The Revolutionary King
The extraordinary life story of Bhumibol, King of Thailand who for the last 63 years has been the monarch of one of the most troubled and exotic kingdoms of the modern world. Brought up in the west, Bhumibol acceded to the Thai throne when his brother King Ananda was assassinated and was immediately confronted, at the age of 19, with a task that was dangerous and almost unimaginably difficult. The country he barely knew was a crucible of conflicting ideas and influences. Its people regarded their king as a god and the huge royal court was medieval in its protocol and intrigues; at the same time the strategic importance of Thailand as a possible bulwark against communism made it increasingly the focus of Western political interest and interference. Time would only exacerbate these difficulties, as its economy was destabilised by a torrent of US dollars, as the old opium trade became the new heroin traffic, and as sex tourism became a desperate occupation of its poor.
King Bhumibol, the Ninth Rama of the Siamese dynasty, has fought his country’s problems in his own unique way. Making use of the latest technology to bring his people into the 21st century, he also continues to participate in the medieval ceremonies that mean so much to the country. As a devout Buddhist, he is committed to turn Thailand into the ideal Buddhist republic of equals. He has survived many attempts on his life. Over the years his moral authority – the only authority he has – has grown, at home and abroad.
Praise for the Revolutionary King.
“One of the most intimate portraits of the Thai royal family every published . . .Mr.
Stevenson’s research included six years of unprecedented close and frequent access to the Thai royal court.”
---International Herald Tribune
“William Stevenson was granted unprecedented access to the king, the queen, the king’s mother and many in the royal family and court. The result is fascinating.”