of those times including the battle between the Khmer Republic and the Khmer Rouge, including and up to their time of leaving the country when the author was a young child. In addition to the narrative, there are many photographs and a family tree included in the book, along with names of all family members for easy reference.
This book provides a glimpse into those conflict-ridden years of Cambodian history, which may not be as well known to the rest of the world as some other world events. Sambath writes not only a family memoir, but also details about individual relationships including relationships between her parents, cousins, uncles, etc. and how each of them responded to the crisis in their own way. The writing is candid, real, and gritty. The book even reads like a long lost diary or an old family memoir, which I found very interesting, and I learnt quite a few new facts about Cambodian history in general, including its strong Buddhist undercurrent. This is a well written book that I would recommend!