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A Record of Cambodia: The Land and Its People Paperback – October 18, 2007

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-9749511244 ISBN-10: 9749511247

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A highly recommended, extremely welcome addition to the field of Southeast Asian studies. . . . A nice selection of color photos supplements the text and helps orient readers to what this traveler, Zhou Daguan, may have seen in 1297."―Choice

Review

"Peter Harris has given a new generation of readers a masterly version of Zhou’s timeless and fascinating account that scholars of Cambodia are sure to relish and visitors to Angkor are sure to enjoy."―David Chandler
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (October 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9749511247
  • ISBN-13: 978-9749511244
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kent Davis on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're heading to Cambodia as a tourist on your first visit...or if you're a scholar immersed in Southeast Asian studies...this book is for you. It's unusual to find a work of this depth that holds such broad appeal.

Zhou Daguan's 700 year old report of his diplomatic journey to the fabulously wealthy ancient Khmer capital of Angkor is rare. In fact, it is one of the only written records about this mysterious kingdom that has survived to the present day.

Two things make this edition unique:

Author Peter Harris provides the first direct Chinese to English translation of this historic record of Asian travel with many new insights and interpretations.

Second, Harris accomplishes this in a readable style, also including fascinating comparisons to Marco Polo's China journey, which was contemporary with Zhou's account.

The result is a book that will enhance any recreational visit to Cambodia, but at the same time offers concrete facts and references for academic readers.

This edition includes 28 full color photos and two maps giving readers modern references to temples and concepts in Zhou's original account. Academics will be pleased to find 44 pages of detailed endnotes, more than 100 bibliographic references, two appendices and a detailed index. All the reference tools include Chinese characters for Sino-linguists.

"A Record of Cambodia" delivers cultural relevance, readability and rigorous scholarship in a compact and inexpensive volume.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By PBjW on April 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
For visitors to Angkor Wat, this book is a "must". However, it's more than just a late afternoon read after touring Angkor Thom and environs. It's an excellent translation of a valuable work with very helpful footnotes for academics and independent scholars. The excellent footnotes and explanations and inclusion of Chinese characters makes it a valuable reference work for those of us studying Cambodian, Vietnamese (Champa) and Chinese history. Don't let its slim size and popularity with armchair and real visitors distract you from its value.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rhandhali on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the only substantial record of the Angkorian civilization that we have. It was written in the 13th century by a Chinese traveller, Zhou Daguan and has been translated directly into English for the first time. This book is an invaluable accessory for any trip to Angkor Wat, the descriptions provided give a life to the dead temples and ruins that they themselves can no longer project.

Unfortunately even this record is fragmentary and much of this book is filled with extremely helpful translator's notes and footnotes. Also included are maps and photographs of some of the landmarks described in some of the books. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in Angkor Wat and would consider it essential for anyone actually going there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jame DiBiasio on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a writer on classical Angkor, I have a confession to make: Zhou Daguan has "been there, done that". There is no better source for peering into Angkor's past. Tim Harris has given the English-speaking world an incredible gift with this fine translation, as well as a useful introduction. This book is a must for Angkor fans.
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Because of a Chinese Zhou Daguan (known as Chou Ta-kuan by French historians) who arrived in Angkor in 1296 as an ambassador during the Yuan dynasty, lived there for about a year, kept record of the nature, fauna, every day's lives about Khmer people including the king's activities with his subjects, and much more, I was able to turn the time machine back 700 years before our current time and tried to live amazingly with them. This book should be read by those who want to have a profound study about the history of Cambodia, especially during the Angkor period (879-1431).
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This is it, short, recently translated, this is the translation of the one remaining documententation of the ancient Khmer civilization from a first hand report. Everything else you read is partially based on this. Quaint, brief and you can see where the scholors will argue the interpretation but if you are a student of history of the Khmer civilization you probably should read this to get the first hand info and then wonder how the others added their interpretation and colored their belief from the bas reliefs of Ankor. As a casual reader its not a novel and not a flowing story. You have to think of a traveller seeing things for the first time and wonder what he didnt understand of the language or missinterpreted himself in reporting their culture. I cannot believe that for all the libraries and culture of that civilization that the Thais have destroyed all other records..
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A Record of Cambodia: The Land and Its People
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