Best Selling Books in Asia - Southeast Asia

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release date: Oct 16, 2018
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Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975

An absorbing and definitive modern history of the Vietnam War from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Secret War.

Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the 1968 Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and also much less familiar miniatures such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed two million people.

Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings, and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls, and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, and Huey pilots from Arkansas.

No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the twenty-first century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

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release date: Oct 17, 2017
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The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won

A definitive account of World War II by America's preeminent military historian


World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.

The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war's origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.

An authoritative new history of astonishing breadth, The Second World Wars offers a stunning reinterpretation of history's deadliest conflict.


release date: Apr 04, 2006
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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.)
From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit.

One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.

Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.

 

release date: Mar 12, 2019
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Hello, Shadowlands: Inside the Meth Fiefdoms, Rebel Hideouts and Bomb-Scarred Party Towns of Southeast Asia

Essential to understanding Southeast Asia in the 21st century, Hello, Shadowlands reveals a booming underworld of organised crime across a region in flux― a $100 billion trade that deals in narcotics, animals and people ―and the staggering human toll that is being steadily ignored by the West.

From Myanmar’s anarchic hills to the swamplands of Vietnam, jihadis are being pitted against brothel workers, pet thieves against vigilantes and meth barons against Christian vice squads.

Hello, Shadowlands takes a deep plunge into crime rings both large and small. It also examines how China’s rise and America’s decline is creating new opportunities for transnational syndicates to thrive.

Focussing on human stories on both sides of this crime wave, the acclaimed Bangkok-based broadcaster and journalist Patrick Winn intimately profiles the men and women of the region who are forced to make agonizing choices in the absence of law.

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release date: Sep 18, 2018
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Road to Disaster: A New History of America's Descent Into Vietnam

"The most thoughtful and judicious one-volume history of the war and the American political leaders who presided over the difficult and painful decisions that shaped this history. The book will stand for the foreseeable future as the best study of the tragic mistakes that led to so much suffering."—Robert Dallek

Many books have been written on the tragic decisions regarding Vietnam made by the young stars of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Yet despite millions of words of analysis and reflection, no historian has been able to explain why such decent, brilliant, and previously successful men stumbled so badly.

That changes with Road to Disaster. Historian Brian VanDeMark draws upon decades of archival research, his own interviews with many of those involved, and a wealth of previously unheard recordings by Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford, who served as Defense Secretaries for Kennedy and Johnson. Yet beyond that, Road to Disaster is also the first history of the war to look at the cataclysmic decisions of those in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations through the prism of recent research in cognitive science, psychology, and organizational theory to explain why the "Best and the Brightest" became trapped in situations that suffocated creative thinking and willingness to dissent, why they found change so hard, and why they were so blind to their own errors.

An epic history of America’s march to quagmire, Road to Disaster is a landmark in scholarship and a book of immense importance.

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release date: Oct 18, 2016
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DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Thailand

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand will lead you straight to the best attractions this country has to offer.

Whether you're traveling to major destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket or want to experience diving in Ko Tao, elephant riding in Chiang Mai, or the monuments in Wat Si Chum, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand explores the culture, history, and architecture of this beautiful and diverse nation.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.
   • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.
   • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.
   • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.
   • Area maps marked with sights.
   • Detailed city maps include a street finder index for easy navigation.
   • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.
   • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand truly shows you what others only tell you.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

release date: Apr 14, 2015
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Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

The remarkable story of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill

 
Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a “forest man” for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant wallah.” Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory. In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude.
 
But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges, and transport the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. Now well versed in the ways of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even added to his stable by smuggling more elephants out of Japanese-held territory. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced his most perilous test. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim.
 
Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventure, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism.

Praise for Elephant Company
 
“This book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The New York Times Book Review

“Splendid . . . Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s story is an often moving account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his unusual bond with the largest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Some of the biggest heroes of World War II were even bigger than you thought. . . . You may never call the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post

Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time
release date: Sep 01, 1999
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If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

Before writing his award-winning Going After Cacciato, Tim O'Brien gave us this intensely personal account of his year as a foot soldier in Vietnam. The author takes us with him to experience combat from behind an infantryman's rifle, to walk the minefields of My Lai, to crawl into the ghostly tunnels, and to explore the ambiguities of manhood and morality in a war gone terribly wrong. Beautifully written and searingly heartfelt, If I Die in a Combat Zone is a masterwork of its genre.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content
release date: Oct 03, 2000
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From Third World to First: The Singapore Story - 1965-2000

Few gave tiny Singapore much chance of survival when it was granted independence in 1965. How is it, then, that today the former British colonial trading post is a thriving Asian metropolis with not only the world's number one airline, best airport, and busiest port of trade, but also the world's fourth–highest per capita real income?

The story of that transformation is told here by Singapore's charismatic, controversial founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. Rising from a legacy of divisive colonialism, the devastation of the Second World War, and general poverty and disorder following the withdrawal of foreign forces, Singapore now is hailed as a city of the future. This miraculous history is dramatically recounted by the man who not only lived through it all but who fearlessly forged ahead and brought about most of these changes.

Delving deep into his own meticulous notes, as well as previously unpublished government papers and official records, Lee details the extraordinary efforts it took for an island city–state in Southeast Asia to survive at that time.

Lee explains how he and his cabinet colleagues finished off the communist threat to the fledgling state's security and began the arduous process of nation building: forging basic infrastructural roads through a land that still consisted primarily of swamps, creating an army from a hitherto racially and ideologically divided population, stamping out the last vestiges of colonial–era corruption, providing mass public housing, and establishing a national airline and airport.

In this illuminating account, Lee writes frankly about his trenchant approach to political opponents and his often unorthodox views on human rights, democracy, and inherited intelligence, aiming always "to be correct, not politically correct." Nothing in Singapore escaped his watchful eye: whether choosing shrubs for the greening of the country, restoring the romance of the historic Raffles Hotel, or openly, unabashedly persuading young men to marry women as well educated as themselves. Today's safe, tidy Singapore bears Lee's unmistakable stamp, for which he is unapologetic: "If this is a nanny state, I am proud to have fostered one."

Though Lee's domestic canvas in Singapore was small, his vigor and talent assured him a larger place in world affairs. With inimitable style, he brings history to life with cogent analyses of some of the greatest strategic issues of recent times and reveals how, over the years, he navigated the shifting tides of relations among America, China, and Taiwan, acting as confidant, sounding board, and messenger for them. He also includes candid, sometimes acerbic pen portraits of his political peers, including the indomitable Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the poetry–spouting Jiang Zemin, and ideologues George Bush and Deng Xiaoping.

Lee also lifts the veil on his family life and writes tenderly of his wife and stalwart partner, Kwa Geok Choo, and of their pride in their three children –– particularly the eldest son, Hsien Loong, who is now Singapore's deputy prime minister.

For more than three decades, Lee Kuan Yew has been praised and vilified in equal measure, and he has established himself as a force impossible to ignore in Asian and international politics. From Third World to First offers readers a compelling glimpse into this visionary's heart, soul, and mind.

release date: Jan 17, 2017
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DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam and Angkor Wat

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat will lead you straight to the best attractions this beautiful part of the world has to offer.

Explore the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, the hill towns in the north, and all the best beaches to be found in between; zip around old Hanoi in a pedal-powered cyclo; and be sure to indulge in the exquisite local cuisine.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.
   • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.
   • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.
   • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.
   • Area maps marked with sights.
   • Detailed city maps each include a street finder index for easy navigation.
   • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.
   • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat truly shows you what others only tell you.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

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