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Book by Pramoj Kukrit
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Kukrit, famous as a journalist, wit, connoisseur of the arts, and, for much of his life, a politician, and once the prime minister. . . is also a world-class writer, equipped with imagination, humor, narrative skill, and keen understanding of human nature. * The New York Review of Books *Reseña del editor:
M.R. Kukrit Pramoj (1911-1995) was a phenomenon. He achieved distinction in the fields of politics, classical dance drama, and literature, while also even appearing in the Hollywood version of The Ugly American playing opposite Marlon Brando.
Many Lives (Lai Chiwit) depicts the traditional Thai way of life already fast vanishing in the fifties. His longest book, Four Reigns (Si Phaen Din), reworks this motif in a wider setting. Unfolding from the closing years of the last century through till the mid-1940s, it begins by interweaving scenes from the lives of minor courtiers under the absolute monarchy of the day and their relationships through their extended families with the wider society beyond the palace walls. It develops this theme by following the same characters, the dynamics of their marriages and the upbringing of their children, carrying us on down through the decades of ever-changing social and political conditions in Bangkok, showing people striving to cope with the impingement of the international geopolitical struggles of the day on their own formerly more self-enclosed economy and culture.
At the beginning, these are distant rumbles, the First World War, followed by the political turmoil of the 20s in Europe are largely seen "in a distant mirror". But not for much longer; the impact of the Depression is a contributory factor to the 1932 Revolution, with the overthrow of absolute monarchy, and the subsequent introduction of constitutional monarchy - soon followed by the outbreak of the Second World War, the Japanese ultimatum backed by threat of invasion, and later Allied bombing raids on Bangkok.
Anyone interested in Thailand will find this new and improved translation a charming yet intriguing revelation of the evolution of Thai social mores within a domestic setting over five decades.
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