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Date of Issue: February 12, 2009

Islander Davis' books fit for a king

U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodley presents King Sihamoni Jan. 20 with her diplomatic credentials and two books on Cambodia published by Kent Davis of Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy U.S. Embassy Cambodia

Holmes Beach resident and southeast Asia expert Kent Davis has been honored by Carol Rodley, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, with the presentation of two books he published on Cambodia to that country’s king as part of her official diplomatic arrival in the country.

The books were Rodley’s official gifts to King Sihamoni at the ceremony where she presented her formal diplomatic papers upon her arrival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

Davis said Rodley made the presentation on Jan. 20, the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated.

“I’m obviously honored and thrilled. The date she presented the books was symbolic,” said Davis, noting that Rodley could have given the king anything.

The books were “Earth in Flower” about Cambodia’s sacred dance traditions, and “Angkor the Magnificent,” which details the significance of the 1,700-plus statues of women found at the ancient Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.

Davis is the editor and publisher of “Earth in Flower,” and republished “Angkor the Magnificent,” which was originally written in 1924 by Titanic survivor Helen Churchill Candee.

Davis said that when he saw the Web site order for “Earth in Flower,” he e-mailed Rodley and asked if she was the new ambassador to Cambodia.

“When she replied that she was, and that she planned to give the book to the king of Cambodia, I e-mailed her again and offered to add ‘Angkor the Magnificent’ to her gifts and I sent her a copy,” Davis said.

He also sent Rodley a CD he had made of a rare 1962 U.S. National Archives film of Cambodian Dance.

Following the presentation of her credentials and the gifts, Rodley took time to e-mail Davis to thank him for his help, as well as the CD and the second book.

Davis said that in Rodley’s e-mail to him, she said the king was delighted with the books, and the presentation was wonderful.

“Rodley said she was happy and I’m very happy. I think it’s very significant that we are exporting knowledge to another country. Two books created on Anna Maria Island have become America’s gifts to a king,” he said.

For more on the Davis publications deemed “fit for a king,” visit online at or