Books forum

Historical/Cultural Reading to Recommend?

  • alexandra13

    Joined Travelfish
    14th August, 2009
    Posts: 6

    Can anyone recommend good books about the region? I'll be in Cambodia and Vietnam for 3 weeks or so and want to learn more before going. I have a background in international relations so am moderately well informed, but would love to read more about the history and culture about these two countries. Could be travel writing or political/historical non-fiction - anything.


    #1 Posted: 27/8/2009 - 03:22

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  • seagypsy

    Joined Travelfish
    5th February, 2009
    Posts: 136

    Hi Alexandra,

    For travel writing, still one of my favorites is Andrew X. Pham's powerfully written 'Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam'.
    As a Viet Kieu, Andrew addresses the dual identity that Asian-Americans experience, especially as refugees and provides insights as a stranger in both his adopted and birth countries.

    For Vietnamese culure, perhaps, 'Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind and Spirit' by Nguyen Van Huy and Laurel Kendall, editors. This book is published by the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the American Museum of Natural History.

    For Cambodia, Francis Bizot's 'The Gate' and how he managed to survive his encounter with Duch who recently went on trial as head of Tuol Sleng/S-21 is very inoformative.

    As a guide to Angkor , Dawn Rooney's 'Angkor' is widely available in Cambodia but I also like Vittorio Roveda's, 'Sacred Angkor: The Carved Bas Reliefs of Angkor Wat'.

    For Cambodian recent history and politics, Evan Gottesman's, 'Cambodia After the Khmer Rouge: Inside the Politics of Nation Building'.

    #2 Posted: 27/8/2009 - 06:00

  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Indonesia
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    Good suggestions there from seagypsy - there are also other threads on this in the Book section of the forum (to where I've transferred this thread)

    #3 Posted: 27/8/2009 - 07:04

  • Saphir

    Click here to learn more about Saphir
    Joined Travelfish
    19th May, 2009
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    An obvious one I guess, but Milton Osborne's "Mekong".

    #4 Posted: 25/11/2012 - 22:34

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