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Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places) Paperback – February 17, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Peoples and Places
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Reprint edition (February 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500284423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500284421
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Brings a new perspective to studies of the great civilization of Angkor. -- Roland Fletcher, director of the Greater Angkor Project

The best account of Angkor available in English...takes the reader on a panoramic tour of Cambodian history. -- Ben Kiernan, author of The Pol Pot Regime

About the Author

Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, and Reading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

More About the Author

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University, Michael D. Coe is a specialist in the comparative study of ancient, tropical forest civilizations. Coe's books include The Maya, Mexico, The True History of Chocolate, Breaking the Maya Code, Reading the Maya Glyphs, and Angkor and the Khmer Civilization.

Customer Reviews

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See all 15 customer reviews
To me, this is a five-star book and I do recommend it to those interested in the subject.
JAG 2.0
It is beautifully illustrated and also features excellent maps both of Angkor Thom and its environs as well as the broader Khmer empire in the classical age.
Jeff Tillman
Coe's writing is superbly well-organized, logical, fascinating, concise, and comprehensive.
Michael Gunther

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gunther on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The great Khmer Empire, best known for its astonishing temples at Angkor, has long fascinated visitors, arm-chair tourists, and scholars alike. In his new book, "Angkor and the Khmer Civilization," archaeologist Michael Coe has written what I believe is, simply, the best current (2003) presentation of the history and culture of this wonderful (literally: full of wonders) ancient civilization. Reading Coe's book is like having a delightful one-on-one conversation with a first-rate thinker, scholar, and teacher. Coe's writing is superbly well-organized, logical, fascinating, concise, and comprehensive. The book is enhanced by numerous high-quality photo illustrations and maps, fully referenced bibliography and notes, and a better-than-average topical index.
Most importantly, this book is obviously a labor of love. Coe, a well-known Mayanist, returns here to his first love, the archaeology of southeast Asia; although political circumstances (e.g.: the Vietnam War, the Pol Pot regime) prevented him from digging in the field, Coe has mastered the literature and walked the sites; his book illuminates the full chronological sweep of Khmer history and culture, from its prehistoric beginnings through the post-Classic period, as never before. It is intellectually exciting, a pleasure to read, and sure to delight anyone from the casual tourist to the experienced professional. Put it together with Freeman and Jacques' "Ancient Angkor," and you have the perfect companions for your next trip to Angkor.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Sullivan on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
The most thoroughly researched text that I found regarding the temples and historic context of the "Classic" Khmer period. Not the best guide once you get to the site -- that would be Laur's illustrated guide. If you miss the boat on ordering both of these texts prior to your trip, you can get them both in the bookstore in Seim Reap. Some of the street vendors at the temples peddle illegal copies of the Coe book. Info as of 10/05.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Chavez on November 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Coe reaches surprisingly far in his pre-historical research. His findings are highly informative, and he conducted research beginning with the earliest traces of civilization in Cambodia. While at first this may seem to hold less relevance than a discussion of more modern times, he successfully seams different eras in Khmer civilization together, so that one understands Khmer history as a smoothly flowing story. In his descriptions of Khmer culture and artifacts, it is clear that Coe is steeped in anthropological and archeological knowledge, and he succeeds in his goal of providing such information clearly.

His style of writing is very clear and refreshing. It allows the reader to easily take in the vast information he presents. At just under two-hundred-fifty pages, Coe provides an abundance of information clearly and concisely. His writing is not dry or verbose, words that are all too often used to describe historical texts. Angkor presents all the information that an historical scholar could hope for, without presenting it in a lifeless manner.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Devleeschouwer Guy on May 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title "Angkor and the Khmer civilization" is misleading in that sense this book treats the Khmer civilization from the prehistory to the 21st century in mainland South East Asia. In this specific context this is an interesting book. In the context of the Khmer civilization restricted to Angkor I would recommend Charles' Higham "The civilization of Angkor ".The Civilization of AngkorCambodian Architecture: Eighth to Thirteenth Centuries (Handbook of Oriental Studies/Handbuch Der Orientalistik)The Archaeology of Mainland Southeast Asia: From 10,000 B.C. to the Fall of Angkor (Cambridge World Archaeology)The Khmers (The Peoples of South East Asia and the Pacific)A History of Cambodia
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JAG 2.0 VINE VOICE on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Coe's "Angkor And The Khmer Civilization" is an excellent work that impressed me in so many ways because it informed me about so many things!

The author gives an excellent account of the Khmer people from their beginnings to the modern era. He traces their culture and civilization from the earliest hunter-gatherers to the arrival from China of rice farming to the building of great cities and temple complexes. He covers the ethnic/cultural/linguistic makeup of the Khmer and their neighbors, their art, culture, religions and their society.

Mr. Coe gives the reader a sense of Khmer at its height with a great empire ruled by mighty kings, an empire economically and militarily powerful in southeast asia. He covers their rivalry with surrounding peoples such as the Cham, Thai, Vietnamese as well as the influence of Indic thought, philosophy and religion and trade links with China.

The book is very well written. Quite often, books of this nature are almost like textbooks - not very entertaining. I found Mr. Coe's work to be well written for the general reader. The author includes many high quality color and black & white photos as well as drawings, maps, diagrams of temples, cities, etc. I found these indispensible for understanding the greater geopolitical circumstances as well as appreciating the beauty of Khmer sculptures and reliefs decorating the Angkor structures.

Unlike many authors (who seem to expect a certain amount of familiarity with the subject on the part of the reader), Mr. Coe's work has "sidebars" to introduce important topics to the reader such as thumbnail sketches of Hinduism/Buddhism that helped myself, as a general reader, to understand the cultural outlook of the Khmer better.

Michael Coe has created an excellent and accessible account of Angkor and the Khmer people who created it. To me, this is a five-star book and I do recommend it to those interested in the subject.
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