First appearing in 2005 and quickly selling out, this fully revised edition of Thailand’s Political History continues in the same style as the first but with its scope dramatically widened. While the first edition began with a portrait of late Ayutthayan society, the new edition steps back to the thirteenth century, tackling some of the most topical and pressing historical debates at present. It discusses the development and evolution of the Siamese state from the early Sukhothai period through the fall of Ayutthaya to the rise of the Chakri dynasty in the late eighteenth century and its consolidation of power in the nineteenth. Moving into the twentieth century it traces the emergence of the Thai nation state, the large-scale investments in modern infrastructure and the concomitant economic expansion that have occurred since the 1950s onwards.
A new final chapter brings the reader up-to-date and addresses Thailand’s current political situation spanning the rise and fall of Thaksin Shinawatra to the divisive and at times violent polarisation of Thai society. It traces the emergence of the rival Yellow and Red shirt protest groups, the takeover of Suvarnabhumi International Airport by the PAD and the occupation of Ratchaprasong intersection by the UDD and their eventual violent dispersal by the Thai military.
Often at variance with the more dominant interpretations of nationalistic history and with a strong reliance upon primary sources, Barend J. Terwiel’s Thailand’s Political History makes a refreshing assessment of past events possible.