Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Books on the History of Thailand

This is a selection of titles on the history of Thailand:

A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region by Colin Robert Mackay. This is the first book to comprehensively examine the little-known history of Phuket and its surrounding region. The well-researched epic begins with the arrival of the first humans and goes on to cover: the influence of early Negro, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab, Greek settlers and visitors; Phuket's important position on the ancient east west maritime trade route; the rise and fall of mysterious early kingdoms and empires; the coming of Islam and Thai regional dominance; the social history and the scourge of piracy; swashbuckling attempts by Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, French, and British adventurers to control Phuket in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; the destruction of the 18th and 19th century Burmese wars; the tin mining boom; mass Chinese immigration and their rise to regional power; European colonial pressure and why Phuket was never colonized; the birth of Thailand; Japan's WWII invasion, local resistance battles and the eventual Allied conquest of Phuket; and Phuket's post-war transformation into a booming jet-set destination. With over 100 maps, pictures and photographs.

Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand: Essays on the History and Historiography of Patani edited by Patrick Jory, Patrick. At the heart of the on-going armed conflict in southern Thailand is a fundamental disagreement about the history of relations between the Patani Malays and the Thai kingdom. While the Thai royalist-nationalist version of history regards Patani as part of that kingdom "since time immemorial," Patani Malay nationalists look back to a golden age when the Sultanate of Patani was an independent, prosperous trading state and a renowned center for Islamic education and scholarship in Southeast Asia - a time before it was defeated, broken up, and fell under the control of the Thai state. The essays in this book demonstrate that an understanding of the conflict must take into account the historical dimensions of relations between Patani and the Thai kingdom, and the ongoing influence of these perceptions on Thai state officials, militants, and the local population.

Early Thailand: From Prehistory to Sukhothai by Charles Higham and Rachanie Thosarat. Dramatic new archaeological discoveries over the past ten years demand a new look at Thailand's past. Drawing on their previous work, Prehistoric Thailand, this substantially updated book covers the history of the Kingdom from the first human settlement to the earliest civilisations and gives a fresh appraisal of the early hunters and gatherers, and of the origins of the first rice farmers. A new chronology reveals the dynamic social changes that came with the Bronze Age, and the rapid advance to the foundation of early states that followed. The outstanding art of the Bronze Age, as seen in painted ceramic vessels a thousand years earlier than those from Ban Chiang is portrayed, as is the wealth of Iron Age chiefs who contributed so much to the foundation of the Kingdoms of Angkor and Dvaravati. In the far south, we find early cities founded along the Southern Silk Road, bringing exotic ideas and goods through seaborne trade. Most of all, the authors present the rich cultural heritage of the Thai people.

Siam and the League Of Nations: Modernisation, Sovereignty and Multilateral Diplomacy, 1920-1940 by Stefan Hell. Based on doctoral study, this is an in-depth account of Siam's participation in the League of Nations 1920-40, when it was the only Southeast Asian member of the League. Chapters consider: the background in Siam's policies of development and modernisation; the country's aims in joining the League; Siam's participation in the League's policies on opium control; on public health; on human trafficking; and on collective security. The conclusion explores long-term impacts on the country of the international and other roles played during the period of the League's existence. With appended chronology, lists of delegates, financial contributions, and ratifications, name glossary, bibliography, index and archival photographs.

The Ambiguous Allure of the West: Traces of the Colonial in Thailand edited by Rachel Harrison and Peter Jackson. Much collaborative post-colonial scholarship including the 2004 Cornell International Workshop has gone into the making of this symposium of eight specialists essays which explore Western involvement in Thailand's recent history and Thai perceptions of this history. Contemporary theories and analyses are applied to Thailand's power structures, film and media identities, intellectual struggles, political development, and quasi-colonial influences. Bibliography and index.

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