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Southeast Asia History Books – Pacific Islands History Books

Southeast Asia History Books

Best Nonfiction Books about the History of Southeast Asia & Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam War, Vietnam, Burma, Myanmar, Thailand, Siam, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, colonialism, insurgencies, imperialism. Free online.

Southeast Asia History Books – Collection

About 80 free online books about the history of Southeast Asia at the Internet Archive. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: Southeast Asia: a history, The History of Post-War Southeast Asia, Concise History of Southeast Asia from It’s Origin to the Present, History of Modern Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia in Transition, Southeast Asia: its historical development, Women in Southeast Asia: a bibliography, Textiles of Southeast Asia, Transition and Tension in Southeast Asia, Short Introduction to the History and Politics of Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Observed 1954-1970, Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Studies in the Social History of China and Southeast Asia, many more books. Includes the colonial history of Southeast Asia and the Early History of Southeast Asia.

‘Collections’ behave differently on a phone than on a PC.  On a phone, only about 25 books in a collection may appear.

Philippine American War (1899-1902) Documents – Collection

This Hathi Trust collection of 83 items contains books, government reports, magazines, and other documents related to the Philippine American War (1899-1902) and its aftermath. Most were published from 1899 to the 1920s.

Oceania History Books – Collection

About 50 free Oceania History books at the Internet Archive. Some books: Australia and the Pacific Islands, Tales from South Pacific Islands, Islands of the South Pacific, History of the Pacific Islands, Arts of the Pacific Islands, Discovery of the Pacific Islands, Social Change in the Pacific Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Islands of the Pacific Rim, Australasia: Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, A Political Journey in the Pacific Islands, The French Pacific Islands: French Polynesia and New Caledonia, The Southwest Pacific to 1900, Solomon Islands, Samoan Islands, many more books on the History of the Pacific Islands.

Vietnam War Books Free – Collection

About 620 free online Vietnam War books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Vietnam Conflict”. Some books: Vietnam, Unwinding the Vietnam War, An Album of the Vietnam War, Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, The Draft, the War and the Vietnam Generation, The Face of War in Vietnam, MIA: missing in action, many more free books on the Vietnam War.

A Short History of the Philippines

Agoncillo, Teodoro A.
New American Library 1969 Dewey Dec. 959.9

“This book traces the complex history of the Philippines from her earliest beginnings to her current role on the world scene. Included is a probing and objective assessment of her people, her culture, her politics, and her problems. Written by an outstanding Filipino scholar and historian, it is a work designed to provide essential information about a nation which today stands as one of the crucial test-cases of democracy in Asia.” – Book cover. Free book on the History of the Philippines.

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A History of Malaysia

Andaya, Barbara Watson and Andaya, Leonard V.
St. Martin’s 1982 Dewey Dec. 959.5 Malaysia

Heritage of the past – Melaka and its heirs – Demise of the Malay entrepot state, 1699-1819 – ‘A new world is created’, 1819-74 – Making of ‘British’ Malaya, 1874-1919 – Functioning of a colonial society, 1919-57 – Forging of a nation, 1957-80. History of Malaysia free book.

The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War

Anderson, David L.
Columbia University 2002 Dewey Dec. 959.7

“Successfully compresses the copiously documented, labyrinthine history of the Vietnamese conflict into a single economical volume… Strongly recommended.” – Choice. Free book about the Vietnam Conflict.

A History of Burma

Aung, Maung Htin
Columbia University 1967 Dewey Dec. 959.1

Burma in southeast Asia – Early kingdoms – Kingdom of Pagan and first Burmese empire – Decline of Pagan and Mongol Intrusion – Ava against Pegu; Shan against Mon – Second Burmese Empire – Decline of Bayinnaung’s empire – Alaungpay and the third Burmese empire – Burma on the eve of the Englis wars – British intrusion in Burma, 1824-1852 – British conquest of Burma, 1885 – Regaining of independence, 1886-1948 – Burma after 1948. History of Burma book free.

Siam: The Land of the White Elephant

Bacon, George B., comp.
Scribner’s Sons 1892 Dewey Dec. 959.3

Early intercourse with Siam, relations with other countries – Geography – Old Siam, its history – Stories of two adventurers – Modern Siam – First impressions – A royal gentleman – Phrabat Somdetch Phra Paramendr Maha Mongkut – Ayuthia – Phrabat and Patawi – From Bangkok to Chantabout – A Missionary journey in 1835 – Chantaboun and the gulf – Mouhot in the hill-country of Chantaboun – Pechaburi or P’ripp’ree – Tribes of northern Siam – Siamese life and customs – Natural productions of Siam – Christian missions in Siam; the outlook for the future – Bangkok and the new Siam. Vintage history of Thailand book free.

See our free books on the history of Pakistan & South Asia

History of the Philippines

Barrows, David Prescott
World Book 1911 Dewey Dec. 959.9

Vintage Philippines History book free.

