In exploring the Khmer Rouge era your first recommended book is Angkor by Michael Angkor does touch on another strand in Cambodian history: these great. There are only few scholars devoting to study Cambodian history. David Chandler is one of the most prominent experts on Cambodia. His book on "A history of. Keywords: Khmer, History, Politics, Khmer Rouge Format: PDF Please click on the following to read the book online. To download each file.
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Book I is the most comprehensive and detailed study of the origins of the Khmer civilization available. It describes how Chenla -- a state under the vassalage of. When The War Was Over: Cambodia And The Khmer Rouge Revolution, Revised Edition . A bit dry, but the best book available on the history of Cambodia. My first book about Cambodia, Pol Pot's Smile, deals with the Khmer and literary history of this fairly new capital (permanent since ).
He got drawn into the Khmer Rouge and rose through the ranks. After the fall of the regime, he became a born again Christian. Dunlop's book is empathic, intelligent and a real page-turner. The monster becomes a man. In the romantic picture of the old French Indochina, there are beautifully faded colonial buildings. But in Cambodia, it is actually the structures from the following decades that are the most fascinating.
Blending traditional architecture with European modernism, the then young Cambodian architects, led by the maestro Vann Molyvann, created a fascinating school, like a Cambodian Bauhaus. This short-lived movement's legacy is now being destroyed by short-sighted capitalism. But the story is well told in this book, awash with beautiful photographs.
In David Chandler's excellent biography Brother Number One from , the author has an eerie feeling of being watched by the elusive and smiling dictator while he is writing the book. A decade later, Philip Short manages to drag Pol Pot out of the shadows.
Where the earlier biographer had a more academic approach, Short's book reads almost like a thriller at times. The research he has put into the book is in itself mindblowing, and the result constitutes a large and important step towards understanding the Cambodian tragedy. This modern classic was once a beautiful account of a distant place: French Indochina in its twilight. Now it is also the story of a lost world. Every person Lewis meets — monks, farmers, royalty, colonialists — become important in his or her own right; the writer's keen eye for telling detail puts the reader right beside him.
It's easy to be seduced by Phnom Penh, but also to be exhausted, as it's overwhelming in so many ways. It is therefore most helpful to read Milton Osborne's personal and interesting cultural and literary history of this fairly new capital permanent since Osborne arrived in and the city has since been a continuing part of his life.
His book will make the bustling city more comprehensible — though it remains as overwhelming as ever. A handful of the folk stories in the Gatiloke, which was used by Cambodian monks to teach their faith and committed to paper in the late 19th century. A History of Cambodia is perfectly understandable and an easy read.
If only I had the time I would have read the whole thing. I think I'm quite well-equipped already with this nation's history, though. And if I were to visit the country I definitely would have more appreciation of the place. Some parts where not discussed with proper clarity for someone who had no prior knowledge of the long history of Cambodia.
It skips a lot of explanations as to why this or that political figure does what they've done.
So many things were taken for granted whereas if you've never studied Cambodia before, the prior notion of those things should not be given for granted. Not understanding everything fully through the book was annoying. I had to search other places for many answers.
Oct 21, Dennis Richards rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked the book not for the entire presentation but for its detailed components that enabled me to pick and choose different time periods.
In some places, the names of officials and groups confused me. My solution was to skim for time periods where I was most curious and to sort through for activities in specific parts of the country.
The book remains as a resource for future reference. I give this book 2 stars only because of the clear bias that Chandler shows. This book is absolutely great for a contextual study of Cambodia. But, with any significant study, one quickly realizes that Chandler leaves out details that - in my opinion - are incredibly important to Cambodia's modern history. Dec 01, Bob Newman rated it it was amazing. Whether such histories are accepted in those second countries is another question. If you travel to Cambodia, you will see David P.
Chandler's history of that country on every English language bookshelf, in stores and kiosks in every town. This may speak louder than my review as to the value placed on his book by the Cambodians themselves. Cambodians, mostly by dint of their country's climate, did not leave a vast peering through the fog Many scholars write histories of countries not their own.
Cambodians, mostly by dint of their country's climate, did not leave a vast archive of records behind. Of the libraries that once graced Angkor's various sublime complexes, nothing remains. Palm leaf or paper soon rotted and disintegrated in the tropical weather.
The only records we have are 1 what was written in stone, 2 the pictorial record on buildings like the Bayon, also carved in stone, and 3 very occasional records written by Chinese ambassadors or travellers.
During the time when Khmer civilization was at its height, we do have a certain modicum of knowledge from these sources. So, reconstructing Cambodian history, from ancient times to the late 18th century, is like peering through a thick fog where figures come and go, a few lines are spoken but we are not sure of the context, and then the fog swirls once more.
To write a coherent history, without over-speculation or exaggeration, sticking to what is known, but using geography, architecture, Indian and other Southeast Asian political examples, and language as supports for argument, is no easy task. It seems to me that Chandler succeeded brilliantly and the widespread presence of his book in Cambodia means that the Cambodians feel the same. While information exists from the period of Khmer glory, after the decline began, around the 14th century, there is little to nothing available.
