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Four Reigns Paperback – December 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 663 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9747100665
  • ISBN-13: 978-9747100662
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kukrit, famous as a journalist, wit, connoisseur of the arts, and, for much of his life, a politician, and once the prime minister. . . is also a world-class writer, equipped with imagination, humor, narrative skill, and keen understanding of human nature."—The New York Review of Books

About the Author

M. R. Kukrit Pramoj (1911-1995) was prime minister, journalist, classical dancer, and author of more than 20 books.

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
It is a very good tranlslation and very loyal to the Thai.
Lynn Ellingwood
Very well written and provided a fantastic understanding of history, politics, and Thai culture throughout the past century.
Amazon Customer
I read Four Reigns while touring Thailand in January 2012; it greatly enhanced my experience.
MarleneMills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pongsakorn Chindawatana on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Kukrit Pramoj made time machine and let us use it travel to old period of Thailand when it called SIAM. I feels Bangkok in his book is totally difference from Bangkok nowaday.I touches the real Bangkok, Spirits of Siam and learn how Thailand become city of angel. Every of my foriegner friend, read this book, falls deeply in love with Thailand and wish to come to Thailand once...Every places he was described in his book is the real places and still enchanting till nowaday. If you like to learn more about Thailand..Background of Thai people..and if you like to getting into the center of Spirits of Siam..take this book and place it close to your pillow..lie down and start to read...when you realise time maybe pass so quickly and it's morning... Kukrit Pramoj passaway many years ago..but His book last forever..
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Ellingwood VINE VOICE on January 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an English translation of the "Four Reigns". It is a very good tranlslation and very loyal to the Thai. I think one of the reviewers hasn't thought about the differences in how Thai is written and English is used in literature. English language readers may expect more elaboration than readers in Thai do. I read this book as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand in the early 90's. It was a good way to access and understand better the history of Siam. I personally loved the book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gnome de Plum on August 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a worthwhile read for anyone wanting insight into Thai history or Thai culture the same way as "Little House on the Prairie" should be required reading for anyone studying 19th Century American history.

I liked the book, but it is an intense read, and it isn't all that upbeat from a western perspective. There is a lot of sadness associated with the passage of time, and as an epic spanning the reign of four kings of Thailand, there is ample opportunity to see this in this work.

I have never attempted to read even parts of the work in its original language, but I was entertained to see the another review saying that the content was much different. While this may well be the case, the book is certainly worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By readster on January 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
i am an american who grew up in thailand. this book is a classic way to understand thai history and culture, and i have loved it since adolescence. it is an easy and compelling read, full of great details, and has a very thai sensability.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gecko on October 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I can only endorse the comments of other reviewers about this rather wonderful book. As a writer myself, yes, I can find flaws. For example, the characterization is sometimes too uni-dimensional - the protagonist, Phloi (sometimes she is just too good); the stereotyped wicked older sister, Khun Un, who, in true fairytale fashion, redeems herself in the end. But ultimately, I forgive the book these flaws because the writer has the skills to create a world which I want to inhabit. Finishing it was like parting with a very dear friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Smiley on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book made me think hard about my quest to read a book set in every country in the world. I'd decided not to limit myself to books written by a native of the country. Many of the books I choose are, but it's rare that I read one like this: not only by someone from the country, but written in that country's language for people in that country and only later translated to English. Judging by this book's obscurity in the English-speaking world (apparently it's a major classic in Thailand, but you'd never know it from the number of reviews on English-language websites), that's no surprise. But a likely reason for its obscurity is English-speaking readers' skepticism about foreign books in translation. We're not sure they'll be accessible, let alone any fun. (After my wonderful local library refused to buy this one because it's--and I quote--"more academic and would be better suited to a university library," I was skeptical myself.)

Now you know where I'm coming from, I'll say: in many ways this book was a pleasant surprise. I did, in fact, enjoy reading it, and found it surprisingly accessible. But, also, I can understand its obscurity in the English-speaking world.

Four Reigns follows the life of a woman named Phloi (pronounced "Ploy") during the reigns of four kings of Thailand--from age 10, when she and her mother go to live in the women's palace, until her death 54 years later. Readers see the enormous changes that happened in Thailand (and the outside world) between 1892 and 1946. The pace is leisurely, and much of the book focuses on Phloi's everyday life, but it kept my interest and in fact I read through it quickly.
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