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The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers) Paperback – April 13, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Sri Lanka Reader is unprecedented. Never before has there been a book so synoptic in its treatment of Sri Lankan history, politics, and culture. The overall organization, the selections chosen for inclusion, and the introductions to the individual pieces are all of the highest order. This book will be welcomed by specialists in Sri Lankan studies, as well as the more general, educated reader.”—Roger R. Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Carleton College


“John Holt’s The Sri Lanka Reader gives many insights into contemporary Sri Lanka while providing an in-depth picture of its rich history. Holt effectively weaves together documents, analytical accounts, photographs, and poetic works to produce a balanced work that is consistent in quality and readability despite accommodating many viewpoints. It is a book that you will return to time and again. It will undoubtedly become the standard collection of documents on Sri Lanka and its history.”—Chandra R. de Silva, author of Sri Lanka: A History


“ [A] superb anthology edited by that most perceptive and shrewd observer of Sri Lanka and its complex social, economic and political history, John Clifford Holt. . . . John Holt’s Reader is a stellar collection of wide-ranging essays both scholarly and popular, folklore, poetry and reportage that run into a mammoth 700 plus pages. Nor is this all. The Reader contains 54 images of paintings, sculptures and architecture together with its editor’s suggestions for further reading and, a comprehensive index.”
(Tissa Jayatilaka Sunday Times (Colombo))

“. . . the ideal source book for analytical study of Sri Lanka’s history enlightening the reader as to what caused the present ills.”
(Rajitha Weerakoon Sunday Times (Colombo))

The Sri Lanka Reader is an ambitious volume compiled with dexterity. Holt communicates with captivating force the island’s geopolitical, strategic and historical significance, offering the reader a nuanced introduction to the intrigue and diverse scholarship of this tiny island.”
(Nayana Bibile Asian Studies Review)

The Sri Lanka Reader will make a valued gift to those Sri Lankans and others whose interest in the Island is intelligent and thoughtful; going deeper than beautiful tropical pictures (see the book’s cover); description of delicious dishes, and friendly inhabitants. It will be the standard ‘Reader’ on Sri Lanka for many years to come; a work not to be read once and put aside but to be kept, referred to, reflected upon, and used as a starting point for further reading according to one’s (different) interest.”
(Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan Sunday Leader (Columbo))

“[This is a must-have book for all Sri Lankan scholars.”
(Victor C. De Munck Journal of World History)

The Sri Lanka Reader helps one in coming to terms with the country’s present, given that its past has, in a very large way, continually cast a shadow on the social and political trails it has followed. Reading the work makes for a clearer comprehension of Sri Lanka, warts and all.”
(Syed Badrul Ahsan Asian Affairs)

About the Author

John Clifford Holt is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He has written many books, including Spirits of the Place: Buddhism and Lao Religious Culture, The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation, Politics and Culture, and The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka. He has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka.

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Product Details

  • Series: The World Readers
  • Paperback: 792 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822349825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822349822
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ilse H. Heringer on January 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Superior introduction to Sri Lanka's long and complex and often tragic history! A well-balanced selection of key texts including historical reports, socio-political analyses, excerpts of literary texts, inscriptions, ancient and modern poetry -- the voices of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays, Burghers, Portuguese, Dutch, Brits, Indians, and Americans -- "From ancient times" to "Kingship-in-the-making." If you can read only one book about Sri Lanka -- this is it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Gifford on March 14, 2015
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Blurbs recommend this book to scholars, but that's missing a mark: this book was *excellent* preparation for this non-academic's travels in Sri Lanka. It that helped me have a much deeper appreciation of this beautiful and complex country. With a better understanding historical context for the ancient cities, the colonial influence in everything from agriculture to infrastructure, the troubles of the civil war- I could look with more open eyes at the places around me, and more compassion for the people we met. The only problem I had with this book: it's a hefty tome, and I had to get it mailed to Malaysia! Hopefully travelers abroad can easily download a digital edition in the future, this book can only benefit readers (and Sri Lanka!) by being more readily accessible.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jehan raheem on November 26, 2013
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VERY USEFUL BOOK. THOUGHTFULLY COMILED AND MOST SELECTIVE IN ITS CHOICES.THIS SERIES OF BOOKS ARE VERY USEFUL AND VERY HELPFUL.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Suszcynsky on August 17, 2014
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Excellent.
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