I liked this study. It offers a dose of reality as to how Buddhist laypersons live their religion and how SE Asian politicians apply (and misuse) Buddhist ideals. The book is especially interesting with regard to the divide between monastic and lay/social Buddhism.
The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia is written for those people with an extensive background of knowledge in the Buddhist religion. Swearer uses complex language which is hard to follow and understand if you don't have a grasp on the Buddhist terminology. But, Swearer does give a descriptive view of the "typical" Buddhist monk and layman traditions, customs, and practices. He covers subjects ranging from festivals and cermonies to the kings and cosmology. I would only recommend this book to someone with a sincere interest in the details of life in Southeast Asia.