Short Book Review: Watching Cambodia: Ten Paths to Enter the Cambodian Tangle by Serge Thion

SBR: This book was picked up, not surprisingly, during our trip to Cambodia last year and I read it soon after coming back. Don’t be fooled by the tourist friendly cleanliness and maintenance of Angkor Wat, modern Cambodia is a mess and how it became so is a sad and pathetic, almost unbelievable, story. If all you know about Cambodian politics is that Khmer Rouge were the bad guys, then you need to read more. This book, a collection of ten articles written over time, is a good way to get a peek into the how it came to be, what factors were at play, and how utterly incompetent everyone has been in fixing things. But it does need a basic understanding of the modern history of Indo-china and some of the pieces are very academic in nature because of which I had to give up on a couple of them.

To read or not to read: Not for the beginners. If you know something about the tumultuous modern History of Cambodia and are in a mood to go deeper, then you can pick up this book.

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