แต่นักอ่านบางท่านอาจจะอยากอ่านบทวิจารณ์ที่นสพ. Asian Wall St Journal ไปเชิญผู้แต่ง The Revolutionary King มาวิจารณ์หนังสือเล่มนี้น่ะนะคะ แหม...ตัวเองอ่านแล้วก็ชอบอกชอบใจ เพราะแค่พาดหัวก็แอบสะใจแล้วค่ะ อีตาฝรั่งคนนี้แกเถียงแทนคนไทยว่าไงทราบไหมคะ
Synopsis Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej, the only king ever born in the United States, came to the throne of his country in 1946 and is now the world's longest-serving monarch. This book tells the unexpected story of his life and 60-year rule: how a Western-raised boy came to be seen by his people as a living Buddha; and how a king widely seen as beneficent and apolitical could in fact be so deeply political, autocratic, and even brutal. Paul Handley provides an extensively researched, factual account of the king's youth and personal development, ascent to the throne, skilful political maneuverings, and attempt to shape Thailand as a Buddhist kingdom. Blasting apart the widely accepted image of the king as egalitarian and virtuous, Handley convincingly portrays an anti-democratic monarch who, together with allies in big business and the corrupt Thai military, has protected a centuries-old, barely-modified feudal dynasty. When at nineteen Bhumibol assumed the throne after the still-unsolved shooting of his brother, the Thai monarchy had been stripped of power and prestige. Over the ensuing decades, Bhumibol became the paramount political actor in the kingdom, crushing critics while attaining high status among his people. The book details this process and depicts Thailand's unique constitutional monarch in the full light of the facts.
หลายปีก่อนเคยซื้อ The Revolutionary King มาจะอ่านเหมือนกัน หาในเมืองไทยแล้วแต่ไม่มี เพิ่งมารู้ว่าโดนแบน แต่มีอันต้องยกเล่มนี้ให้เพื่อนไป เล่มนี้อยากทราบรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติมหน่อยครับ อยากรู้ไว้แบบรู้เขารู้เราน่ะ
ผิดตรงไหนบ้าง? ก็แค่ประเด็นที่อีตาคนที่แต่ง The Revolutionary King ยกมาเป็นฉาก ๆ ใน Book Review ที่บอกว่าอยู่ใน Asian Wall St Journal ฉบับประมาณวันที่ ๒๔ มิ.ย. นี่ก็เยอะไปหมดแล้วล่ะค่ะ ตัวเองจำไม่ได้เพราะไม่ได้นึกว่าจะต้องยกมาเขียนอธิบายให้คนไทยที่ไหนฟัง ลองไปค้นดูเองก็แล้วกันนะคะ
คือประมาทไปหน่อยน่ะค่ะ ที่ took it for granted ว่า นี่คือ สิ่งที่คนไทยทุกคนน่าจะรู้อยู่แล้วว่ามันไม่ใช่ตามนั้น
เคยซื้อ The Revolutionary King มาอ่าน รู้สึกไม่มีสาระอะไรใดๆ คุ้มค่าแก่เวลาและเงินที่เสียไปเลย(ในความรู้สึกส่วนตัว) ตอนนี้กำลังคิดว่าเล่มนี้จะมีอะไรเพียงพอให้เสียตังค์ซื้อหรือเปล่า ถ้าเป็นอะไรที่รู้กันอยู่ทั่วไปก็ไม่อยากอ่านเท่าไหร่ ใครอ่านแล้วชี้แนะหน่อยสิ
Thais dislike seeing in print careless references to their king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the reigning Ninth Rama of the Chakri dynasty. The king is venerated as a guardian of ancient traditions that are believed to have saved the Thai people from imperialists, communists and neocolonialists. They will disapprove of Paul Handley's gossipy, unfair account of this apotheosized man, the world's longest-reigning monarch.
Mr. Handley casts the king as an enemy of democracy who, to solidify his once-shaky authority, allied himself with scheming generals and crooked politicians. None of this can be supported by the facts. The author suggests a good deal but shrouds too many of his sources under that useful word: "confidential."
