Thursday, August 2, 2012

Filippi's ramblings

Jean-Michel Filippi's new book
Author, linguist, historian and easy winner of any brain of Cambodia contest, Jean-Michel Filippi popped into my office this week for a chat, which reminded me that I have not provided any information about his recent publication, Strolling around Phnom Penh. 150-pages and published by Kam-editions, the book is on sale at Monument, priced $20, in English and French. Included are 116 maps and photographs, interwoven amidst seven strolls through specially chosen sections of Phnom Penh, in which the author writes about the history, politics and architecture of the capital, adding his own anecdotes and observations. It is not meant to be an exhaustive guidebook of the city and purposely fails to include many of the most obvious tourist landmarks. Stroll 1 takes in the old European/French quarter around Post Office Square, while following the path of the De Verneville Canal that surrounded the French area and back to Wat Phnom is the course of stroll 2 for example. Other routes look at the period and vestiges of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum in the 50s and 60s and so on. For readers, it's a walking tour through history that is an invaluable personal guide as the city's skyline and older buildings change and disappear forever under the march of so-called progress.

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