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Ancient Angkor (River Books) [Paperback]

Michael Freeman , Claude Jacques
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Jan 2000 River Books
A handbook on the ancient temples of Angkor for travellers to Cambodia and enthusiasts.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: River Books (24 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500974853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500974858
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 18.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Freeman, professional photographer and author, with more than 100 book titles to his credit, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in geography at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and then worked in advertising in London for six years. He made the break from there in 1971 to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures extensively in the Amazon volume of their World's Wild Places series, including the cover, they encouraged him to begin a full-time photographic career.

Since then, working for editorial clients that include all the world's major magazines, and notably the Smithsonian Magazine (with which he has had a 30-year association, shooting more than 40 stories), Freeman's reputation has resulted in more than 100 books published. Of these, he is author as well as photographer, and they include more than 40 books on the practice of photography - for this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK's Open College of the Arts.

Freeman's books on photography have been translated into fifteen languages, and are available on other Amazon international sites.

They are supported for readers by a regularly updated site, http://thefreemanview.com

Product Description

About the Author

French scholar, Claude Jacques, has studied Angkor for the past 30 years, while Michael Freeman has made many photographic trips there during a 20-yea r period. Ancient Angkor embodies the fruits of their collaboration and experience. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and detailed overview of the temples 12 Mar 2006
By A Customer
A good and detailed overview of the temples at Angkor, with a lot of extra useful information, such as suggested routes for a visit, a list of the most important and beatiful temples, the history of Angkor, etc. Very convenient to carry with you when you visit Angkor.
NOTE: It's better to buy this book in Siem Reap (Cambodia), most street vendors and book shops will sell it to you for about 5 US$.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Detailed Review of the Angkor Sites 3 Feb 2011
It is a common preconception that you go to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, and that is is just one big site. This is far from the truth, and personally I found some of the other sites at least as interesting as Angkor Wat, if not on such a grand scale. This extensively illustrated book covers all the most important sites in the area which number about 45 and includes a plan of each as well as pictures and a detailed description. There are also suggested itineraries, notes on accommodation etc. However, for the latter you will find Tripadvisor of more use. When you are in Siem Reap, you will find that the easiest way to visit the temples is by tuktuk, which can be hired for about $15-$20 a day - the drivers are very knowledgable, and will take you to all the most interesting sites. (Sorry, a bit off topic I know, but if you are buying this book you will probably be visiting Angkor)

