“Tonight, all I have are those shadows.”
Welcome to the illustrious reading page. Below are either links to books (to buy) or links to a public Google Drive page (symbol: *) where a document can either be read online or downloaded.
Nonfiction: BooksThailand’s Political History by B.J. Terwiel Dutch author who provides an interesting array of European sources to his scholarship. Debunks many of the myths of Thai history. A Short History of Thailand by David Wyatt The classic text of Thai history by the prophet of Thai studies. The Politics of Despotic Paternalism by Thak Chaloemtiarana Sarit Thanarat’s rise and profound influence on modern Thai politics.
Seditious histories: contesting Thai and Southeast Asian pasts by Craig ReynoldsStudies in Thai History by David Wyatt A collection of Wyatt’s writings. The real gem is his “The ‘Subtle Revolution’ of King Rama I of Siam” where he discusses Rama I’s establishing of Buddhism as the legitimizing ideology of kingship. Bangkok Found by Alex Kerr Traditional arts conservationist, Japanologist, and Bangkok resident takes a closer look at Thai art and culture. “In short, nothing was as it seemed to be, all was evanescent, everything slipped through my fingers,” he concludes, but after reading his book the reader is left still wanting to grasp more. Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne Hilarious and insightful look at Bangkok as an asylum of lonely men from the West. Osbourne dares to stare into the abyss. The End of Absolute Monarchy in Siam by Benjamin Batson It’s a pity that this book is so difficult to find, because it speaks directly to the current political climate in Thailand today. King Prajadhipok comes off as a democrat in the whirlwind of the late 1920’s and 1930’s where Siam was struggling with worldwide economic problems, nationalism in neighboring countries, and the specter of communism. Batson raids the national archives in Thailand and takes a forensic approach scouring official correspondence of Prajadhipok’s meeting with his princes, and the official cables of American and British reactions. A fascinating work. Reading Bangkok by Ross King King tries to make sense of the architecture and the physical space in Bangkok. He explores the often contradictory messages conveyed in the syncretic approach of Thai epistemology. Truth on Trial in Thailand by David Streckfuss A tome on the silencing of truth in Thailand. A banquet for legal scholars. The author traces how Thailand has become “more absolutist, authoritarian, and restrictive in terms of what people can say and write” since the abolition of absolute monarchy. Could use some editing for brevity (what scholarly work doesn’t need it?). Thaksin by Pasuk Phongpaichit & Chris Baker A forensic analysis of Thaksin’s rise and fall. Close discussion on Thakin’s relentless pursuit of more wealth using the state. Highly recommended. Socially Engaged Buddhism by Sulak Sivaraksa (2005) The only person in Thailand who can criticize the monarchy and get away with it is Sulak Sivaraksa, probably because he is a royalist. A disciple of Buddhasasa, Sulak has made manifest Buddhasasa’s wish to build an enlightened lay Buddhist culture in Thailand. This book is more of a talkative, informal expose of Sulak’s thinking with interviews & eulogies of important Thai people. He is a big proponent of living the simple Buddhist virtues and including all types of Thais from various backgrounds in the national discourse. Buddhadasa by Peter Jackson (2003) Buddhadasa was an extraordinary Thai monk of the 20th century and Peter Jackson breaks down very complex ideas into a very readable book. Buddhadasa was equally at home as an ascetic or scholar and independently took on centuries of traditional Therevada religious practice and profoundly anti-clerical. One of my top three books about Thailand along with Batson’s End of Absolute Monarchy and Thak’s book about Sarit. The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia by Donald Swearer Siam Mapped by Thongchai Winichakul
