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A Kingdom in Crisis


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Telling the Truth About Thailand
  • Part I: Royalty Versus Reality
    • 1. 'When the Legends Die, All Collapses' - Thailand's political awakening
    • 2. 'In a Never-Never Land, Never Mind' - Welcome to the Land of Smiles
    • 3. 'Cosmological Bluster' - The Dramatics of Despotism
  • Part II: Thai-Style Democracy and its Discontents
    • 4. 'Our Country Belongs to the People - Not to the King': Thailand's Unfinished Revolution
    • 5. 'I Really am an Elected King' - The Royalist Revival
    • 6. 'There is Magic, Goodness and Power in His Heart' - The Deification of Rama IX
  • Part III: The Secrets of Succession
    • 7. 'Endless Struggles for the Throne' - The Causes of Chronic Palace Conflict
    • 8. 'One Neither Walks, Speaks, Drinks, Eats, Nor Cooks Without Some Kind of Ceremony' - The Pleasures and Privations of Being King
    • 9. 'I Cannot Afford to Die' - The Tragedy of King Bhumibol
  • Part IV: Crisis and Confrontation
    • 10. 'Living in Horrifying Times' - Twilight of the Oligarchy
    • 11. 'Coupmakers' Haunted Dreams' - Escalation and Enlightenment
    • 12. 'Returning Happiness to the People' - Denying Democracy, Sabotaging Succession
  • Epilogue: 'Flip on the Lights and Flush out the Ghosts' - What the Future Holds

About the Author

Andrew MacGregor Marshall is a journalist, political risk consultant and corporate investigator, focusing mainly on Southeast Asia. He spent seventeen years as a correspondent for Reuters, covering conflicts in, among others, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and political upheaval in Thailand. Marshall resigned from Reuters 2011 after the news agency refused to publish his analysis of leaked US cables illuminating the role played by Thailand's monarchy in the political conflict that has engulfed the kingdom. A fugitive from Thai law as a result of his journalism about the royal family, he now lives in Sydney and works as head of news for Greenpeace Australia.


'Given the relative paucity of accessible and critical English-language writing about the Thai monarchy, and the risks that such writing entails, A Kingdom in Crisis should be considered a significant accomplishment, and Zed Books should be given credit for being willing to publish it. For the many Westerners who continue to repeat outmoded and Orientalist slogans about the Kingdom, the book should prove to be a real eye-opener-not least in its discussion of the events that led to the current king taking the throne and expanding the social and political significance of the monarchy.'
Pacific Affairs Journal'Andrew MacGregor Marshall has written perhaps the best introduction yet to the roots of Thailand's present political impasse, He explains how an aspect of the crisis whose importance many analysts in Thailand and overseas have an interest in minimising - the looming succession in the Thai royal family - is in fact central. A brilliant book that could perhaps have been written only by somebody who knows Thailand so well he knew he had to leave the country to write it.'
Simon Long, Banyan columnist, The Economist'An explosive analysis that lays bare what the Thai elite has tried to keep hidden for decades. A clear-eyed view of what is really at stake in Thailand's continuing turmoil.'
David Streckfuss, author of Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason, and Lese-Majeste

'A timely and highly readable account of the grim political reality of the Land of Smiles. An essential primer for every visitor.'
Joe Studwell, author of Asian Godfathers and How Asia Works

'Finally someone says the unsayable. A must read for observers of Thai politics.'
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, associate professor at Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

'A brilliant, incisive rewriting of Thailand's history and monarchy. An instant classic that promises to permanently change the conversation, both inside and outside the country.'
Christine Gray, anthropologist and pioneering analyst of Thailand's monarchy

'A bold and convincing argument that at the centre of Thailand's political turmoil is the succession to the throne.'
Paul Handley, journalist and author of The King Never Smiles'A Kingdom in Crisis ... engages critically with the discourse surrounding the monarchy and represents an important contribution.'
Journal of Contemporary Asia

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