18 July 2002

Book Review: River's Tale, A year on the Mekong (2003, by Edward A. Gargan, *****


From windswept plateaus to the South China Sea, the Mekong flows for three thousand miles, snaking its way through Southeast Asia. Long fascinated with this part of the world, former New York Times correspondent Edward Gargan embarked on an ambitious exploration of the Mekong and those living within its watershed. The River’s Tale is a rare and profound book that delivers more than a correspondent’s account of a place. It is a seminal examination of the Mekong and its people, a testament to the their struggles, their defeats and their victories.


Gargan completed an ambitious project: to travel along the whole course of one of the world's longest rivers (the 12th longest) for a year, exploring the nature, the cultures and the economic activity that takes places on its banks and hinterland.

He does remarkable job of observing what happens around him and narrating a captivating story. He is humble enough not to pass judgement, but he does make interesting observations on history, economics and politics when he sees things happening around him.

A remarkable account of travelling in a region spanning several countries which share a great river!


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