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One of the best ways to prepare yourself to visit a new destination is to read and learn about it before you go. To know a little about the history and culture not only prepares you but also gives you a deeper understanding of what you are seeing and experiencing.
As well as non fiction such as guidebooks, histories and biographies of famous people from the area it is worth reading fictional works set in the country too.
Cambodia may be the land of Angkor Wat, beautiful islands and home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites but it is also synonymous with the brief rule in the 1970’s of the Khmer Rouge and the brutal killing of an estimated 1.7 million people (21% of the population)
Visiting Cambodia is as much about learning about its recent past as its ancient history.
So what can you read to help better understand this South East Asian country before you visit? You will find my selection of books about Cambodia is a great place to start learning about the country.
Best books about Cambodia
BEST BOOKS ABOUT CAMBODIA
NON FICTION BOOKS ABOUT CAMBODIA
Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land
The author of this book won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge regime killed 25% of the population of Cambodia during its years in power.
In 1992, the world came together to help Cambodia. It became a United Nations protectorate–the first and only time the UN tried something so ambitious. What did the new, democratically-elected government do with this unprecedented gift?
Read all about it in this history of Cambodia.
Survival in the Killing Fields
Nothing has shaped my life as much as surviving the Pol Pot regime. I am a survivor of the Cambodian holocaust. That’s who I am,” says Haing Ngor.
Since the original publication of this searing personal chronicle, Haing Ngor’s life has ended with his murder. This has never been satisfactorily solved.
This epilogue written especially for this new edition, Ngor’s coauthor, Roger Warner, offers a glimpse into this complex, enigmatic man’s last years—years that he lived “like his country: scarred, and incapable of fully healing.”
When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge
Chanrithy Him felt compelled to tell of surviving life under the Khmer Rouge in a way “worthy of the suffering which I endured as a child.”
In this book you can read about her trek through the horror of the killing fields.
Beautiful Hero: How We Survived the Khmer Rouge
Read how a family of eight fought for their lives in the killing fields and land mines of Cambodia. The story centers around the eponymous Beautiful Hero Meiyeng and her innate ability to sustain everyone in her family.
Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison
The horrific torture and execution of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge during the 1970s is one of the century's major human disasters. D
In this book David Chandler, a world-renowned historian of Cambodia, examines the Khmer Rouge phenomenon by focusing on one of its key institutions, the secret prison outside Phnom Penh known by the code name "S-21."
Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind
After enduring years of hunger, deprivation, and devastating loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, ten-year-old Loung Ung became the "lucky child," the sibling chosen to accompany her eldest brother to America while her one surviving sister and two brothers remained behind.
BOOKS ABOUT CAMBODIA - TRAVEL GUIDES AND MORE
Travel Guides for Cambodia
Enchanting Cambodia (Enchanting Asia)
Cambodia, home of the great Khmer civilization which created the vast temple complex at Angkor Wat, is one of the most fascinating and distinctive countries in Southeast Asia. Most visitors come to see Angkor Wat, lost in the jungle for centuries, and now a renowned World Heritage Site.
However, Cambodia has much more to offer in addition to Angkor, including the landmarks and temples of Phnom Penh, wildlife watching at Angkor and Tonle Sap, and a still-present French colonial heritage.
Lonely Planet Cambodia (Travel Guide)
You can’t go wrong with a Lonely Planet guide book! Highly recommended for every traveller to Cambodia.
Cambodian Cooking: A humanitarian project in collaboration with Act for Cambodia
Prepare all your favorite Cambodian foods with this easy-to-follow and informative Cambodian cookbook.
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Books to read from around the world
Discover more great books to read from various countries around the world on this website.