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The Civilization of Angkor

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In the late sixteenth century a mythical encounter was reported during an elephant hunt in the dense north of the Tonle Sap, or Great Lake of central Cambodia. King Satha of Cambodia and his retainers were beating a path through the undergrowth when they were halted by stone giants and a massive wall. The King, the fable reported, ordered six thousand men to clear away the ...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published April 23rd 2004 by University of California Press (first published June 14th 2001)
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 ·  58 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

I love reading books on archaeology. A lot of the information doesn’t sink in — the names and dates and precise contents of tombs — but the interpretations that come out of it do, and I have a great time reliving my childhood dreams of being an archaeologist. (Blame Time Team.) In the case of this book, it’s mostly based on inscriptions and ruins actually found standing, rather than excavations, and I ended up tiring of the succession of names and vague facts, and
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable reading specially when travelling in Siem Reap. Makes the monuments much more understandable. Not as a travel guide but as to who the people were.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
A mixed bag. The book has some really engaging chapters while others are marred by dry and workmanlike writing. This probably has to do with the nature of the source material; for large parts of the period covered our only written sources are inscriptions on walls and stelea that mainly detail donations to temples made by kings and grandees, and the chapters based on these sources thus end up feeling listlike and repetitive. Even so, I can't help but feel like a truly skilled author would have ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I personally learned a lot from this book as a great reference to summarizing the lead-up and the eventual establishment of Angkor. The book is full of lots of details, and as a reference I am sure it is hard to pass. However, this was a difficult book to read, especially during the long, drawn out achievements of the various rulers of Angkor. At the conclusion of reading the book and going back through the various notes that I took while reading this book, I have a greater appreciation for the ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this up at the airport after spending 10 days in Cambodia. I didn’t get the chance to visit Angkor Wat, but had travelled to 5 provinces — and noticed how proud the Cambodians were of their country and history. This book sheds some light on the Angkor civilisation, as well as the nature of studying history/ nature of knowledge; how theories in the past are disproved now. Archeology is however not my forte and some parts of the book were too academic for my fancy. I would’ve preferred ...more
Mark Field
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having just returned from visiting Angkor, I needed some more background information on the history and development of the Khmer society. This is a very readable and plain english history that gives the needed background as well as touching on the contemporary thought and theory about the culture and civilisation.
Duong Tan
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Đáng tiếc là trò chơi Age of Empire đã không kịp bổ sung Khmer vào danh sách đội quân đế chế. Thật quá đáng tiếc :D
Tom Mcmillan
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
A history of the Khmer Empire beginning in around 100 AD, and eliminating in the creation of the city of Angkor in approximately 1200 AD, and how the city, which at one time was the LARGEST CITY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, simply disappeared. No one understands exactly what happened other than it fell to the constant warfare in Southeast Asia from 1300-1700. A good scholarly work.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, non-fiction
There are occasional points of interest about the civilisation of Angkor scattered throughout this book, but overall it is very difficult to relate to the subject matter. The maps and timelines are particularly poor.
Michael Spence
Dec 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book abandoned at page 96. I got fed up with what I can only describe as constant naming of places and people and very little else.
May 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: asia-books
This was a little erudite for me, but I still enjoyed getting a big picture of life and times of Angkor.
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Charles Higham was an author and poet. Higham was a recipient of the Prix des Créateurs of the Académie Française and the Poetry Society of London Prize.