Celebrated historian Michael Vickery dies, 86

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, Michael Vickery

Cambodia bid farewell to a giant of Southeast Asian scholarship on Thursday with the death of the American historian Michael Vickery in Battambang, where his funeral ends today. He was 86.

Colleagues, friends and family remembered him for his fierce intellect, unapologetic devotion to the truth, encyclopaedic memory and mastery of over a dozen languages, many of which – it was said – he picked up through various romances. 

“On the pillow,” as Vickery’s close friend Olivier de Bernon put it. De Bernon, a professor at the French School of the Far East, recalled Vickery as a prodigious debater who would entertain lively wine-fuelled conversations.

“He had a unique talent for polemics,” he said. 

Born on April 1, 1931, in Billings, Montana, Vickery came from modest means, but his family’s progressive values shaped Vickery’s scholarship, which is often viewed as falling into Marxist schools of thought – although, de Bernon noted, “he was not a communist”. ...

Read entire article at Phnom Penh Post

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