By John Tully
During this concise and compelling background, Cambodia’s previous is defined in vibrant element, from the richness of the Angkorean empire in the course of the darkish a while of the 18th and early-19th centuries, French colonialism, independence, the Vietnamese clash, the Pol Pot regime, and its present incarnation as a troubled democracy. With full of life writing and fervour for the subject, John Tully covers the total sweep of Cambodian heritage, explaining why this land of contrasts continues to be an enticing enigma to the foreign neighborhood. Detailing the miserable list of battle, famine, and invasion that has threatened to spoil Cambodia, this dialogue indicates its survival to be a testomony to the resilience of the human spirit.
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Extra info for A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival (A Short History of Asia series)
A dining area at one of the villas of the Amanpuri, a Phuket resort that uses traditional style in innovative ways; the triangular cushions are covered with Thai cotton. Thai food comes in more varieties than an outsider might suspect from experiences in London and Los Angeles. Each region has its own specialties, from the spicy yams or salads of the northeast, to the Muslim-style curries of the far south, from the noodle-based street food of Bangkok to Burmese-inspired dishes of the north. Travelling around the country becomes a journey of culinary revelation, as constantly surprising as the ever-changing scenery.
Ancient Sukhothai returns to life each year when the Loy Krathong festival is staged in its ponds and moats. The Royal Barge Procession, now held only on special occasions such as the Golden Jubilee, is one of the most magnificent Thai spectacles. Dozens of incredibly carved and gilded barges, some dating from early Bangkok, carry the King in state along the Chao Phraya Riven while some 2,000 oarsmen in traditional costumes chant rythmically. The largest of the vessels, the Supphanahongsa, is over 50 meters long, adorned with a mythical, swan-like bird at its prow.
Though it lasted only a little more than two centuries, Sukhothai was the scene of extraordinary development in art and culture, as well as in politics. Here the Thai alphabet was devised, and the first distinctly Thai forms of architecture and sculpture took shape; moreover, through a system of treaties and alliances, Thai power spread until it was felt over a considerably larger area than the country occupies today. Ayutthaya, which ruled for four centuries, was a more complex kingdom, one that demonstrated to an even greater degree the Thai gift for assimilation.
A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival (A Short History of Asia series) by John Tully