cover of book

A Refugee's American Dream: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the U.S. Secret Service
by Leth Oun
with Joe Samuel Starnes
Temple University Press, 2023
Cloth: 978-1-4399-2336-8 | eISBN: 978-1-4399-2338-2
Library of Congress Classification E184.K45
Dewey Decimal Classification 325.210959609752


“I saw many killed. I almost starved. But I escaped to refugee camps in Thailand and eventually made it to the U.S.” Thus begins Leth Oun’s poignant and vivid memoir. A survivor of the Cambodian Killing Fields—having spent a torturous three years, eight months, and ten days imprisoned by the Khmer Rouge—Oun thrived in America, learning English, becoming a citizen, and working as an officer in the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division. 
In A Refugee’s American Dream, Oun shares hard memories of Cambodia, where his father was executed, and his family enslaved in labor camps. 

Following the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Oun survived a year of homelessness then nearly four years in refugee camps. Arriving in America, 17 and penniless, Oun struggled, washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant for $3.15 an hour. Still, he persevered, graduating from Widener University and completing thousands of hours of training to pursue a career in the Secret Service.

While on President Obama’s protection team, he returns to Cambodia after 32 years, reunites with family, and bonds with Reik, the Secret Service dog he handles. Through his most difficult moments, Oun displays truly inspiring resilience that ultimately leads to great achievements.

The authors’ proceeds will go to help Cambodians in need

See other books on: Asian & Asian American | Asian Studies | Cambodia | Maryland | Refugees
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