Philip Short's book, Pol Pot: Anatomy Of A Nightmare (2004) is not a conventional biography. Rather it is more of a short history of the political events in Cambodia from about 1951 to present day, which explain how the Khmer Rouge came into power. Short has done an excellent job of putting together sources and explaining what happened to Cambodia during that era. This begins with trying to chase the French out. It continued with fighting the Viet Cong and being bombed into the stone age by the US military. This was followed by a civil war in Cambodia as well. The early stages of Pol Pot's life that included study in Paris and in Europe with the future leaders of the Khmer Rouge. It was here that they first learned of Stalin, Marx, and Lenin. There are many complex events and circumstances that led to the rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Many of these had to do with cold war policies in which fueled the Vietnam War. Some of the savagery is suggested to be partly an aspect of Khmer culture, in which people are known to hold grudges for years and repaying a strike to the face with murder years later. It is this crossing a line when when the facade cracks and begets the violence that was seen in the 70s when the Khmer Rouge took over and emptied the cities to start their agrarian revolution. This aspect of savagery was also institutionalized by the Khmer Rouge who would routinely eliminate an entire family once the decision was made to kill the head of the family. It is a tragic story of the waste of human life and corrupting influence of power.