“A Record of Cambodia: The Land and its People” by Zhou Daguan
Translated by Peter Harris – Purchase this book on AmazonBook Review of A Record of Cambodia by Zhou Daguan
Review by Kent Davis
Rare, readable, relevant…and entertaining!
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 essential reading. 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:
First, 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 enhances 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.
Kent Davis is a US-based publisher, author and independent researcher specializing in Khmer studies with DatAsia, Inc. and Devata.org.