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Anna and the King of Siam Paperback – November 3, 1999


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Frequently Bought Together

Anna and the King of Siam + The English Governess at the Siamese Court + The Romance of the Harem (Classic Reprint)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st HarperPerennial Ed edition (November 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060954884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060954888
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An enchanting book. The author wears her scholarship with grace, and the amazing story she has to tell is recounted with humor and understanding. And what a story it is!" -- Atlantic Monthly

"An invitig escape into an unfamiliar, exotic past. Ms. Landon's is one calculated to transport us instantly." -- -- New York Times

"An invitig escape into an unfamiliar, exotic past. Ms. Landon's is one calculated to transport us instantly." -- New York Times

From the Publisher

12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was drawn to Anna and the King of Siam because of the Musical, The King and I. I not only enjoyed reading the book, but I also enjoyed comparing the two works based on the same woman's courage and dedication. Anna Leonowen's life and work in Siam is not only facinating, but an interesting aspect of history as well. The book shares and outlines this story in an interesting and exciting way. Anna had to have great courage and dedication to do what she did in her time. The difference in culture was alluring to her, as well as shocking at times. Throughout her time in Siam, she formed many friendships, and she had many who admired her. She gained a few enemies as well. Anna also had an intriging relationship with the King, which fluctuated on a regular basis. Anna was truly a remarkable woman, as was her story. I loved it!
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68 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For sheer readibility, it's worth 5 stars. But for its history and biography, I would rate it less than zero. So as a compromise, I'd give it 3 stars. The Siam king Anna Leonowens portrays (Landon's 1944 best-seller is based on Leonowens' original account) looks nothing like the real king Mongkut whom historians study and the Thais revere. The real Mongkut is the closest thing to a philospher-king that modern Asia has produced and his political reform essentially created modern Thailand. He was an accomplished linguist and spoke several European languages including English. He was well-versed in western science and history. From his success in preserving his country's independence in the age of western imperialism by playing off colonial powers against each other, it seems he knew as much about the balance of power as, say Metternich and Palmerston. He laid the basis for the modernisation reform and foreign policy initiatives long before Leonowens set foot in Siam. So it's hard to see how she could possibly play any significant role in these areas as she had claimed. Little wonder that the Thais are upset about Hollywood's latest attempt to remake the King and I starring Jodie Foster and Hong Kong movie star Chow Yun-fat. How the sheer fantasies that made up Leonowens' book - and the historical illiteracy and cultural insensitivity of Landon's - came about warrant a serious interdisciplinary study in 1) psychology of self-delusion; 2) history of Victorian colonial racism; 3) western orientialism that portrays an exotic East of sensuality, barbarity and mystery. Would I let my children read thse books? Yes, of course, 'cause they are entertaining. But I would advise them to read some real history to debunk the egomania and delusion of Leonowens.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am 15, so to establish my credibility I must explain that I am currently writing an enormous research paper on the controversy over various written and film versions of Anna and the King of Siam. After roughly three months of extensive background research, I read this book and found it to be almost entirely untrue. I believe that those who claim King Mongkut would not have accomplished what he did without Mrs. Leonowens counsel are disillusioned and clearly have not read much on the subject. He was an extremely enlightened and well-educated monarch with no reason to engage in conversation with an English schoolteacher. Many people actually believe that she met the King only once, or not at all. Despite the glaring errors, however, I have seen both the musical and the newest version with Jodie Foster and enjoyed them immensely. Read this book and see the movies only if you are aware that they are fictional.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book because it was really exciting. I also liked how it taught you about different traditions and religious beliefs. I have never read another book that took place in Siam, so that was really interesting. I liked how when after someone said something in the language that people in Siam speak, they would also print in English what they were saying. Anna the main character's, bravery and courage was great. I admire how she could stand up to a king without being scared.

The story is about a widowed school teacher from England who travels to Siam to teach the king's son and Prince Chuklalonkorn along with his many brothers and sisters. The king's many children are eager to start their lessons, as is Anna, but little did they know that they would become more like friends than like a school teacher and her young pupils. In the beginning Anna and the king are always bickering and disagreeing with each other, but they too, soon become friends.

I think that anyone who is interested in adventure should read this book. This book is for someone who loves to learn new things such as languages, religions and or monks because one of the Ladies in the palace is in love with a monk named Balat. The king also travels to different places for business and sometimes has dinner parties that involve people from different places. If I could be in Anna's place that would be great.

I think that is a great adventure!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Many months of living and learning about the wonderful people in Thailand made me appreciate Anna and the King of Siam even more. This book provides many realistic details about the Thai culture during the 19th century. I read Anna and the King of Siam after reading Anna and the King. I found the contrast between the two books facinating. Although I enjoyed reading both books equally (for differenct reasons), Anna and the King of Siam provides more realistic version of interactions between an unkown foreign English teacher and a powerful king. The people of Thiland truly love and respect their king for many good reasons. Understanding this, however, one can understand how both movies regarding the story of Anna Leonowens (The King and I & Anna and the King) are currently banned in Thiland.
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