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Can Laos--with its small, scattered, ethnically diverse population, enchanting but rugged landscapes, and rich natural resources--emerge from the shadows of its more powerful neighbors? It has been carved up by colonial powers in the nineteenth century and dragged into devastating revolution and war in the twentieth. The authors provide a full, frank, and engaging survey of Laos today, assessing its history, prospects, and hopes. The book is essential reading for scholars, policymakers, and anyone interested in coming to grips with Laos today.