Sixteen Years in the Land of Death by Nakhonkham Bouphanouvong
Revolution and Reeducation in Laos
Sixteen Years in the Land of Death: Revolution and Reeducation in Laos, is the account of the life of Nakhonkham Bouphanouvong, a Lao man who survived incarceration from 1975 to 1991 in the communist run reeducation camps located in the province of Huaphan in northeastern Laos. During that time he suffered through hard labor, torture and near starvation along with many other high-ranking Royal Lao government and army officials, many of whom did not live to tell of their own experience.
Prior to his imprisonment Nakhonkham endured three decades of civil war in Laos. He left the capital city of Vientiane and his life as a student behind in 1945 to join the nationalistic Lao Issara movement where he worked as a soldier, propagandist and writer through the 1950's. Nakhontham later witnessed the Lao Issara's transformation in eastern Laos into a fully-fledged communist revolution.
Not convinced by the communist rhetoric, he left to join the Neutralist faction formed in the early 1960's. Withy the Neutralist's demise not long after its formation, Nakhonkham found it necessary to join the Royal Lao Government where he worked as an editor for several publications and eventually became a high-ranking police officer in Vientiane. Having come full circle, by 1975 Nakhonkham found himself on the losing side of the civil war and lived in Laos as a political prisoner until emigrating to the United States in 1992.