Along the Mekong, from northern Tibet to Lijiang, from Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh to Can Lo, I moved from one world to another, among cultural islands often ignorant of each other’s presence. Yet each island, as if built on shifting sands and eroded and reshaped by a universal sea, was re-forming itself, or was being remolded, was expanding its horizons or sinking under the rising waters of a cultural global warming. It was a journey between worlds, worlds fragiley conjoined by a river both ominous and luminescent, muscular and bosomy, harsh and sensuous.
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.
Edward A. Gargan worked as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief for the New York Times in West Africa, China, India, and Hong Kong, was a magazine writer for the Los Angeles Times, and now covers Asia for Newsday. He… More about Edward Gargan
“Far more than a picturesque personal travel diary. . .[Gargan] tells a unique and thought-provoking story.”–The New York Times
“Gargan’s handling of the complex histories of the countries, tribes, regions and peoples touched by this great river is just right.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Gargan has crafted a fine account of a very engaging journey. . . . It manages to convey a nuanced sense of place that makes one want to grab a backpack and jump on the first slow boat to pull to shore.” –San José Mercury News
“A fascinating journey through one of the world’s most compelling landscapes.” –New Jersey Star-Ledger
“Vivid, sometimes gripping . . . a solid accomplishment.” –America
“An excellent travelogue. A colorful and closely detailed account of travels along Southeast Asia’s contested lifeline.” –Kirkus Reviews
Ed Gargan presents a selection of photos from his trip down the Mekong river, combined with his comments about the circumstances behind the taking of these photos and of the people and the places they portray.