The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2006 - Religion - 499 pages
22 Reviews
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. This book tells the unexpected story of his life and 60-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, autocratic, and even brutal. Paul Handley provides an extensively researched, factual account of the king's youth and personal development, ascent to the throne, skilful political maneuverings, and attempt to shape Thailand as a Buddhist kingdom. Blasting apart the widely accepted image of the king as egalitarian and virtuous, Handley convincingly 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 after the still-unsolved shooting of his brother, the Thai monarchy had been stripped of power and prestige. Over the ensuing decades, Bhumibol became the paramount political actor in the kingdom, crushing critics while attaining high status among his people. The book details this process and depicts Thailand's unique constitutional monarch in the full light of the facts.
  

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

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

Interesting reading about a topic I knew next to nothing about. I understand current Thai politics and culture much better now than before I started. The book would definitely benefit from maps ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Kyle Hafar - Goodreads

Highly critical of the current monarch and his family. This would be very unpleasant reading if you subscribe to the whole mythology/personality cult which has been built up over decades. While it ... Read full review

All 7 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

1 A Dhammaraja from America
12
2 From Pure Blood to Dynastic Failure
26
Revolution and Exile
44
4 Restoration to Regicide
64
5 Revenge of the Monarchists194649
80
6 Romance in Lausanne Bhumibol Prepares to Reign
100
7 The Cold War 195257
114
8 Field Marshal Sarit The Palace Finds Its Strongman
139
14 Whos the Enemy?
257
15 In the Kings Image
276
16 Family Headaches
299
17 Another Coup for the Throne
328
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 Bhumibols New Theory
407

9 Bhumibol in the 1960s A Dhammarajos Brilliance Unfolds
156
10 Going to War
180
11 Reborn Democrat?
194
12 Royal Vigilantism and Massacre197476
214
13 What Went Wrong Cosmic Panic Buisness Failure Midcareer Crisis
238
22 Going into Seclusion Can the Monarch Survive Bhumibol?
427
Notes
451
Index m
477
Copyright

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