- The Mysteries of Angkor Wat: Exploring Cambodia’s Ancient Temple
Photographs trump text in this tour of the famous temple to the god Vishnu, “to this day the largest religious monument in the world” and certainly the current iconic image associated with Cambodia, past or present. With little solid information to offer concerning the construction and historic uses of the temple, Sobol spends [End Page 111] much of his page space on the children who help support their families by selling souvenirs to tourists (but never quite exploring the poverty that might lurk behind their photogenic faces). Promise of a mystery known only among Sobol’s young guides keeps readers’ interest alive as they wait for the revelation of the dee no soo, which turns out to be a stone carving that bears uncanny resemblance to a green plastic stegosaurus that one child offers for comparison, eliciting Sobol’s effusive astonishment and thanks. However thin the text, the color photographs of the ruins themselves, the children cavorting sure-footedly therein, and the pictures of stone carvings juxtaposed with similar scenes from twenty-first century daily life are both appealing and informative. Endnotes, maps, and a glossary with pronunciation guide are included. Consider this a tasty appetizer for heartier research to follow.