By John J. Fitzgerald

ISBN-10: 0195171837

ISBN-13: 9780195171839

ISBN-10: 0812840046

ISBN-13: 9780812840049

Publication via Charles Whiting

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Vp 25 September 2007 19:09:42 25 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Before the Killing Fields 26 During this period, the little outside testimony we have derives from a handful of Europeans. These men were missionaries and merchants: buccaneers and soldiers of fortune operating vaguely under the imperial banner of their homelands. They came initially from Portugal and Spain. By the 1580s, Portuguese priests and adventurers were installed at the Cambodian court, learning the language and seeking the favour of kings.

A Khmer inscription briefly records this sad submission. An Arab writer of the early tenth century gives a less laconic account of what happened. Soleiman the Merchant begins by placing Cambodia as ‘the country that exports aloes’. A good Muslim, he notes with approval that ‘all debauchery and all fermented liquor are forbidden’ to its inhabitants. He then tells the story of a Khmer monarch who one day evinced the desire to see the head of the Maharaja, King of Java, brought to him on a plate. The Maharaja got to hear of what was afoot and decided to act first.

Six weeks earlier, I had been happily employed in the Foreign Office in London, tidying up for my successor the desk which I had run for nearly four years in the Western Organisations and Coordination Department, to do with WEU (Western European Union) and political and diplomatic aspects of NATO. For three of the past four years I had also been a Resident Clerk. vp 25 September 2007 19:09:35 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Before the Killing Fields 4 top floor of the Foreign Office.

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A Teacher's Guide to The Vietnam War: A History in Documents by John J. Fitzgerald

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