Here is the story, told from the inside, with humor and a touch of romance, of an election that, against all odds succeeded. The 1993 Cambodian election, in some ways, puts the American 2020 election to shame.

The election’s organizers, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, UNTAC, had to deal with Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, a virtually non-existent infrastructure, and an almost totally illiterate population who would, in the end, register to vote in record numbers and then, even under the threat of violence, vote.
Cambodia and the Year of UNTAC staggers from adventure to adventure as the UN seeks to bring hope to a country reeling from war. With deep feelings for the Cambodian people, this true-life tale – now in a new edition with additional photos and a special afterword – brings to life what it was like to be part of the team that ended Cambodia’s civil war and helped bring stability to that beautiful country.

cover - fixed with map


In equal measures serious, touching, and hilarious.

David Joiner, author of Lotusland

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Simply in terms of recounting a basic narrative of that period, Riddle’s book is perhaps the most successful I have read so far. Clearly and dramatically, he retells the sequence of events and the popular moods associated with them, as they were perceived by many of us working in Phnom Penh.

John Marston, Pacific Affairs

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Riddle has done what no other author writing about that war-torn nation could manage: he brought welcome humor, albeit of the black variety, to an otherwise decidedly and deeply depressing subject.

Thomas M. Grace, author of Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties

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The writer’s knack for storytelling and expert pacing makes Cambodia and the Year of UNTAC a great read until the last page.

David Cooper, Farang Magazine, Bangkok


You can buy Cambodia and the Year of UNTAC directly from me, Tom Riddle, until I can get it reprinted. A hard copy is the cost of printing ($10) and postage. Kindly email me at thomasriddle at