Thai LiteratureLetters from Thailand by Botan An honest portrayal of the the Chinese immigrant experience in Thailand. A Lioness in Bloom by Susan Fulop Kepner Kepner gives us a collection of short stories and excerpts from novels with portrayals of Thai women from all walks of life. Her commentary on the significance of each story and her introduction where she provides the reader with the cultural context for these stories is especially interesting. She closes with a scathing critique of how Thai women are exploited in Thailand. A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee The Politician and Other Stories by Khamsing Srinawk The Four Reigns by Kukrit Promoj *Those Kind of People (1950) by Siburapha (ศรีบูรพา) via Thai101 *Thai Poetry Translation (Review) (1977) by Chand Chirayu Rajani
Thai Literature: Criticism*The Later Short Stories of Siburapha by David A. Smyth *Kulab Saipradit and the War of Life (1981) by Benjamin Batson *Literature for Life (2011) by Thanapol Limapichart *Hindu Brahma in Thai Literature (1981) by Maneepin Phromsuthirak *The Poetics of the Ramakian (1984) by Theodora Helene Bofman *Three Worlds According to King Ruang (trans 1982)
Thai Monarchy*Thailand: The Soteriological State in the 1970’s by Kristine Gray (1986) Took real discipline to get through this very dense dissertation reading it as a digital document. A real shame that Gray doesn’t get the respect she deserves. A publisher refused to publish it after it was reviewed by a Thai reader who evidently had a heart attack absorbing its thesis. Gray discusses a lot in her work completed in 1986. She explores the monarchy, capital, and religious ritual. I contacted her and suggested she try getting an adapted version of this dissertation. As it stands she’s preoccupied with other things in her life now unfortunately. *Contested Nationalism and the 1932 Overthrow of the Absolute Monarchy in Siam (1993) (dissertation) by Matthew Copeland Copeland’s dissertation examines the discursive public space of the sixth and seventh reigns showing how many critical voices were allowed to be heard. He looks at a lot of political cartoons and newspaper and journal editorials. It’s a shame we don’t see this kind of discussion currently in Thailand. *Legend of King Rama VII 2010 by Federico Ferarra *The Monarchy and Democratization (1997) by Kevin Hewison *The Monarchy and Thai-Style Democracy (2011) by Michael Connors *The King Never Smiles (2006) by Paul Handley *The Devil’s Discuss (1964) by Rayne Kruger *8 Point Reform Plan for Thai Monarchy by Somsak Jeamteerasakul (2011) *Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul’s lese majeste court case (2009) *The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870) by Anna Leonowens *King Prajahidpok and the Apple Cart (1976) by Nicholas Tarling *The Old Siamese Conception of the Monarchy (1941) by Prince Dahni *Network Monarchy and Legitimacy Crises in Thailand (2005) by Duncan McCargo *The Future of the Monarchy in Thailand (2013) by David Streckfuss *A Book, the King and the 2006 Coup by Kevin Hewison *Citizen King (2007) (Chapter from Democracy and National Identity in Thailand) by Michael Connors *Royal Words and Their Unroyal Consequences by Christine E. Gray (1992) *Siamese State Ceremonies by HQ Wales (1931) *1932 Announcement of the People’s Party *The Formation of the Absolute Monarchy in Siam: An Analysis of its Intellectual Aspects(1993) by Attachak Sattayanurak
