Review by Choice Review
A lucid opening historiographical essay in this first volume of a two-volume work explores Southeast Asian studies before and after WW II, as well as the major problems involved in writing on Southeast Asian subjects. Five impressive chapters follow, dealing with topics from prehistory to c. 1500 CE. They include a careful analysis of archaeological and linguistic records and an account of early kingdoms in Vietnam, Champa, Angkor, and Majapahit among others; an economic history of the region; and an examination of competing religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. The following six chapters cover the period from c. 1500 to c. 1800 CE. The first sets the stage for modern developments by discussing problems associated with the coming of foreign groups to the region and the innovations and adaptations that were required of Southeast Asian societies. Other essays treat political, economic, and social change. The volume offers a wealth of information on kingship, government, commerce (including the trade in narcotics), and urbanization. Scholarly, well constructed, and well written, with sound conclusions, maps, and bibliographies at the end of each chapter. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty. W. W. Reinhardt; Randolph-Macon College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.