Reading Lists


The following are books on Cambodia that I’ve read and would recommend. When possible, I recommend starting with native accounts (no matter the political bias or translation issues) before reading outside accounts. I think this helps foster a deeper understanding of the culture before reading accounts with outside bias (these are also worth reading, but preferably after one has formed their own understanding of the cultural context).

  • Crossing Three Wildernesses by U Sam Oeur. This firsthand account of the Khmer Rogue years is the one that I most highly recommend. U Sam Oeur was a highly educated adult who feigned illiteracy for four years under the Khmer Rouge. His account captures details and nuances that other authors, many of whom were children at the time, miss. His descriptions of Khmer spirituality are extremely helpful in understanding the intertwining of faith and culture in Cambodia today.
  • The Warrior Heritage: A Psychological Perspective of Cambodian Trauma by Senaglim Bit. I consider this to be the single most underrated book on Cambodia that I’ve read. Written by a Cambodian psychologist, this provides the most insightful analysis of Khmer culture and it’s interplay with the Khmer Rouge that I’ve read. Sadly, it’s out of print and hard to find. It’s not well written but it is still well worth the read. The social psychological lessons it offers have implications on societal trauma, identity, and peacemaking that are applicable far beyond the Cambodian context.
  • My War with the CIA and War and Hope: The Case for Cambodia by Norodom Sihanouk. Two of the most important primary sources available though neither have been in print in some time. They provide very different – almost opposing – narratives and should be read together to provide the appropriate context.
  • Step by Step: Meditations on Wisdom and Compassion by Maha Ghosananda. This is a collection of prayers, stories, and meditations written by one of the few monks who survived the Khmer Rogue. While not as well known as Thich Nhat Hanh or Sulak Sivaraksa, Maha Ghosananda has been called “Cambodia’s Gandhi” and played an instrumental role in peacemaking and rebuilding the Sangha in Cambodia in the years following the overthrow of the Khmer Rogue.

After reading primary sources, I’d recommend the following outsider’s perspectives.


This is my reading list for Myanmar but, so far, the only book I’ve read is From the Land of Green Ghosts which I read during my first term in Cambodia. I’ll be updating this as I get through these books. I’d recommend the same methodology here – read native accounts first….

…and then international accounts.

International Living

This is my reading list of books that are useful for living and working in an International context. I’ve read some of these and am planning to read others.