A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailands Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

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A Kingdom in Crisis

He also ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book. The order was published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday.


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The book is not the first to be banned after being deemed critical of the royals. Mr Marshall was not immediately available for comment.

Kundrecensioner

Great for publicity! In simple terms, the core myth is that the king is a unifying, integrating and benevolent force in Thai society.

It certainly is a myth-busting tour-de-force showing how Thai kings, and the elites that surround them, have regularly generated political crises, which also reflect competition between narrow sectional interests. However, whether or not the book will achieve its myth-busting objective is hard to tell. By contrast, those who subscribe to the royal mythology will probably be confirmed in their view that unsympathetic Westerners like MacGregor Marshall are determined to slander the royal institution.

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Given the centrality, and boldness, of this claim, MacGregor Marshall has surprisingly little to say about it. MacGregor Marshall starts this section by categorically rejecting the conventional wisdom that Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn will take the throne following the passing of his father. So what are the secrets that are revealed in these central chapters? From my reading there are three.

A Kingdom in Crisis : Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

First, that going back centuries, royal succession in Southeast This seems to me a highly unlikely scenario, given the intensity of popular struggle against elitist forms of rule, and the intransigence of Thai elites in trying to maintain them. Perhaps Marshall can be excused for not having written such acts of deep repression into his analysis, or for drawing the conclusion that such acts make near-term reconciliation seem hopeless.

Yet an analysis of the popular struggle in Thailand—rather than just the intra-elite succession struggle—might have already commended such an interpretation, independently of the coup. Strangely, the book lacks any analysis of the Yellow Shirt airport blockades, which also attest to the intransigence of elite forces and might have warned against any hopes for short-term reconciliation.

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It will certainly find its place on the bookshelves of Thai democracy activists—provided they do not live in Thailand. Pacific Affairs. Book Reviews , Southeast Asia.

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