Thai Politics, History, Culture*Resisting globalization: a study of localism in Thailand (2000) by Kevin Hewison *Constitutions, Regimes, and Power in Thailand (2007) by Kevin Hewison *“Thai Style Democracy”: A Conservative Struggle for Thailand’s Politics (2009) by Kevin Hewison *Siamese Memoirs. The Life & Times of Pimsai Svasti (2011) (review) by Kevin Hewison *Turkey and Thailand: Unlikely Twins (2012) by Duncan McCargo & Ayse Zarakol *Political Economy Dimension of Middle Income Trap Thailand by Pasuk Pongpaichit & Pornthep Benyapaikun (2013) *Republicanism in Thai History by Patrick Jory 2014 *The Thai Left Wing in Historical Context (1975) by Thadeus Flood *Reinventing Siam: Ideas and Culture in Thailand, 1920-1944 (2013) by Arjun Subrahmanyan *Thailand and the Good Coup by Michael Connors & Kevin Hewison *Toppling Democracy by Thongchai Winichakul *A Different Coup d’Etat? by Ukrist Pathmanand *Article of faith: The Failure of Royal Liberalism in Thailand by Michael Connors *The Crown Property Bureau in Thailand and the Crisis of 1997 by Porphant Ouyyanont *Myth, Legend, and History in the Northern Thai Chronicles (1974) by Donal Swearer *Modernity in a Northeastern Thai Village (2010) (MA thesis) by Waranya Pimsri *Transexual Beauty Contests in Thailand (2007) (MA thesis) by Wong Ying Wuen *Studies of the Thai State (1979) by Benedict Anderson *Imagining Ayutthaya (2004) by Kunakorn Vanichviroon *Withdrawal Symptoms (1977) by Benedict Anderson The Thai Radical Discourse: The Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today by Craig Reynolds (1987) *Reinventing Siam: 1920-1944 (2013) by Arjun Subrahmanyan (dissertation) *A Coup for the Rich by Giles Ji Ungpakorn (2007) *Thai Political Institutions (2014) (public talk) by Sulak Sivaraksa *History of the Thai Revolution (1962 dissertation) published (1972) by Thawatt Mokarapong *1997 Thai Constitution *2015 Provisional Thai Junta Constitution *Culture & Power in Traditional Siamese Government (2001) by Neil A. Englehart *Kulap in Oz (1995) translation of Kulab Saipradit’s post WWII writings in Australia by Scot Barme. *Luang Wichit Wathakan & The Creation of a Thai Identity (1993) by Scot Barme *Pridi Banomyong & the Making of Thai History (1979) by Dr. Vichitvong Na Pombhejara *Pridi by Pridi: Selected Writings on Life, Politics, & Economy (2000) by Pridi Banomyong translated by Chris Baker & Pasuk Phongpaichit *Violence and the Military Coup in Thailand (1977) by Puey Ungphakorn
Thaksin*Thailand Under Thaksin (2004) by Pasuk Phongpaichit *Thaksin Shinawatra’s 1979 PhD Dissertation on criminal justice attitudes (via Bangkok Pundit/Asia Correspondent (2010)) *Thaksin’s Populism by Pasuk Pongpaichit and Chris Baker *The Thai Rak Thai Party and Elections in Northeastern Thailand by Somchai Phatarathananunth *Welcome to Thaksin Inc! (2004) by Kevin Hewison (review of Baker & Phongpaichit’s Thaksin: The Business of Politics in Thailand) *The 2006 Anti-Thaksin Movement in Thailand by Oliver Pye and Wolfram Schaffar
Buddhism*Five Precepts and Ritual in Rural Thailand (1972) by BJ Terwiel *The Holy Mans Rebellion (1967) by John Murdoch *Tug of War for Merit (1975) by Charles Keyes *Buddhism as a language of images, transtextuality as a language of power by Christine Gray (1995) *Merit & Power in the Thai Social Context (1962) by Lucien Hanks *Understanding Thai-Style Buddhism (2014) (public talk) by Sivaraksa
Thai Independent Film, Thai Theater, Thai Music
*Lukthung Music (2011) by James Mitchell
*The Development of Thai Theater (1981) byMattanai Majdara Rutnin
*Likay-Akaoni: Encounter and Exchange of Intercultural Performance by Sukanya Sompiboon
*Love Letter to Khon graab maa/My Teacher Eats Biscuits by Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn (2009)
*Adaptation of Traditional Thai Plays in a Contemporary Context by Sawita Diteeyont (2012)
*Kamron Gunatilaka and the Crescent Moon Theatre: Contemporary Thai Theatre as Political Dissent by Parichat Jungwiwattanaporn (2010) (PhD Dissertation
*Dramatic Achievement of King Rama VI (1975) by Pin Malakul
International RelationsThe World on Fire, by Amy Chua Globalization, democracy, and the backlash against market dominant minorities.*
Necessary Illusions, by Noam Chomsky (1989) Based on the Massey Lectures, delivered in Canada in November 1988, Necessary Illusions argues that, far from performing a watchdog role, the “free press” serves the needs of those in power.
*What Uncle Sam Wants by Noam Chomsky (1986-1991)