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East Asia
Compiled by Richard Seltzer

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East Asia
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, North & South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
Compiled by Richard Seltzer
B & R Samizdat Express - (October 20, 2003)
P. O. Box 161
West Roxbury, MA, 02132
ISBN: 0-931968-75-5
Genre: Current Events, History

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 3, 2003

The term "East Asia" is used to denote a geographical region that covers an area reaching from the Indian subcontinent, eastward to the Pacific Ocean. Countries found in this region include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, North & South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. While these countries can be classed together via geographical terms, they should not be viewed as being culturally or politically aligned. The countries classed as being 'in' East Asia are ruled by a variety of political systems ranging from democracies to dictatorships to monarchies. Religious and ethic differences also abound, as do cultural and linguistic variances. The countries of East Asia are also geographically diverse in terms of topography and climate. In short, East Asia is a geographically diverse and culturally rich region.

An intriguing glimpse of East Asia's geography, history, and cultures can be obtained from the East Asia CD collection that has been compiled by Richard Seltzer. This CD is a phenomenal reference guide to East Asia, offering detailed Country Studies on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition, this collection included the complete text of the 2003 edition of the CIA World Factbook as well as a variety of texts on the history, literature, and religions of East Asia.

In the realm of history, this collection contains works on Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Philippine History. Historical works that you will find in this collection included the The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura and Herbert Giles' mesmerizing Chinese Sketches.

In addition to historical works, this collection also includes a wealth of literary and religious works. Literary works run the gamut from Confucian and Taoist classics to Indian love stories and Filipino fairy tales. The religious works that are found in this collection will prove singularly invaluable to anyone interested in East Asian studies. Religious works found in this collection include: These historical, literary, and religious texts are not only entertaining and informative, but they also help to explain the development of the various East Asian countries, and to explain the world view of each country's inhabitants. This information enables the reader to place modern events into a comprehensible, historical perspective that helps to explain the modern interactions between the various nation states and their role in world politics.

Country Studies

Each Country Study is an independent book that provides an in-depth overview of each of the sixteen countries covered on this CD. The country studies were originally issued by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Study looks at each country's history, society, environment, economy, government, politics, and how the political and social make-up of each country affects the national security of the United States.

Each Country Study is presented as a single text file that can be opened with almost any word processing program or web browser. The books also include an appendix that consists of a variety of tables that are in html format. I was able to open these html tables with both the Microsoft Word and WordPerfect word processing programs, as well as opening them with a web browser.

CIA World Factbook

The CIA World Factbook is an outstanding reference work that offers statistics on just about everything from the population of each country, to each countries Gross National Product (GNP). The CIA World Factbook provides a country by country analysis of every country in the world. This analysis provides brief, yet comprehensive overview of each country. Information in this country by country analysis includes statistics detailing such facts as the amount of each country's arable land, literacy statistics, climate, religious and gender make up of the country, languages spoken, main exports, and other useful information that helps to give the reader a detailed overview of each country. The text is also enhanced by the inclusion of historical facts on the various countries, reference maps, and links to relevant websites. This book is an illustrated book in html format. To properly see the pages in this book, you will need to open this book in a web browser, such as Microsoft's Explore or Netscape. These files may not display properly if opened in a regular word processing program.


This CD includes a windows-based screen reading program called ReadPlease. Two versions of the ReadPlease program come with the CD, a free version and ReadPlease Plus, a commercial shareware version. To use the program, you simply highlight the text you want read to you, and the computer will read it aloud. In the free version you can only highlight 16,000 bytes of text at one time, whereas with the commercial version you can set the program to read an unlimited amount of text at one time.

Instruction on how to use both programs can be found in the CD's 'readme' file. Both programs also come with complete instructions, and both versions of the program can be used to read other files on your computer, beyond those found on this CD.

In Conclusion

This CD collection of books on East Asia is an ideal addition to the library of anyone interested in East Asian Studies and as a general reference book for students. For the price of a single printed book, you can add a wealth of books, for the whole family, to your library. This CD also includes a Teachers' and Students' Guide that will help you navigate the CD. The above overview only offers a brief glimpse at the numerous works contained on this CD.

System Requirements

Windows PC
A web browser such as Explorer or Netscape, or a word processing program such as Word or WordPerfect.

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