Titanic Survivor's Asian Adventure at Angkor Wat Resurfaces

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April 15th marks the 96th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, but surviving that disaster was a mere footnote in the unusual life of writer Helen Churchill Candee. Her book, "Angkor the Magnificent," recounts her Cambodian adventure of the 1920's, supplemented by more than 100 antique photos and an original biography by historian Randy Bryan Bigham.

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Surviving the RMS Titanic was just a random event in Helen Churchill Candee's extraordinary life. She was a most unconventional Victorian woman.

"The tale of it is incredible; the wonder which is Angkor is unmatched in Asia." So begins Helen Churchill Candee's 1924 tale of Asian adventure. Today, visitors can again experience the mystery of Cambodia's vast jungle temples through her eyes in a modern expanded edition of Angkor the Magnificent (ISBN: 978-1-934431-00-9).

April 15th marks the 96th anniversary of history's most infamous maritime disaster, the sinking of the RMS Titanic. But for Helen Candee, surviving the Titanic was a minor event compared to her other life credentials, which include authoring one of the most popular early accounts of travel to exotic Cambodia, Angkor Wat, and the temples of the ancient Khmers.

Helen Candee walked with kings, presidents, the wealthy and the powerful… entertaining, educating and influencing them. This independent woman supported herself and her family in an era when women were expected to depend on men. She championed feminine equality and fought tirelessly for woman's rights. And, as a single woman, she traveled the Far East with a keen eye for detail, an inquisitive mind, and a sensitivity for local culture.

Angkor the Magnificent is far more than a tale of early 20th century Asian travel. Candee's insights are enlightening, elegant and frequently witty as she relates the history, culture and context of Angkor's ancient monuments. By her hand, we have one of the first significant works on Cambodia in the English language.

Historian Randy Bryan Bigham prefaces this edition with Life's Décor, the first original biography of Candee ever to appear in print. Bigham relates "Surviving the RMS Titanic was just a random event in Helen Churchill Candee's extraordinary life. She was a most unconventional Victorian woman." Bigham's detailed biography recounts her accomplishments as an author, Orientalist, designer, trendsetter, political insider and lifelong advocate for women's rights.

The 2008 hardcover edition of Angkor the Magnificent (ISBN: 978-1-934431-00-9) includes Helen Candee's biography; her complete 1924 account of Southeast Asian travel; more than 120 illustrations of Cambodia, RMS Titanic and the author; Candee's first person account of the Titanic disaster; a bibliography and index.

As Helen Candee herself described this tale, "…the news is leaking out to the great world that loves a new sensation that there are secrets to be pried open in Cambodia, and special marvels to be seen…." Nearly 90 years later, this amazing woman's Oriental insights are as stimulating and relevant as the day she wrote them.

Biographer: Randy Bryan Bigham is a journalist, author and historian specializing in Edwardian era cultural history. He has worked with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of London; the Titanic Museum; and the National Geographic Channel. Bigham is now editor for a Metroplex newspaper in Dallas, Texas.

Publisher: DatASIA, Inc. is an independent publisher affiliated with PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association and SPAN, Small Publishers of North America. The company has offices in Florida, USA and Bangkok, Thailand.


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