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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Southeast Asia A Historical Encyclopedia From Angkor Wat to East Timor

Southeast Asia is the encyclopedia that will be used for exploring and understanding this geopolitical region for many years. Its pages are packed with well-explained, easily accessible articles. Editor Ooi, a social and economic historian from Malaysia, has assembled a group of writers that represent a wide range of expertise from around the world to focus on Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some articles also cover the influence that China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan have had on the region.

The introduction is a well-written and concise history of Southeast Asia. It includes bold type cross-references that lead readers to articles within the main text of the encyclopedia. The 800 articles range in length from 300 to 3,000 words, and each has cross-references and a list of bibliographic references. In addition to entries for each country, there are entries on events, organizations, and individuals, and on topics from folklore, geography, war, and religion, among other subject areas.^B There is strong coverage of the Dutch, British, and Portuguese colonial presence in the region. Economic, social, and political transformations are explained in depth. Each entry is credited, and the contributors are listed in an appendix with their university or corporate affiliation. In the last volume are maps, country fact tables, a topical list of entries, a chronology organized by country, a bibliography of more than 70 pages, and a thorough index.

This set is highly recommended for public, academic, and some high-school libraries for the broad coverage and generally easy-to–understand articles. Steve Stratton

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