The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 (55 vols)

Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the Catholic Missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Blair, Emma Helen, Bourne, Edward Gaylord, Robertson, James Alexander
A. H. Clark 1903-1909

Volumes 1-52 cover Philippine history by chronology; i.e. vol 1 covers 1493-1529, vol 52 covers 1841-1889. Vol 53 is a bibliography; Vols 54-55 are a 2-vol index.


Brown, Ian, ed.
Clio Press 1986

A volume in the Clio Press “World Bibliographical Series”. Comprised of annotated entries on works dealing with the country’s history, geography, economy and politics; and with its people, their culture, customs, religion and social organization. Attention is paid to current living conditions; housing, education, newspapers, clothing, etc.

Thailand: An Introduction To Modern Siam

Busch, Noel F.
Van Nostrand 1964 Dewey Dec. 959.3

History of Thailand free book. Southeast Asia history books.

A History of Modern Burma

Cady, John Frank
Cornell University 1965 Dewey Dec. 959.1

A political history of Burma from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, focused on Burma’s struggle for independence from colonization. The author was a history professor at Ohio University. History of Burma book free.

A Rumor of War

Caputo, Philip
Henry Holt 1996 Dewey Dec. 959.7

The combat recollections of a very young Marine officer in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. “The ultimate effect of this book is to make the personal and the public responsibility [for the war] merge into a nightmare of horror and waste.” – NY Times Book Rev. History of the Vietnam War free book.

Storm over Laos, a Contemporary History

Champassak, Sisouk Na
Praeger 1961 Dewey Dec. 959.4

Peaceful Laos – Laos in 1945 – The Pathet Lao and its chief, Prince Souphannouvong – After Geneva, negotiations with the Pathet Lao – Journey to Peking – 1957 agreements – Phoui government and the CDIN – Plaine des Jarres incident – Rebel offensive – Invasion: appeal for U.N. intervention – Western disagreement on Lao – U.N. investigation subcommittee in Laos – Military coup d’etat – General elections of April, 1960 – Escape of the “Red Prince” – Souvanna Phouma’s political failure – Future of Laos. History of Laos free book.

See our free books about Asia Exploration

A Short History of Burma

Cocks, Samuel William
MacMillan 1919 Dewey Dec. 959.1

This was originally intended as a textbook history for teenage students, although today the reading level would probably be considered too high for such an audience. Vintage history of Burma book free.

Historical Atlas of Indonesia

Cribb, R. B.
University of Hawai’i 2000 Dewey Dec. 959.8

“This volume traces the history of the region which became Indonesia from early times to the present day in over three hundred specially drawn full-colour maps with a detailed accompanying text… Beginning with the geological and ecological forces which have shaped the physical form of the archipelago, the Historical Atlas of Indonesia goes on to chart early human migration and the changing distribution of ethnic groups. It traces the kaleidoscopic pattern of states in early Indonesia and their gradual incorporation into the Netherlands Indies and eventually into the Republic of Indonesia.” – Publisher. Atlas of Indonesia free, Indonesia history book free.

Modern Indonesia: A History since 1945

Cribb, R. B.
Longman 1995 Dewey Dec. 959.8

“One of [East Asia’s] least known but potentially most important actors is Indonesia, whose vast territory of over 3000 islands proclaimed its independence after the ending of Japanese occupation in 1945. This concise but trenchant account of its history – the turbulent years under Sukarno followed by transformation, stability but international withdrawal under Suharto – is currently without a competitor. It provides an invaluable introduction to a republic which, under a younger, more self-confident generation, seems poised to assume a regional and global role commensurate with its status as the world’s fourth most populous nation.” – Publisher. Free book on the modern history of Indonesia.

Anatomy of a Crisis; the Laotian Crisis of 1960-1961

Fall, Bernard B.
Doubleday 1969 Dewey Dec. 959.4

Free book about the history of Laos.

The Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia

Feith, Herbert
Equinox 2001 Dewey Dec. 959.8

“This is an intensive study of Indonesian politics from the attainment of full independence in December 1949 to the proclamation of martial law in March 1957, and President Soekarno’s subsequent establishment of guided democracy. It is intended as a contribution to the ongoing discussion of democracy in the new states of Asia and Africa, of the ways in which Western political institutions are transformed when employed in non-Western social settings, and of the obstacles to be overcome if such institutions are to operate in consonance with the authority systems of new nations and with their solution of economic and administrative problems.” – Publisher. History of Indonesia book free.

Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule

Fink, Christina
University Press 2001 Dewey Dec. 959.1

“Burma is governed by a repressive military dictatorship, its economy has collapsed, and it is the second largest producer of heroin in the world. In this exceptionally readable yet scholarly account of Burma today, Christina Fink gives a moving and insightful picture of what life under military rule is like. Through the extensive interviews conducted inside and outside the country, we begin to understand the accommodations that people feel compelled to make in order to carry on with daily life, including the innovative forms of resistance that some courageous Burmese have engaged in.” -Publisher. History of Burma, History of Southeast Asia books.

