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A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival (Short History of Asia)

A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival (Short History of Asia) [Kindle Edition]

John Tully

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Product Description

Product Description

Temples and killing fields, mighty rivers and impenetrable forests, a past filled with glory and decline Cambodia is a land of contrasts. A millennia ago it was an empire at the height of its power, building the vast temple complexes of Angkor. Now, a thousand years later, ravaged by conflict and a genocidal civil war, Cambodia finds itself struggling with democracy, beset by corruption and on the lowest end of the global spectrum of economic wealth.

In this concise and compelling history, John Tully charts Cambodia's past from the richness of the Angkorean empire, through the dark ages of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the era of French colonialism, independence, the Vietnamese conflict, and the Pol Pot regime to its present day incarnation as a flawed democracy.

Cambodia remains an intriguing enigma to the outside world. With a depressing record of war, famine and invasion that have all threatened to destroy it, Cambodia's survival is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

About the Author

John Tully first became interested in Indochina in the 1960s. He has a MA in Asian Studies and a PhD in history and in author of two books on Cambodian history. He is currently a lecturer in Political Science and Asian Studies at Melbourne's Victoria University. Series Editor Milton Osborne has had an association with the Asian region for over 40 years as an academic, public servant and independent writer. He is the author of eight books on Asian topics, including Southeast Asia: An introductory history, first published in 1979 and now in its eighth edition, and, most recently, The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future, published in 2000.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1076 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (14 Jun 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003RWT3YC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know." 4 Jun 2008
By Crazy Fox - Published on
Recently on a whim I picked up a CD of Cambodian 60's rock, and reading some short biographical sketches on the singers I was struck by the vaguely deplorable fact that I knew next to nothing about Cambodia's history. John Tully's nicely readable book here was the perfect solution. It's just what it says it is, a short history, following the sweep of this fascinating country's historical development with just enough detail to be informative and memorable. From Cambodia's prehistory through the ancient Angkorean civilization, French colonialism, independence and the dramatic ups and downs of the late 20th century (monarchy, republic, and a variety of dictatorships) up until the 1993 elections and the residual social problems of the early 2000's--Tully guides the reader through the whole story in a way that makes this massive download of fact stick in the mind vividly.

Tully's prose is wonderfully straightforward even as it's enjoyably conversational in a friendly manner, evincing both the historian's cool objectivity and warm enthusiasm. His narrative is carefully balanced, even-handed, and fair in a refreshing manner; when there are unresolved debates among historians concerning points of Cambodian history, he lays out the arguments from both sides equally, and his judgments of historically significant personages often balance the good and bad judiciously in shades of gray, avoiding the strong temptation of rhetorical excess. Last but not least, he demonstrates that the good old art of academic scholars writing accessibly but reliably for curious non-specialists is not a lost one, after all.

This book is also ideal for Cambodia-bound tourists. I myself read this book while traveling within the U.S. but found the book's uncomplicated style, reasonably large print, and frequent section breaks ideal for diversionary reading while waiting in airports, riding in airplanes, or kicking back on the patio of a beach house. It's user-friendly without being dumbed-down, and in general makes for a fine introduction. And yes, all those confusing historical references make sense now, and I can listen to the tracks on Cambodian Rocks Volume 1 with a new level of appreciation.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and concise 28 Sep 2008
By J. Weinstein - Published on
This is an excellent book. It is extremely well-written and reads more like a novel rather than a history. Part of this is due to the author's skill and part is due to the fact that Cambodia's history is quite dramatic, containing an abundance of tragedy, irony, and direction changes.

The author does a great job of turning what could be boring facts into an interesting story.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid work, a bit dry however... 13 Nov 2013
By Funky Tickle Productions (Consignment) - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ok, but found the narrative a bit flat. Quite scholarly, refers to what the various scholars have to say re Cambodia, but dips into recitation rather than synthesis which I found a bit disappointing. Very solid work, just not for me the most engaging writing style-- although it does get a bit more engaging towards the end...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Cambodian History 31 July 2013
By Gerald E. Shenk - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was exactly what I was looking for to prepare for my first trip to Cambodia. It is very readable--accessible to a general audience--but informed by recent scholarship. While rightly focused on Cambodia, Tully provides just the right amount of regional context so that you understand the broader history of Southeast Asia--especially Thailand and Vietnam--in relation to Cambodia. While I am not an expert on Cambodia, it does seem to me that Tully knows exactly which details are essential for the general reader who mainly needs to get the big picture. Any given chapter might inspire the reader to look for more depth elsewhere. For example, as someone who had an image of Sihanouk shaped by the U.S. media of the 1960s, I found Tully's treatment of this complex man caused me to rethink much of what I thought I knew about him. I am now interested in reading something more in-depth on Sihanouk. Tully's coverage of the post-World War II is also very helpful for anyone interested in broadening their understanding of the significance of Southeast Asia in the Cold War apart from the U.S. War in Vietnam.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great background 24 Jan 2013
By Curtis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book does a great job of providing a quick summary of the years of history in Cambodia and its stuggles throughout history. The history of the last 200 years was what I was interested in and it provided great insight to Cambodia's current state.
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