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By John Tully

During this concise and compelling historical past, Cambodia’s prior is defined in bright aspect, from the richness of the Angkorean empire in the course of the darkish a long time of the 18th and early-19th centuries, French colonialism, independence, the Vietnamese clash, the Pol Pot regime, and its present incarnation as a troubled democracy. With full of life writing and fervour for the subject, John Tully covers the complete sweep of Cambodian historical past, explaining why this land of contrasts continues to be an enticing enigma to the overseas neighborhood. Detailing the miserable checklist of battle, famine, and invasion that has threatened to smash Cambodia, this dialogue exhibits its survival to be a testomony to the resilience of the human spirit.

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Extra info for A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival (A Short History of Asia series)

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Ground down by the Mujahideen guerilla fighters financed by Saudia Arabia and the USA, the Soviet Union was forced to flee Afghanistan. Subsequently the Soviet Union was itself broken up though Russian remained a nominal ally of Vietnam. Until it gave up its Pacific Ocean naval base at Cam Ranh Bay in 2002, the Soviet presence was eradicated in both countries. Also in 1991 Cambodia effectively surrendered when the ruling Communist Party abolished itself and rang up the United Nations to ask for its help in setting up western style governmental institutions.

Within a generation the buffalo herds, on which the tribes of the Great Plains had fed, were exterminated and with it an ancient way of life. The structure of Indian life was destroyed; the ancient nomadic, hunter-gatherer societies could not survive the population onslaught from the east. New technologies including railways, farming and ranching with fences, property rights, the Colt repeater pistol and the Winchester rifle overwhelmed the indigenous populations of the west. The era was marked by notable atrocities.

In 1846, Polk provoked a war with Mexico when he sent troops to occupy disputed border areas. When a mission by Congressman John Slidell to purchase these territories failed, Polk used a border clash in Texas over the disputed Rio Grande, in which a small number of American troops were killed, as an excuse for the USA to mobilise for war. No doubt, Polk’s ardour for war to avenge the supposed slights on America’s Texan border would have been resolved if Mexico had not rejected an offer of US$ 5 million for its territories.

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