A Brief History of Thailand

Current Stock:
Tuttle Publishing
Date Published:
includes two 16-page color inserts
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
5 1/4 X 8

A Brief History of Thailand tells the vibrant story of Thailand's emergence—from its ancient beginnings to the present day.

As the only Southeast Asian nation to escape European domination, Thailand has transformed from a traditional kingdom to democratic constitutional monarchy, along the way becoming an economic powerhouse in Southeast Asian affairs and dream travel destination. Told through an accessible narrative, this book covers Thailand's dramatic history, including:
  • The true story of Anna Leonowens, the British governess hired to teach the children of King Mongkut in the early 1860s, later fictionalized in Margaret Landon's bestselling novel Anna and the King of Siam and turned into a hit Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I
  • The invasion of Thailand by the Japanese and construction of the "Bridge on the River Kwai" made famous by the Pierre Boulle novel and Oscar-winning film
  • The mysterious death of King Ananda Mahidol, murdered in his bed in 1946 and a source of controversy ever since
  • The development of Thailand into a leading tourist mecca, which began during the Vietnam War when it was used as rowdy destination for American servicemen on breaks
  • The 70-year reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-serving monarch who was born in the U.S., educated in Switzerland, loved to play the saxophone and was idolized by his people
  • The bloodless Siamese Revolution of 1932 that established the first constitutional monarchy in Asia overnight
Author and historian Richard A. Ruth also explains how Thailand became the only country in Southeast Asia to resist European domination, how Thai Buddhism has wrought profound political and social changes, how Thai cuisine has conquered the world and, more recently, how the consequences of globalization and military rule continue to reshape Thai society.

Written for anyone with an interest in history, travel or Thai culture, this latest book in the Brief History series will transport readers to faraway lands filled with fascinating stories.

About the Author:
Richard A. Ruth is a professor of Southeast Asian history in the United States. He earned a Ph.D. in history and an M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University. A former journalist and NGO field agent, he spent more than a decade working, researching, and writing in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. He is the author of In Buddha's Company: Thai Soldiers in the Vietnam War and numerous articles on Southeast Asian history.