The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej

The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej

2.4 7
by Paul M. Handley
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0300106823

ISBN-13: 9780300106824

Pub. Date: 08/07/2006

Publisher: Yale University Press

Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, the only king ever born in the United States, came to the throne of his country in 1946 and is now the world’s longest-serving monarch. The King Never Smiles, the first independent biography of Thailand's monarch, tells the unexpected story of Bhumibol's life and sixty-year rule—how a Western-raised

Overview

Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, the only king ever born in the United States, came to the throne of his country in 1946 and is now the world’s longest-serving monarch. The King Never Smiles, the first independent biography of Thailand's monarch, tells the unexpected story of Bhumibol's life and sixty-year rule—how a Western-raised boy came to be seen by his people as a living Buddha, and how a king widely seen as beneficent and apolitical could in fact be so deeply political and autocratic.
Paul Handley provides an extensively researched, factual account of the king’s youth and personal development, ascent to the throne, skillful political maneuverings, and attempt to shape Thailand as a Buddhist kingdom. Handley takes full note of Bhumibol's achievements in art, in sports and jazz, and he credits the king's lifelong dedication to rural development and the livelihoods of his poorest subjects. But, looking beyond the widely accepted image of the king as egalitarian and virtuous, Handley portrays an anti-democratic monarch who, together with allies in big business and the corrupt Thai military, has protected a centuries-old, barely modified feudal dynasty.
When at nineteen Bhumibol assumed the throne, the Thai monarchy had been stripped of power and prestige. Over the ensuing decades, Bhumibol became the paramount political actor in the kingdom, silencing critics while winning the hearts and minds of his people. The book details this process and depicts Thailand’s unique constitutional monarch—his life, his thinking, and his ruling philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300106824
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
08/07/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
219,760
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................ix
Introduction....................1
1 A Dhammaraja from America....................12
2 From Pure Blood to Dynastic Failure....................26
3 1932: Revolution and Exile....................44
4 Restoration to Regicide....................64
5 Revenge of the Monarchists, 1946-49....................80
6 Romance in Lausanne: Bhumibol Prepares to Reign....................100
7 The Cold War, 1952-57....................114
8 Field Marshal Sarit: The Palace Finds Its Strongman....................139
9 Bhumibol in the 1960s: A Dhammaraja's Brilliance Unfolds....................156
10 Going to War....................180
11 Reborn Democrat?....................194
12 Royal Vigilantism and Massacre, 1974-76....................214
13 What Went Wrong: Cosmic Panic, Business Failure, Midcareer Crisis....................238
14 Who's the Enemy?....................257
15 In the King's Image: The Perfect General Prem....................276
16 Family Headaches....................299
17 Another Coup for the Throne....................328
18 May 1992: October 1976 Redux....................346
19 Sanctifying Royalty and Stonewalling Democracy in the 1990s....................363
20 Another Family Annus Horribilis....................394
21 The Economic Crash and Bhumibol's New Theory....................407
22 Going into Seclusion: Can the Monarchy Survive Bhumibol?....................427
Notes....................451
Index....................477

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King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent piece of research journalism on a 'taboo' topic. I live in Thailand and most people have no access to unbiased news of their king. This work lifts the veil and it is gripping.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If the king is so wonderful, why is this book banned in Thailand? Why did he support the military coup in 2006? Why is the Thai government afraid to let people make up their own minds?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me, this book served as an excellent introduction to Thailand's recent history and political climate while I was preparing for my expatriation to the country. It is not always easy to discern what is exactly going on in a country that is not your home, especially in cases where the local language is so far from your own native one. While I cannot authenticate the contents of the book, it did prepare me to consider what could be happening all around me. Do all 63 million Thais love their king? With lèse majesté laws that is difficult to know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The content is fascinating but the text is small and does not increase in size no matter what size you attempt to assign it with Nook controls. The publisher should be embarrassed and B&N should do a better job of ensuring product format quality. Unacceptable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Danita Medina More than 1 year ago
No Thai will buy this book in Thailand because everyone love their king and know how hard he work fir the country. One of the greatest king of all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book's title tells how bias the whole book is. The truth is there are thousands of photos with the smiley king, but the author chose the one that he is sitting on the throne in a very formal ceremony. I can't believe he lived in Thailand for many years and never learned or researched the Thai cultures that in a formal event everybody ,whether you are king or not, is supposed to remain calm and unemotional as they consider good manners. The book is very insensitive by using Western culture to judge Thai people. I hate this book because it is so obvious that it is very money-driven by trying to defame the king with wrong accusation. Thailand is a free country. It's not true that people have no access to unbias news about their king. Every single Thai people loves the king for his dedication to develop their country. You will never find even one Thai person in this world who dislike his/her king, because they all know that King Rama IX is a kind leader who lead the country to be better everyday. He is one of the few kings in Thailand's history who was given an honor to be 'the Great'. The book is an insult. Its qualities equal to dirty gossip on tabloid magazines about royal families. Please don't be fooled by this book. Use your own judgement and don't waste your time and money on this book.