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“For those who have not read about the exploration of the Mekong or the discovery of Angkor and the impact it had on the outside world, there is perhaps no better guide than Osborne.” Grant Evans, Asiaweek
Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future
978-0-8021-3802-6 • $16.00 • Paperback • June 2001
History (Southeast Asia)
The Mekong River runs over a course of nearly three thousand
miles, beginning in the mountains of Tibet and flowing through China, Burma,
Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam before emptying into the China Sea. Its
waters are the lifeblood of Southeast Asia, and first begot civilization on the
fertile banks of its delta region at Oc Eo nearly two millennia ago.
In The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future,
acclaimed Southeast Asia expert Milton Osborne tells the story of the peoples
and cultures of the great river from these obscure beginnings to the emergence
of the modern independent nations of today. Drawing on a wealth of research
material gathered over forty years of studying the region, Osborne traces the
Mekong’s dramatic history through the rise and fall of civilizations and the
era of colonization and exploration. He details the struggle for liberation
during a twentieth century in which Southeast Asia has seen almost constant
conflict, including two world wars, the Indochina War, the Vietnam War and its
bloody aftermath—and explores the prospects for peace and prosperity as the
region enters a new millennium.
In each era, Osborne brings to life the individuals who
witnessed and shaped the course of events along the great river. There is Chou
Ta-kuan, the thirteenth-century Chinese envoy who recorded the glory of Angkor
Wat, the capital city of the Khmer Empire. There are the Iberian mercenaries
Blais Ruiz and Diego Veloso, whose involvement in the intrigues of Cambodia’s
royal family shook Southeast Asia’s politics at the end of the sixteenth
century. And there are the revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh, whose campaigns
to liberate Vietnam from the French and unify the nation under communism
changed the course of history.
Vibrant, insightful, and eminently readable, The Mekong
is a rousing narrative history of a dynamic region that has fascinated readers
the world over.