Like the other reviewer, I obtained my copy of this book for a few dollars at one of the temples, but this does not help you much if you want it so as to plan ahead! Its a thorough volume but not so bulky that you cannot carry it around on your visits and I would highly recommend getting a copy if you are going to this area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about this World's Wonder. 10 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This medium sized paperback book was a pleasant surprise when I got it in my hands.
It covers the whole Angkor complex very thoroughly with excellent photographs and maps.
I bought this after a trip to Cambodia and it ticks two boxes.
1 A fantastic aide memoire with better photographs than mine.
2 A great guide book for my next trip as it is small enough to pack but has all the information you will need.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Angkor 18 April 2000
By robert l kunst - Published on Amazon.com
A lovingly prepared compilation of superb color photographs, maps, history and scholarly explanations of the major world monument that is Angkor Wat. The authors thoughtfully include suggested itineraries ( ranging from one to six days ), sites ranked by interest, peak times and locations for photographing and even helpful suggestions for accomodations. A must for planning a visit to Angkor Wat or for preserving memories.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take It With You When You Go 14 Jun 2003
By Michael Gunther - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will guide you step by step (literally) through the magnificant temples of Angkor. And even if you weren't planning to go, you will want to for sure, after viewing Michael Freeman's superb photographs and reading Claude Jacques' expert commentary.
No matter where you wander on the very large site of Angkor, Freeman and Jacques are right alongside you, suggesting places to look and explaining what you are looking at. There are maps and temple plans, a glossary, and an index. For visitors with limited time, the suggested itineraries (from one to seven days' length) will let you make the most of your visit.
The book is especially helpful for photographers. Freeman, who has photographed professionaly at Angkor for over a decade, describes the best vantage points and subjects, suggests the best time of day to shoot, and provides itineraries that take you to each location just when the light is best.
The book is well designed and contains many helpful features. For example, a cross-referenced list of architectural features and mythological scenes makes it easy to locate temples that contain whatever the visitor is most interested in seeing.
In short, carrying this book with you is like having an expert photographer and historian as personal guides during your visit to Angkor. You probably won't even need to engage an actual guide, unless you want to pick up a bit of local color; everything you need is right there in the book.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first Class guide to a fantastic set of buildings 23 Jun 2002
By K. Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a fantastic combination of pictures and facts for people wanting to visit the Angkor temples. The pictures stir the imagination and the text provides the facts to go with the pictures.
In fact I recently used this book as my guide while visiting Angkor. It provides a section for each of the most-visited temples and will also give you information on suggested time to put aside for each visit and the best time to go. In fact, my guide at Angkor said this was the best guide book he had seen, and I saw other people using this same book to guide themselves around the temples like I did.
This book provides suggested itineries to the temples and the best times to visist for photography. whether you can actually manage to combine the two is debatable on a short visit. The books main downfall is not its content, but its weight which is quite heavy because of the good quality paper used.
The climate (extremely hot and humid - air conditioning is a worthwhile investment) can make visiting these monuments as trial at times, but they are worth the effort. All the buildings are unique, covered in exquiste carvings (which books can only hint at) and original. Some are still partly swallowed by the jungle. Straight out of indiana Jones.
Get this book, let your imagination wander and visit these amazing ruins if you can before too many other tourists turn up - for they are a world wonder not to be missed. And don't forget your camera - these are places begging to be photographed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great travel companion 25 Sep 2009
By onedrop - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bring this book with you to the Angkor temples. It has complete maps of all the temples with descriptions of how to find some of the hidden reliefs and sculptures in the temples. It also has suggested itineraries and lets you know the best time to visit each site for photography.

There are two authors of the book: Freeman is the photographer, and several of his stunning photos are on each page. I would be lucky if any one of my vacation pictures from Angkor come out as good as his. Claude Jacques is the historian, who wrote the background information. This part leaves a little to be desired - I recommend Michael Coe's book if you want historical background. Jacques is recognized as a thought leader on Khmer history, but his writing in English is not very informative. His introductory chapters did not give me any real understanding of the Khmer temple-builders. And some of the descriptions of the reliefs will state things like "on the south wall a warrior is riding an elephant." Well duh, I can see that. However, some of the descriptions are very good. They will describe the story from the Hindu Veda that the relief is depicting, like the story of the monkey army in the Ramayana seen on many temples.

Outside any of the Angkor temples, you will find hustling Cambodian kids selling pirated versions of this book for under two dollars. The pirated version is compact and lightweight, but you would be missing out on Freeman's amazing color photographs.

If you are lucky enough to visit Angkor, here are my suggestions:
1. Get a hotel or guesthouse in Siem Reap with AC and a pool. On your first day there, find a driver you trust that you will hire for the rest of your trip (twenty bucks a day is reasonable for a tuk-tuk, more for a car).
2. Wake up 4:30am every day and have your driver take you to a temple for sunrise (when the light is best for photography and temperature is reasonable).
3. Have your driver take you back to the hotel for a swim and a nap (so you will not be out at the hottest part of the day when the big tour groups come through the temples).
4. Have your driver take you to another temple for sunset.
5. Don't miss the Bayon or Ta Prohm temples, or the Kampong Phluk floating village.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite guide to the wonder that is Angkor 18 Mar 2008
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Claude Jacques is an expert on Angkor, and has studied its history for 30 years. Photographer Michael Freeman has been taking pictures of Angkor for over 15 years. Together Ancient Angkor is the product of a partnership that has yielded over 350 color illustrations, and a well-written guide to the ruins of Angkor.

Included are detailed plans and descriptions,[even of lesser known temples not found in other guides]. The book is well thought-out -with suggestions of various itineraries, and information on hotels and other items pertaining to travel . This serves not only as a great tourist guide for travellers planning a trip to the ancient ruins but also a great book for armchair travellers with lush color illustrations and meticulous descriptions.
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