A History of Thailand

In A History of Thailand, Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit reveal how a world of mandarin nobles and unfree labour evolved into a rural society of smallholder peasants and an urban society populated mainly by migrants from southern China. They trace how a Buddhist cosmography adapted to new ideas of time and space, and a traditional polity was transformed into a new nation-state under a strengthened monarchy. The authors cover the contests between urban nationalists, ambitious generals, communist rebels, business politicians, and social movements to control the nation-state and redefine its purpose. They describe the dramatic changes wrought by a booming economy, globalization, and the evolution of mass society. Finally, they show how Thailand’s path is still being contested by those who believe in change from above and those who fight for democracy and liberal values. Drawing on new Thai-language research, this second edition brings the Thai story up to date and includes a new section on the 2006 coup and the restoration of an elected government in 2008.

• Has a strong emphasis on massive social and economic changes underlying the political story • Completely updated to cover events up until 2008, including the 2006 coup and the most recent political developments • Written in a lively and accessible style and draws on a lot of research by Thai historians only available in the Thai-language


List of illustrations; Preface; Abbreviations; Glossary; Chronology; 1. Before Bangkok; 2. The old order in transition, 1760s to 1860s; 3. Reforms, 1850s to 1910s; 4. Peasants, merchants, and officials, 1870s to 1930s; 5. Nationalisms, 1910s to 1940s; 6. The American era and development, 1940s to 1960s; 7. Ideologies, 1940s to 1970s; 8. Globalization and mass society, 1970s onwards; 9. Politics, 1970s onwards; Postscript: the strong state and the well-being of the people; Notes; Reigns and prime ministers; Glossary of names; Readings; Index.