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Strange Parallels
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  • Cited by 149
  • Volume 1: Integration on the Mainland
  • Victor Lieberman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Book description

This ambitious work has two novel goals: to overcome the extreme fragmentation of early Southeast Asian historiography, and to connect Southeast Asian to world history. Combining careful local research with wide-ranging theory Lieberman argues that over a thousand years, each of mainland Southeast Asia's great lowland corridors experienced a pattern of accelerating integration punctuated by recurrent collapse. These trajectories were synchronized not only between corridors, but most curiously, between the mainland as a whole, much of Europe, and other sectors of Eurasia. He describes in detail the nature of mainland consolidation - which was simultaneously territorial, religious, ethnic, and commercial - and dissects the mix of endogenous and external factors responsible. Here, then, is a fundamentally original analysis not only of Southeast Asia, but of the pre-modern world.


‘… a valuable and stimulating exercise in inserting the region into global history … a masterly synthesis of the evolution of mainland South East Asian States … this is an impressive and ambitious book, the product of great scholarly maturity, wide reading and considerable thought over many decades.’

Source: South East Asia Research

'This remarkable and original book will certainly become one of the most seminal and thought-provoking studies written in recent years on the history of pre-modern mainland Southeast Asia … This unique and ambitious approach has never been attempted before in such a consistent and comprehensive way.'

Source: H-Soz-u-Kult

'Lieberman has written an impressive work of great importance in the field of Southeast Asian history. It is certain that this book will stimulate further debate among historians specialised in the region and, probably, also in world history. His work has opened a new window of approaches to Southeast Asian history, and deserves to be highly recommended.'

Source: IIAS Newsletter

'This book is an extraordinary tour de force, a work of such extravagant learning and analysis that it is likely to humble any reviewer (certainly this one) and overwhelm any reader … this monument must be appreciated in all of its scale, as well as in the refinement of its details.'

Source: The Journal of Asian Studies

'Victor Lieberman’s two-volume opus is the most important work of history produced so far this century … It is no exaggeration to say that Strange Parallels is a paradigmatic work. It will inform our understanding of human history for generations to come.'

Source: American Historical Review

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