Suggested Reading List
A Dragon Apparent, Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
Author: Norman Lewis
Description: A classic account of travels and adventure during the last years of French Indochina, strong on atmosphere and including wonderfully detailed descriptions of local cultures and archaeological treasures. First published in 1951.
A Traveller's History of Southeast Asia
Author: J.M. Barwise, Nicholas J. White
Description: A compact history of the region, including the Khmer and the various ancient kingdoms that produced Borobudur, Angkor and other architectural marvels.
Author: Dawn Rooney
Description: A site plan and pocket guide to the city of Angkor at a scale of 1:40,000.
Arts of Southeast Asia
Author: Fiona Kerlogue
Description: A handsome guide to the art, architecture, textiles and crafts of Southeast Asia.
Birds of Southeast Asia
Author: Craig Robson
Description: This authoritative, masterfully illustrated guide, featuring 140 color plates covering 1,270 species throughout the region, also includes Malaysia, Burma, Borneo and Indonesia.
Cambodia's Curse, The Modern History of a Troubled Land
Author: Joel Brinkley
Description: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joel Brinkley returns to Cambodia a generation after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime to report on the country's continuing struggle to recover from its past.
Collected Short Stories, Volume 4
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
Description: Maugham can evoke turn-of-the-century colonial Asia like no other. This collection of stories features many set in Malaysia, Borneo and other southeast Asian locales, including the well-known tale "The Letter."
Communion, A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam
Author: Kim Fay
Description: Fay recounts in savory detail a five-week journey with two friends from Hanoi to Saigon in search of the traditions, rituals and pleasures of food from local markets and street foods to haute cuisine.
Eyewitness Guide Vietnam and Angkor Wat
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: Featuring innovative site diagrams, local maps and hundreds of color photographs, this handy companion introduces the culture, history and attractions of Vietnam.
Fire in the Lake
Author: Frances FitzGerald
Description: A classic historical, political and cultural portrait of the Vietnam War, seen through the eyes of the Vietnamese. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, FitzGerald, a staff writer at the New Yorker and a reporter in Vietnam, presents a vivid image of a revolution and a clear-sighted case for why the U.S offensive was doomed from the start.
First They Killed My Father, A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
Author: Loung Ung
Description: An eye-opening eyewitness account of the atrocities suffered by millions of Cambodians from the perspective of a young girl who survived the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
Hot Sour Salty Sweet, A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
Author: Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Description: From Salsas to Street Foods, Noodles to Desserts, dishes from different cuisines within Southeast Asia appear side by side in this magnificently illustrated cookbook and cultural guide to the mighty Mekong and the foods of the region from Southern China to Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Insight Guide Thailand
Author: Insight Guides
Description: This handsome guide brings Thailand to life in hundreds of color photographs and vividly written essays by a team of experts. Panoramic in scope, the book takes us from the crowded streets of modern Bangkok to the beaches to the rural north.
Letters from Thailand, A Novel
Author: Botan, Susan Fulop Kepner (Translator)
Description: A prize-winning novel, first published in 1969 and here newly translated into English. Taking the form of a series of letters back home to his mother, the novel follows the fate of Tan Suang U, a Chinese immigrant in Bangkok at the close of World War II, who marries, raises a family, and runs a successful business. The novel, among its many pleasures, depicts daily life in Bangkok's thriving Chinatown.
Southeast Asia Map
Description: A clear, double-sided map of all of Southeast Asia at a scale of 1:4,500,000.
Southeast Asia, A Concise History
Author: Mary Somers Heidhues
Description: A highly readable, illustrated history of Southeast Asia, covering politics, economics, society and culture. With 131 black-and-white illustrations and 11 maps.
Temples of Cambodia, The Heart of Angkor
Author: Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Barry Brukoff (Photographer)
Description: Jessup (Art and Architecture of Cambodia) provides the accompanying essays to this oversized portfolio of dazzling color images by Barry Brukoff, who has been photographing the monuments of Cambodia since 1963.
Thailand, A Short History
Author: David K. Wyatt
Description: A concise, readable introduction to the history of the country from prehistory up to the 21st century.
Thailand, Traveller's Wildlife Guide
Author: David L. Pearson
Description: Featuring full-color illustrations of 600 of Thailand's most common birds, mammals, reef fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles.
The Coroner's Lunch
Author: Colin Cotterill
Description: The first in Colin Cotterill's wonderful Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery series follows the septuagenarian national coroner of Laos as he navigates both the criminal underworld of communist Laos and the spiritual world of his ancestors.
The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars
Author: Andrew X. Pham
Description: Pham recounts the story of his father's life during the French occupation, Japanese invasion and the American War, weaving such momentous events with anecdotes from his childhood and details of family, friends, food and daily life.
The Gods Drink Whiskey
Author: Stephen T. Asma
Description: Asma writes with verve and wit in this eye-opening account of his yearlong stint teaching at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh. His account is both an overview of Theravada Buddhism and a down-to-earth portrait of contemporary Cambodia.
The King Never Smiles, A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej
Author: Paul M. Handley
Description: A balanced biography of Thailand's powerful king, a constitutional monarch who came to the throne of his country from the United States in 1946.
The Mekong, Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future
Author: Milton Osborne
Description: A cultural history of the great river from prehistory to European exploration, colonial tensions and modern challenges. It's an engaging introduction to the history of Southeast Asia.
The Quiet American
Author: Graham Greene
Description: A classic, this is the most famous Western work of fiction on Vietnam. Greene writes of a love triangle between a war correspondent, his Vietnamese consort and an optimistic young American during the last days of French rule.
The River's Tale, A Year on the Mekong
Author: Edward Gargan
Description: A personal, probing chronicle of a 3,000 mile journey on the river from its source in China through Tibet, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
The Sacred Willow, Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family
Author: Duong Van Mai Elliott
Description: This vivid family saga, beginning with the author's great-grandfather, captures the life and momentous history of Vietnam over the last 100 years.
Vietnam, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: John Balaban, Nguyen Qui Duc
Description: From rain forest and rural countryside to the cities, these 17 stories from Vietnam's finest writers explore its landscapes, myths and changing traditions.
Vietnam, Rising Dragon
Author: Bill Hayton
Description: The veteran BBC newsman covers the tangled politics, rapidly changing economy, culture, history and people of Vietnam with great insight in this timely portrait of a nation in transition.
What the Buddha Taught
Author: Walpola Sri Rahula
Description: A classic account of Theravada Buddhism by a respected monk and scholar from Sri Lanka. Provides translations from original texts with explanations for Western readers. A good foundation for any visitor to Southeast Asia.