A book assigned in many graduate courses on Southeast Asian history, "The land below the winds", gives the student an interesting look at day to day life in Southeast Asia from the arrival of the Western Europeans(1450-1680). Painstakingly researched, the book enjoys pointing out that in many ways the SE Asians had much more modern cultural practices than the "smelly" Europeans. Reid explores in each chapter seperate cultural criteria such as: physical well-bieng, material culture, social organization and lastly festivals and amusements. A myriad of topics are covered from sexual ambiguity and practices to military combat and diplomacy. Interesting tid bits abound and the book makes good reading for both the student and general reader. This is the best of the current offerings in the field and I highly recommend it.