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By Christopher on 04-21-15
A Solid Introduction, but Somewhat Dated
This book is an engaging and informative look at Cambodia's history, which provides, at its beginning, a quick timeline of the region's pre-modern history before delving into the bloody years of the later 20th century that made the very name of Cambodia synonymous with unspeakable brutality.
The author was an NYT correspondent, and had in his youth experienced some of the Nazi terror, a fact which he mentions a few times in passing. Such an interesting perspective almost makes me wish he had abandoned some of his journalistic impartiality and brought more of himself into the story, but in general his detachment serves him well.
The book suffers a bit from the fact that it is now almost 20 years old -- it was written as a contemporary history, and thus is due for an update. It also suffers for being seemingly the only history of Cambodia available on audible, something which I hope will be rectified soon. It is a short book, and as such is not as detailed as it could be.
I don't agree with another reviewer who claims it doesn't work well as an audiobook; it works as well as any history book, and requires some concentration; I wouldn't listen to it while driving, for instance.
Walter Dixon's performance suits the tone of the writing very well. I think both would have benefitted from a bit more emotional range, but their measured and objective styles are well suited to each other.
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