The Sri Lanka Reader

The Sri Lanka Reader : History, Culture, Politics

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The Sri Lanka Reader is a sweeping introduction to the epic history of the island nation located just off the southern tip of India. The island's recorded history of more than two and a half millennia encompasses waves of immigration from the South Asian subcontinent; the formation of Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindu civilizations; the arrival of Arab Muslim traders; and European colonization by the Portuguese, and then the Dutch, and finally the British. Selected texts depict perceptions of the country's multiple linguistic and religious communities, as well as its political travails after independence in 1948, especially the ethnic violence that recurred from the 1950s until 2009, when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were defeated by the Sri Lankan government's armed forces. This wide-ranging anthology covers the aboriginal Veddhas, the earliest known inhabitants of the island; the Kings of Kandy, Sri Lanka's last indigenous dynasty; twenty-first-century women who leave the island to work as housemaids in the Middle East; the 40,000 Sri Lankans killed by the tsunami in December 2004, and, through cutting-edge journalism and heart-wrenching poetry, the protracted violence that has scarred the country's contemporary political history. Along with fifty-four images of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, The Sri Lanka Reader includes more than ninety classic and contemporary texts written by Sri Lankans and foreigners.

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  • Paperback | 816 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 48.26mm | 1,111.3g
  • Duke University Press
  • North CarolinaUnited States
  • English
  • 54 illustrations, including 13 in colour
  • 0822349825
  • 9780822349822
  • 233,175

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Author Information

John Clifford Holt is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He has written many books, including "Spirits of the Place: Buddhism and Lao Religious Culture," "The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation," "Politics and Culture," and "The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka." He has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka.

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Review quote

"The Sri Lanka Reader is unprecedented; never before has there been a volume so synoptic in its treatment of Sri Lankan history, politics, and culture. The overall organization, the selections chosen for inclusion, and the introductions to the individual pieces are all of the highest order. This book will be welcomed by specialists in Sri Lankan studies, as well as the more general, educated reader." Roger Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Carleton College "John Holt's The Sri Lanka Reader gives many insights into contemporary Sri Lanka while providing an in-depth picture of its rich history. Holt effectively weaves together documents, analytical accounts, photographs, and poetic works to produce a balanced work that is consistent in quality and readability despite accommodating many viewpoints. It is a book that you will return to, time and again. It will undoubtedly become the standard collection of documents on Sri Lanka and its history."Chandra R. de Silva, author of Sri Lanka: A History "...the ideal source book for analytical study of Sri Lanka's history enlightening the reader as to what caused the present ills." Rajitha Weerakoon writing for Colombo paper The Sunday Times

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