Temple in the Clouds is an accessible, handsomely illustrated book about an imposing Tenth Century Cambodian temple known as Preah Vihear. The temple lies close to the Thai-Cambodian border – a line on maps that didn’t exist until the early 1900s. John Burgess deftly sets Preah Vihear in its religious and architectural context before going on to examine the conflict about ‘ownership’ of the temple that has inflamed Thai-Cambodian relations on and off since the early 1960s.
– David Chandler, Monash University, author of A History of Cambodia (4th edition, 2007).
Southeast Asia is largely at peace today, but some disputes linger, sparking military skirmishes from time to time. The mountaintop Preah Vihear temple is one of them. John Burgess has done the region a great favour with his in-depth investigation of the temple – its ancient history and the tragic modern-day conflict. His findings will help to calm the waters – facts should trump myths and speculation. Scholars and policy makers in Southeast Asia and beyond should read this book carefully, as well as anyone curious about a place that is one of the crowning glories of Cambodia’s lost Angkor civilisation.
– Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and a former Singapore diplomat in Cambodia.