Chandler does what he can. When Cambodia returns to recorded historywith European accounts and Vietnamese or Siamese records of their invasions and attempts to "straighten out" the Cambodiansthe book becomes extremely interesting.
The machinations of the various courts and the Vietnamese desire for "order" in a society where Chinese-style bureaucracy and administration was unknown underline themes that continued into the 20th century and indeed, into our own time. We can get the basic tenor of the French colonial rule, roughly , but discussion of this period left me wanting more. The connections between colonial rule, the renewed Cambodian monarchy, and the dissidents who partly turned into Khmer Rouge and partly into those who booted Sihanouk out in , only to flee for their lives a few years later, were not as clear and incisive as the earlier chapters.
I read the earliest edition which as I should disclose was signed by the author who was a friend and colleague back in the s and '80s in Melbourne. I only got a third of the way throughperhaps the rest of the thing is better: I tore up the book and tossed it in the garbage. Glad I bought it used, and I don't want anyone wasting money on this thing again.
I wanted a history. What I got was a bibliographical essay mixed in with whining on the paucity of sources. Chandler is part of a rich tradition of dumping steaming piles of unsorted information while making no useful whole and calling it significant.
For examples: Sounds also like the first kings were possibly using the horse sacrifice, but this isn't explained. Or, can one have a proper discussion of Oc-Eo and Funan without more information about the Indochinese trade across the Kra Isthmus?
Apparently so. Many succession crises are mentioned, but hardly anything about the politics behind them. Invasions are breezily noted without any discussion of anything - they happened. It's a lot of "one damned thing after another. Nov 25, Sarah rated it really liked it. Filled with information, probably the definitive overview of Cambodia's history from Angkor to today.
A frustrating read at times, as particularly in the middle chapters re: Instead, readers must follow tedious blow-by-blows and summarize things for themselves. One does wish Chandler would get a better editor, or take a writing class. Dec 21, Phoury rated it liked it. Not an informative one, but more of analytic. Apr 27, Try Lee rated it it was amazing Shelves: A politic biography of Pol Pot".
The book examines roughly two thousand years of Khmer history. The effect on Cambodia politic and society of the country location between Thailand and Vietnam. Kings during Angkor period From Funan, Chenla, to Angkor he wrote a little, we can learn more our history books in secondary to high school. But from France colony Cambodia , he wrote more than our formal history books especially after king Norodom Sihaknu because some parts our history books couldn't write to those people are still alive.
I bought my copy at Monument Books in Phnom Penh, where the clerk recommended it to me from among the several histories of Cambodia available. This book would be suitable for use within an undergraduate Southeast Asian history class, offering a comprehensive coverage of about years from pre-Angkor times to the beginning of the 21st century of Cambodia. In Chandler's account the ancient Kymer at the point of emergence into the dim light of history are a mess of rice producing agriculturalists headed up by micro kings who are associated with Shiva or occasionally Indra and perform ceremonies to ensure good harvests, this to some extent a grand Indian inspired superstructure sitting on top of local ancestor worship and with that close association and identification with their native region somehow these micro-kingships conglomerate and produce a top king, or a notion of top kingship- these people we know about from inscriptions - chiefly in Sanskrit view spoiler [ that itself evidence that Cambodia was part of an Indian cultural zone hide spoiler ] kingship rarely seems to have descended from father to child, instead frequently successors may claim to be related to a previous ruler via their wife's family, however in that time and place this was acceptable and reasonable.
Part of the king's duties required building symbolic replicas of Mount Meru , hence the reservoirs and temple complexes. Occasionally these Cambodian polities were big and influential enough to pop up in Chinese writings, for instance as Funan.
Chandler's discussion of this period is careful and interesting, but it is plain that a lot of delicate thought rest on slender evidence - inscriptions on temples and to some extent physical remains of building complexes. This comes to a head in the discussion of 13th century monarch Jayavarman VII who breaks with the association of earlier kings with Vedic religion in favour of Mahayana Buddhism. This expressed itself in a wide ranging building program with the construction of roads, wayhouses, reservoirs, and hospitals with substantial numbers of people gifted to support and supply these institutions.
With reference to his buildings Chandler says There were so many of them in fact, that workmanship was often sloppy, and by the end of his reign local supplies of sandstone and limestone for use at Angkor had run out p What is interesting is that Mahayana Buddhism doesn't take off, but Theravada Buddhism without any explicit royal promotion does, without any indication of pressure from above or without, but presumably due to missionary work from neighbouring Theravada Buddhists, this without big temples or massive stone consuming construction work strikes a cord and overtime becomes the dominant religion in the region.
This is plainly pretty important as far as culture and society are concerned but the nature of historical knowledge about Cambodia means that we only can infer that it did happen and not how, why, or even precisely when.