First time to Cambodia? Are you looking for Cambodia History books to read and learn more about the history of Angkor Wat? We prepare this list especially for you.
This recommendation is a part of the series that we will list down best books about Cambodia.
In this post, we like to recommend the best books on Cambodian history.
Read any of these books will give you knowledge of Cambodia history. You will learn about the glory time of Angkor period where Cambodia was once known as the Khmer Empire.
It was the time when the country reached its top level. It was the time when Angkor Wat temples were built. You will gain a lot of knowledge of the Cambodian culture, civilization and the temples.
Let’s start our recommendation!
The book is published in 2004 and written by Charles Higham, a British archeologist and research professor at the University of Otago.
The readers expressed their good feedback on the clear and well-described history of the Khmer empire between 800 to 1200. That was the period of Khmer glory, full of power and talent people that allow them to build Angkor Wat successfully.
I believe during the writing process, Charles came to visit Angkor Wat and read all the inscriptions on the wall. He might also meet Khmer local people, listened to the legends and folds that would allow him to understand how Angkor Wat was built.
This is a result of hard researching work. It might not too much entertain because it is written by an archeologist. You have to keep that in mind. But if you want to understand in details how possibly humans can build such a great temple, this book is for you.
It could be a very good resource if you want to write any paper or do some research on the civilization of Angkor.
This book is a travel note from a Chinese missionary, Zhou Daguan, who came to visit Cambodia in 1296. It is right after Angkor Wat was completely built.
As Cambodia city was moved from one place to another because of the war, we don’t have many records of our past. This travel note became one and only one source of information to give us an idea of how Khmer people lived in their glory days.
Zhou not only described in his note about the King and the palace, but he also wrote about an ordinary Khmer people life.
By reading this book, you will have an idea of how Khmer people live their lives in the temple at that time. A must-read for any history lover before a visit to Angkor Wat.
In this edition, the translation was made directly from the original script in Chinese into English. You will not lose any detail because of the translation.
This is also a travel note from Norman Lewis, a British journalist who came to visit Indochina in 1950. The book covers traveling in 3 countries: Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.
Things change as time goes by. But if you want to get an imagination of the place you plan to visit through the past, this book is definitively response to your need.
The book is well written with poetry, humor and easy writing styles to give you an enjoyable reading.
It is a very nice travel book to read on the plane. There are a lot of people enjoy reading this book and recommend to others.
This book is the cooperation between 2 people who visited and loved Cambodia. Claude Jacques, a French historian who came to Cambodia in 1961 and spent 9 years in the country to found the first Archaeology faculty. Michael Freeman, a photographer who came to take a lot of photos at Angkor Wat for more than 20 years.
This is an important book to read prior and during your visit to Angkor Wat. It will give you the real pictures of the temples and what are the most attractive parts of the temples complex you should visit first.
The book will break down the temples into different sessions, attached with its own history and stories. It will provide you with knowledge in advance of the places before you visit. It is definitely recommended to have a great experience during the temples visit.
The book is written by David P. Chandler, an American historian who came to Cambodia in 1960 as a US officer. He is recognized as one of the foremost western scholars of Cambodia modern history.
The book will give you a brief history from the Angkor period to the present. It has been revised for 4th edition in 2007.
If we want to have an update on the current situation, some information might be out of date. But at least the book will give you a good understanding of Khmer history from the past up to its revised date.
The author divides the book into different parts according to the timeline which you can skip if you are not interested in any period.
There’s another similar book “A Short History of Cambodia” written by John Tully. He is a lecturer in Political Science and Asian Studies at Melbourne’s Victoria University. The book will cover Cambodia history the same period from Angkor up to Khmer Rouge and present.