It has been some weeks since reviews of King Bhumibol Adulyadej: A Life’s Work hogged the limelight here on New Mandala. In the interest of continuing the important discussions about this book and its role in the presentation of the Thai monarchy I think it well worth pointing to today’s review by Grant Evans in the Bangkok Post. It is headlined “Keeping the spirit of the country”.
Evans concludes by arguing that:
This book will be dismissed outright as an apologia by anti-monarchists, who, it must be said, have grown rapidly in number in Thailand since the 2006 military coup. That many saw it as a “royalist” coup illustrates the monarchy’s precarious relationship with democracy. On the other hand the book’s attempt to deal evenly with the history of King Bhumibol’s reign will give little comfort to hardline royalists who wish to turn the clock back. It will, however, appeal to the large majority of Thais, and others, who as modern, educated citizens want a rational discussion not only about the country’s past, but its future as well. That the book will appear soon in Thai translation is a good sign.
For context, readers may want to consider this review by Paul Handley and the discussions that swirl around Andrew MacGregor Marshall’s mega-critique. For those who are interested the first three parts of MacGregor Marshall’s (five-part) critique are available here.