A BOOK REVIEW - "THE REVOLUTIONARY KING"


Letters To The Editor
International Herald Tribune
iht@iht.com
Attention: Robert J. Donahue

Dear Sir:

It would appear your reviewer, Philip Bowring, misses the basic premise of Mr. William Stevenson's new book "The Revolutionary King". For too long Thailand has had a "history" manipulated by foreign and domestic powers which made many of the "known facts", dates of events, as they were alleged to have happened, and supposed relationships suspect, to say the least. These were delved into with the subject of this book and senior officials over a five year period. I saw it myself.

As far as "unsourced statements" go, the danger to those who would even venture an opinion on many of these issues is all too apparent to those with long experience in the Asian arena. Mr. Stevenson's access to the deeply loved subject of this work is undeniable. It would seem your reviewer has the same problem many in the Thai political and military elite have with this work. It punches giant holes in the creative myths which have been generated over the decades by Thai, Japanese, American and British intelligence services. Mr. Bowring seems to continue to cling to these self-serving myths as "history" or "known facts". They are neither, and that was the reason for the King and William Stevenson to embark on this endeavor.

The myths and downright lies continue to this day and have led certain political entities in Thailand to quietly ban this book from the country. What Mr. Bowring misses in his analysis is a very simple thing; It is not inaccuracy which keeps the Thai people from hearing the words of their beloved King. It is the simple truth of what is being said in it's pages. "Gushes along"? When one reads the absolute fantasy of European accounts of former monarchs on that continent, one wonders where this "gushing" all started. The facts made public in this book were dangerous to the subject and the author. The mere banning of this book was the least of these two individual's worries upon embarking on this endeavor. What your reviewer truly misses is that the comparison to "The King and I" is meant to show a blowing apart of the myths which have surrounded the Thai Monarchy and the country as a whole. Your reviewer seems as trapped by these as those Thais who continue to vent their indignation at anyone, even the esteemed subject of this book, who would blow the absolute lies of the past and bare the true facts to honest study. After all, this is a country whose people and scholars continue to believe they were on the winning side in World War II. The King was, but many involved in the banning of this book were not.


Copyright 2000, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

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