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Stalking the Elephant Kings


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AcknowledgmentsDramatis personaePrologueLuang PrabangThe empty palaceVientiane'Six Clicks City'Riding with the colonelSam NeuaThe Plain of JarsThe Re-education Guest HouseMany Happy ReturnsEpilogueBibliography

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Winner, City of Brisbane/Qantas Prize for Asia-Pacific Travel Writing 1997


When the Pathet Lao forced the last king of Laos, Savang Vathana, to abdicate, they snuffed out a 600-year-old monarchy. Twenty years later, Kremmer, an Australian foreign correspondent then based in Hanoi, tried unsuccessfully to crack the mystery behind the fate of the royals. In this first-rate travelog we see a Laos on the cusp of change, its charm lying in the absence of commercialism. Kremmer appears unimpressed by the Lao revolution of 1975 and its aftermath when he presents the historical and political underpinnings of that period. We see the Laotian face of communism through meetings with government and Communist party functionaries, ex-royals, and businessmen; and the region's culture is captured through accounts of festivals and visits to wats. Considering the paucity of recent travel narratives about Laos, readers will be well served by this engaging book. Stan Sesser's The Lands of Charm and Cruelty (LJ 5/1/93) has a chapter on Laos. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.‘Ravi Shenoy, Hinsdale P.L., Naperville, IL

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