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A History of Thailand Paperback – May 23, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0521016476 ISBN-10: 0521016479

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521016479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521016476
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'As the most conceptual study of thailand yet it reaches a new level of sophistication.' BBC History Magazine

'Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit cover this ground with secure jusgement and great insight.' The Times Literary Supplement

'In A History of Thailand, Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, two respected Bangkok-based scholars, offer a lively, highly readable account of modern Thai history, the first such history in English for two decades.' Financial Times

'[This book] is the first attempt in English to write a history of this country in the modern sense of 'history' ... This book is essential reading for anyone seriously interest in Thailand: how it came about; its present strengths and weaknesses; and its potential in the future of a very unstable world.' Journal of the Siam Society

'... an engaging and factually rich introduction to the history of modern Thailand.' South East Asia Research

'This is the first new history of Thailand for two decades, written by a husband and wife team who have already written a number of books on contemporary Thailand. Their challenge was to marshal coherently a deal of complicated and unfamiliar material.' Asian Affairs

Book Description

This book covers the past three centuries of Thai history. Over this period, a landscape of sparsely populated forest and jungle was transformed into villages and paddy fields. An older order of mandarin nobles and unfree labor was replaced by a rural society of smallholder peasants and an urban society populated mainly by migrants from southern China. Through the twentieth century, Thailand has been drawn into the international system, the American camp in the Cold War, the economic ambit of rising Japan, and the forces of globalization.

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Customer Reviews

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The book is also fairly up to date (this is the 3rd revised edition).
Enjolras
The book covers political, economic, and social history, as well as the nuances of Theravada Buddhism.
Battleship
For the readers who want to know about Thai history, this book should be the first one to read.
Khun Panot

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David A. Baer VINE VOICE on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors of this compact Cambridge University Press history of Thailand deliver on their promise. This is a vintage CUP product: balanced, full of measured opinion, error-free in typography and layout, sweeping without shallowness.

There is not a better one-volume entrance to this fascinating but lesser-known South East Asian Country.

Taking the nation-state seriously, the authors show how an ethnically diverse region with formidable Chinese influence and lineage gradually took shape as the somewhat mythical 'Thai people'. Known as Siam until modern times, Thailand was an ally of the US during its Vietnam era with mixed results when the GIs arrived for R&R and even more traumatic adjustments when they took their dollars and left.

Later the hot money of the greater Asian Tigers moved here from Taiwan and Japan, only to migrate to China when cheaper labor became available to foreigners in that country.

The Thai are nothing if not survivors. Nor were they ever fully colonized, a badge of honor in a region that knew perhaps too much of European and Asian pretenders to do just that.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Weisburgh on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is primarily a history from the current line of kings (roughly 1800) through the present. Thus, if you want to learn how modern Thailand was formed, it is an excellent source. If you are looking for earlier information, it is very sketchy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pierre Bovington on February 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew nothing of this country s history and now I m confident of boring people to death on the subject.

The three factors that make the nation; Buddhism,the Monarchy and rice agriculture, are covered in clear detail.

From the first chapter, the early years unfold through early settlers,land reclaimation and conflict.

Later chapters explain the use of Western advisors brought in to modernise and the final creation of a Nation State only some 100 years ago.

I bought based on other reviews against other books on the subject and have not been disapointed.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Khun Panot on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a Thai and since my childhood I have read many history books on our nation. All of those books is written by Thai, mostly in the view of historians. This book looks into Thai history from the view of economist. That makes it unique and more interesting (at least for me). For the readers who want to know about Thai history, this book should be the first one to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Glenn A. Auve on July 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having visited Thailand a couple of times I knew some of the basic history. This book helps fill in the gaps in my knowledge and tells the story of Thailand from the pre-nation days. The focus is mainly on the 20th century and to some extent the mid- to late- 19th. This makes perfect sense as there was no "Thailand" before that time or at least before Bangkok became the capital. There is some time spent dealing with the small kingdoms that were part of what eventually became Siam and later Thailand as well as how the monarchy changed over time. But the book mostly deals with how the nation-state came about and how it evolved.

The style is eminently readable and very well-researched and documented. Obviously a book such as this is aimed at a fairly limited audience. It has been a fine commuting companion for me.

It is fascinating to see how history in Thailand keeps on repeating itself even to this very day.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Langlois on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
As another previously stated, the early years prior to the Chakri Dynasty are very poorly covered. The Chakri Dynasty coverage up to the time of RAMA the 6th is not very bad, but somewhat vague and not in-depth enough in relation to the Monarchs` rule. Much credibility was also lost when the great fakir/fraud Anna Leonowen`s 1871 fabrication was written as fact. This left me wondering how deep the research was done, or was much of the material heresay. A pivotal event, the Paknam Incident and its aftermath were very sparsely covered as well. The years of RAMA the 7th and the rise of Pridi and Phibun were done well, but this is where the book VERY steeply begins to degenerate. There is much evidence today of Pridi`s involvement in the 1946 regicide, but this puzzlingly is very sparsely covered. Only later in the RAMA the 9th chapters does the real authors` bias begin to seep in deeper and deeper into the text. The authors (one a very liberal prof at Chula BTW) begin to memorialize waxingly the communist movement in Thailand in the 1930s painting Pridi as almost a saint (early Paris trained communist forefather) while his rival is repeatedly compared to Hitler and Mussolini. Later the arch nemisis of the Thais unapolegetically becomes the Yanks by the 1950s. From chapter 7 on up it is the continually the bloody Yanks who are the root of all Thailand`s modern day problems. They also alude to if the Thais had followed the lead of the CPT Thammasat students then Thailand would be so much better off today...(kind of like those other great SE Asian Marxist economic success stories: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma).Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jared Spencer on August 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
There are so few histories written about Thailand for the popular press that one who truly wants to learn Thai history has quite limited choices. Therefore, Baker's history is worth reading. However, it seemed that Baker gave very little credit to the Thais for the shaping of their history, culture, and economy. The book seems to portray Thailand as a helpless pawn at China's (and later America's) disposal. Wyatt's history of Thailand seems much more pro-Thai and in my opinion is the superior history. However, the book has not been updated recently due to Professor Wyatt's passing in 2006. Note, however, that he was a renowned professor on Thai history and really knew his stuff.
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