A History of Thailand offers a lively and accessible account of Thailand's political, economic, social and cultural history. This book explores how a world of mandarin nobles and unfree peasants was transformed and examines how the monarchy managed the foundation of a new nation-state at the turn of the twentieth century. The authors capture the clashes between various groups in their attempts to take control of the nation-state in the twentieth century. They track Thailand's economic changes through an economic boom, globalisation and the evolution of mass society. This edition sheds light on Thailand's recent political, social and economic developments, covering the coup of 2006, the violent street politics of May 2010, and the landmark election of 2011 and its aftermath. It shows how in Thailand today, the monarchy, the military, business and new mass movements are players in a complex conflict over the nature and future of the country's democracy.
Covering the past three centuries of Thai history, this book reveals how a landscape of sparsely populated forest and jungle was transformed into villages and paddy fields, with a rural society of smallholder peasants and an urban society populated mainly by migrants from southern China. It demonstrates how throughout the twentieth century, Thailand has been drawn into the international system, the American camp in the Cold War, the economic gambit of rising Japan, and more recently, the forces of globalization. The authors also survey the country's transformation accompanying massive social evolution over recent decades. (Control of the nation state is still contested between forces with a patriarchal belief in change from above, and advocates of democracy and liberal values.)
Chris Baker has taught Asian history at the University of Cambridge and has lived in Thailand for over thirty years. He is now an independent writer, researcher and translator.
Pasuk Phongpaichit is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. She has written widely in Thai and English on the Thai economy, sex industry, corruption, illegal economy and inequality.