This edition supersedes Laos: A Country Study, published in 1971. Various members of the staff of the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress assisted in the preparation of the book. Sandra W. Meditz made helpful suggestions during her review of all parts of the book. Robert L. Worden also reviewed parts of the book and made numerous suggestions and points of clarification. Tim L. Merrill checked the contents of all the maps and reviewed the sections on geography and telecommunications. Thomas D. Hall also assisted with some of the maps. Thanks also go to David P. Cabitto, who provided graphic support; Marilyn L. Majeska, who managed editing and production and edited portions of the manuscript; Andrea T. Merrill, who provided invaluable assistance with regard to tables and figures; and Barbara Edgerton, Alberta Jones King, and Izella Watson, who did the word processing.
The authors also are grateful to individuals in various United States government agencies who gave their time and special knowledge to provide information and perspective. These individuals include Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army, and the staff of the Embassy of the Lao People's Democratic Republic to the United States.
Others who contributed were Joel Halpern, who reviewed the text and also offered many valuable suggestions and points of clarification; Ly Burnham, who reviewed the portions of the text on demography; Harriett R. Blood, who prepared the topography and drainage map; Maryland Mapping and Graphics, which prepared maps and charts; Teresa Kemp, who designed the cover and chapter art; Juliet Bruce, who edited chapters; Sheila L. Ross, who performed the final prepublication editorial review; Joan C. Cook, who compiled the index; and Stephen C. Cranton and David P. Cabitto, who prepared the camera-ready copy. The inclusion of photographs was made possible by the generosity of individuals and the Embassy of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
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