See our free books about the history of North Korea & South Korea

Indonesian Destinies

Friend, Theodore
Belknap Press of Harvard University 2003 Dewey Dec. 959.8

“How can such a gentle people as we are be so murderous? a prominent Indonesian asks. That question–and the mysteries of the archipelago’s vast contradictions–haunt Theodore Friend’s remarkable work, a narrative of Indonesia during the last half century, from the postwar revolution against Dutch imperialism to the unrest of today. Part history, part meditation on a place and a past observed firsthand, Indonesian Destinies penetrates events that gave birth to the world’s fourth largest nation and assesses the continuing dangers that threaten to tear it apart. Rarely have narrative history and personal historical witness been so seamlessly joined.” -Publisher.

365 Days

Glasser, Ronald J.
George Braziller 2003 Dewey Dec. 959.7

Originally published 1971. The author, a military doctor stationed in Japan, recounts his experiences treating wounded American military personnel during the Vietnam War. “Confronts the reader with an unparalleled description of the human cost of the war and of the horror endured daily by those on the front lines … The death and suffering he witnessed were staggering. Glasser tells [the soldiers’] stories – lives shockingly interrupted by the tragedies of war – with humane eloquence.” – Publisher. History of Vietnam War book free.

The United States and Malaysia

Gould, James Warren
Harvard University 1969 Dewey Dec. 959.5 Malaysia

“This volume, a discerning examination of what might be termed Greater Malaysia, is the first comprehensive analysis of American-Malaysian relations and Malaysian foreign policy. A strategic geographic position and rich natural resources lend obvious importance to this region, which encompasses Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. But it is especially significant for its extraordinary political, cultural, and economic accomplishments.” -Publisher. Contents: The natural setting — The Malaysian people — History of the Malaysian people — Government and politics — Creating a Malaysian nation — Livelihood of the people — Society and culture — International relations — American relations with the area. History of Malaysia book free.

Siam, Vol 1

Volume 2

Graham, W. A.
Alexander Moring 1924 Dewey Dec. 959.3

Vol I: Geography – Science – Races of Siam – History – Social Organization – Education – Language and Literature – Bibliography – Government
Vol II: Industries – Commerce and trade – Communications and transport – Art – Archaeology – Architecture – Music, dancing and the drama – Religion – Appendices. Vintage history of Thailand book free.

Malaysia and the Pacific Archipelagoes

Guillemard, F. H. H.
Edward Stanford 1894 Dewey Dec. 959

Malaysia: – General features – Philippine Islands – Dutch East Indies – Java – Sumatra – Borneo – Celebes – The Moluccas – The Lesser Sunda Islands – Melanesia: New Guinea – Other Melanesian islands – The Fiji Islands – Polynesia: – The Friendly and other islands – Mikronesia: – The Mikronesian archipelagoes. Vintage history book of Malaysia.

History and Description of the Picturesque Philippines, with Entertaining Accounts of the People and their Modes of Living, Customs, Industries, Climate and Present Conditions

Hannaford, Ebenezer
Crowell & Kirkpatrick 1900 Dewey Dec. 959.9

“Over 150 illustrations”. Vintage book about the Philippines.

See our free books on World History

The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, Politics

Hellwig, Tineke and Tagliacozzo, Eric, eds.
Duke University 2009 Dewey Dec. 959.8

“Assembled for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the Reader includes more than 150 selections: journalists’ articles, explorers’ chronicles, photographs, poetry, stories, cartoons, drawings, letters, speeches, and more. Many pieces are by Indonesians; some are translated into English for the first time. All have introductions by the volume’s editors. Well-known figures such as Indonesia’s acclaimed novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer and the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz are featured alongside other artists and scholars, as well as politicians, revolutionaries, colonists, scientists, and activists. Organized chronologically, the volume addresses early Indonesian civilizations; contact with traders from India, China, and the Arab Middle East; and the European colonization of Indonesia, which culminated in centuries of Dutch rule.” -Publisher.

Thailand: A Global Studies Handbook

Hoare, Timothy D

A guide to Thailand, providing a comprehensive, beyond-the-basics overview of the country, its history, society, culture, language, and economy.. The work covers a historical period of 800 years, documenting pivotal events and personalities, and presents an overview of the Thai economy.

Pawns of War: Cambodia and Laos

Isaacs, Arnold R. et al.
Boston Pub. Co. 1987 Dewey Dec. 959

“The Vietnam Experience, Volume 23 – Examines how Cambodia and Laos became involved through the aftermath of the American withdrawal from Indochina.” -Publisher. Contents: Roots of conflict – The delicate balance – Neutrality lost – Pawns of war – Liberation – The Third Indochina War. History of Cambodia books, history of Laos books, Vietnam War books.


Jarvis, Helen, ed.
Clio Press 1997

A volume in the Clio Press “World Bibliographical Series”. Comprised of annotated entries on works dealing with the country’s history, geography, economy and politics; and with its people, their culture, customs, religion and social organization. Attention is paid to current living conditions; housing, education, newspapers, clothing, etc.

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