April 22, 2014

Book Review: Portraits of 1957 Laos

Title:  ​ປະ​ເທດ​ລາວ 1957 / Portraits of 1957 Laos
Written and Photographed by:  Joel Martin Halpern
Translated By:  Lathsavong Syluanglath
Publisher/Year:  Big Brother Mouse, 2010
Publishing Sponsors:  Lyle and Agnes Schaller

Book Review:  Portraits of 1957 Laos by Joel Martin Halpern - cover

I bought this book from a book seller in the night market while in Luangprabang (in December 2013).  The publisher of this book of course is quite well known.  And you could buy it directly from the publisher. 

Side Story:  Speaking of which, on a separate walking tour, I made it a point to visit Big Brother Mouse's bookstore and publishing house that I had heard about.  I knew about the good work they were doing in terms of promoting literacy and publishing books in Lao language of mainly children's and teenage books.  And as you know, I love books so I had to check them out.  I browsed all the books that they had for sale which are all along the wall on the left hand side of their store (the right hand side has tables and chairs where groups of locals and foreigners meet to talk and for the locals to practice their English).  I came away having bought a large pile of books directly from them.

Back to the book...

This book particularly intrigues me mainly for the old photos from a period that was before me.  Many of the photos I had not seen before.  More importantly, it's a great introductory book for kids (not just Lao kids living in Laos but for expats living abroad) to show how the life and culture was at that time.  It's written bilingually in both Lao and English.  It's 48 pages printed in full color.  At only a few dollars, it's a good deal! 

If you're curious to know the topics that are covered, I've included it here:
  • 2500th Anniversary of Buddhism
  • Ceremonies and Processesions
  • Culture and Traditions
  • Rituals and Religion
  • Daily Life and Work
  • Handicrafts
  • Royalty in the Past
  • Clothing
  • The Mekong River
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Daily Life
  • The Cow Spirit Ritual
  • Statues, Monuments, and Shrines

Book Review:  Portraits of 1957 Laos by Joel Martin Halpern - sample page

Book Review:  Portraits of 1957 Laos by Joel Martin Halpern - sample page

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