A History of Cambodia


David Chandler

Fourth Edition • March 1, 2009 • 304 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813343631 • $45.00 USD$74.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786733156 • $25.99 USD$28.99 CAN

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In this clear and concise volume, author David Chandler provides a timely overview of Cambodia, a small but increasingly visible Southeast Asian nation. Praised by the Journal of Asian Studies as an “original contribution, superior to any other existing work,” this acclaimed text has now been completely revised and updated to include material examining the early history of Cambodia, whose famous Angkorean ruins now attract more than one million tourists each year, the death of Pol Pot, and the revolution and final collapse of the Khmer Rouge.

The fourth edition reflects recent research by major scholars as well as Chandler’s long immersion in the subject and contains an entirely new section on the challenges facing Cambodia today, including an analysis of the current state of politics and sociology and the increasing pressures of globalization. This comprehensive overview of Cambodia will illuminate, for undergraduate students as well as general readers, the history and contemporary politics of a country long misunderstood.


David Chandler, an emeritus professor of history at Monash University in Australia, is currently an adjunct Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University.

1. Introduction
2. The Beginnings of Cambodian History
3. Kingship and Society at Angkor
4. Jayavarman VII and the Crisis of the Thirteenth Century
5. Cambodia After Angkor
6. State, Society, and Foreign Relations, 1794–1848
7. The Crisis of the Nineteenth Century
8. The Early Stages of the French Protectorate
9. Cambodia’s Response to France, 1916–1945
10. Gaining Independence
11. From Independence to Civil War
12. Revolution in Cambodia
13. Cambodia Since 1979

“Chandler’s fourth edition of A History of Cambodia makes significant improvements to a book already recognized as the standard work in the field, particularly for university studies. Carefully researched and deftly written, the book is also top choice for the general reader interested in Khmer anthropology, culture, and politics as well as history. Chandler uses fresh scholarship in Khmer studies to enhance his chapters on early Cambodian history, and his expanded final chapter on Cambodia since 1979 is especially welcome. This book adds yet another triumph to David Chandler’s extraordinary career as one of the world’s leading chroniclers of Khmer civilization.”
—Frederick Z. Brown, Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University

“Chandler’s work, updated with new sections on developments in the first decade of the 21st century, remains essential reading for anyone interested in Cambodia, its people and history. This is a wonderful, nuanced and highly readable volume with much new material on Cambodia’s fascinating and tumultuous past.”
—William R. Chapman, Director, Graduate Certificate Program in Historic Preservation, Department of American Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

“The fourth edition of David Chandler’s superb book … is clear, concise, insightful and thought-provoking. I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone interested in Southern Asian and Cambodian history and culture. It is an invaluable resource for scholars of this region and would be an excellent addition to any class reading list for courses on the topic of Southeast Asian or Cambodian Studies.”
Pacific Affairs

Praise for Previous Editions:

“The overall impression which Chandler’s textbook makes is a very good one indeed. He makes his point in a clear and analytic way, while the reader is much helped by an introductory chapter.”
Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania

“Thankfully, Chandler pulls no punches and is quite frank about the many faults of Cambodia’s series of political regimes since the end of the Second World War. This honesty allows the reader to see the very real problems that Cambodia has faced and still faces today. This book is well worth its modest price and will be a valuable contribution to any academic library.”
International Quarterly for Asian Studies

“The issuing of a second, updated edition of A History of Cambodia is to be warmly welcomed. This greatly expanded text surveys Cambodian history from the origins of Khmer civilization in the early years of the Christian era through to the Vietnamese retreat from Cambodia in 1989–1991. For a sketch of the broad sweep of Cambodia’s history and glimpses into major historical debates, this book is highly recommended to anyone seeking a sound introduction to Cambodia.”
Pacific Affairs

“An excellent up-dating to the first edition. It will, like its predecessor, be welcomed by both scholars and the growing number of general readers with an interest in the country and whet the appetite of those who wish to delve further into the country’s history.”
Royal Asiatic Society

“Anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with Cambodian life and history, or any visitor who desires an introduction to the country, will be fortunate to start with Chandler’s book … a benchmark work.”
Times Literary Supplement

“An original contribution, superior to any other existing work.”
Journal of Asian Studies

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