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Books forum

Historical/Cultural Reading to Recommend?

Posted by alexandra13 on 27/8/2009 at 03:22

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 alexandra13 has been a member since 14/8/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by seagypsy on 27/8/2009 at 06:00

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 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by somtam2000 on 27/8/2009 at 07:04 admin

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 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,772
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Posted by Saphir on 25/11/2012 at 22:34

An obvious one I guess, but Milton Osborne's "Mekong".

#4 Saphir has been a member since 19/5/2009. Posts: 74
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