Suggested Reading on Cambodia and other Southeast Asian Nations

While in Cambodia, I have read numerous books on its history, both colonial and modern. Most of the selections focus on the Khmer Rouge. Many of these works provide priceless context and insight that are necessary to understand and address the current situation in Cambodia. Below are some of my favorite readings from this summer.


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This is a great book to start with               Good background info               Provides a really succinct overview

Cambodia's colonial history.                                                                                             of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. 

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Based on evidence from S-21,                   Another book by David Chandler Francois Bizot was imprisoned for 

one of Khmer Rouge's secret prisons  3 months by Khmer Rouge in '71, released 

and then played a key role at French embassy

during fall of Phnom Penh in 1975.

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An amazing work on Cambodian Addresses various social issues 

Christians' struggles throughout facing Cambodia

Cambodian history. 

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Provides a history of Phnom A woman's tale of being sold into sexual slavery

Penh from colonial times  at age 12 and how she's become a staunch activist.

to present day.


The week I traveled to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) I read three books on the Vietnam War that I highly recommend; Ninh's novel and Dang Thuy Tram's diary are particularly valuable in that they provide a Vietnamese perspective.

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Vietnamese fiction, but not Diary of a North Vietnamese  Michael Herr recounts his experiences

far removed from reality. doctor. (How it came to be published as a reporter during the Vietnam war.

is just as interesting as the work).


Several of the books I read this summer did not deal with Cambodia, but were set in other countries such as Burma and Laos.  Although most were fictional works, they still provided great insight into each nation's history, culture, and people. I have provided three examples of such books below.

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