King Bhumibol, American-born and educated in Europe, was hurried on to the throne at the age of 19, after his elder brother Ananda was shot dead in the Grand Palace in 1946. The brothers had returned to Bangkok from their student days in Lausanne, where they planned to make Thailand a model of self-sustaining progress. King Bhumibol has clung to these youthful ideals. If many Thais do not recognize Mr. Handley's portrayal of him in "The King Never Smiles," it is because they have seen him kneel and smile for decades among villagers as he discusses land reform, hydroelectric dams and the replacement of opium with other crops.
When he ascended the throne at the start of the Cold War, the teenage king inherited the puzzle of how his kingdom could survive in a neighborhood marked by communist revolutions, Western anti-communist activity, and European decolonization. King Bhumibol's resolve to unite the country around pride in its own traditions made it possible for Thailand to endure through decades of turbulence.
As Mr. Handley writes, the king partly strengthened his authority through the revival of ancient rituals. I once observed a modern minister of agriculture, wearing a conical wizardly hat, preside over a harvest festival during which barefoot ladies of the court followed oxen whose choice of which of three buckets to drink from would forecast the bounty of next year's harvest. After the king left the palace grounds following this festival, some farmers scrambled to collect some of the sacred soil left behind.
King Bhumibol is Thailand's ultimate survivor. Less careful royals might have seen the entire Thai monarchy collapse long before they were able to celebrate their 60th anniversary on the throne, as the king did this month. Did he survive more through the projection of his own semi-mystical aura, or through cold political savvy? Mr. Handley seems unsure of the exact basis of the Thai monarch's power, but the answer is a mixture of both. King Bhumibol has always negotiated a balance between the formal limits of his political power and unlimited impact of his informal, spiritual power.
By 1973, after a series of military coups, the king confronted a group of power-hungry generals. Threatened by these generals, some 200,000 students gathered around the Chitralada Palace. The king allowed the students to take refuge. In an effort to defuse the situation, he ordered the soldiers and police protecting the palace to disarm. Ultra-rightwing elements, meanwhile, were shooting allegedly communist students in untold numbers, and high-ranking royals risked their lives to go through the streets to help the wounded and comfort the dying. Student leaders came out of talks with the king to say that he had spoken to them like the Buddha. Mr. Handley omits this demonstration of the royal family's moral courage, but it is deeply embedded in the memories of loyal Thais.
In 1992, King Bhumibol used his moral strength to defuse another crisis caused by Thailand's grasping military supremos. General Suchinda Krayprayoon, the supreme commander at the time, was challenged by General Chamlong Srimaung. To avoid civil war, the king called in both generals and asked in the manner of a monk: "What is the point of feeling proud to be the winner on top of piles of debris that once constituted the country we have spent so long building up?" The scene was televised and the world saw an unarmed king subduing men with the physical power to destroy him. A civilian government took over.
While Mr. Handley skims the many examples of the king's lonely courage, he seems to recognize the power of Thai traditions like the monarchy. In a patronizing finale, he concludes that the throne must, "maintain its reputation for generosity and wisdom in a way that secular government cannot. The throne can remain a moral leader." This reads like a grudging admission that the king did succeed in balancing his and his dead brother's idealism against political pressures.
However, Mr. Handley focuses more upon the king's allegedly Machiavellian virtues than his spiritual ones. He writes, "Bhumibol's restoration of the power and prestige of the throne was. . . the fruit of a plodding, determined, and sometimes ruthless effort by diehard princes to reclaim their birthright, [and] Bhumibol's unquestioning commitment to the restoration under their tutelage."
My view, after six years of access to the king from 1989-95, is that he exercises spiritual influence by being seen as a stern, self-disciplined man who is on a path to Buddhist enlightenment. He commingles with villagers and oversees royal projects that meet their practical needs.
Mr. Handley has largely turned King Bhumibol's story into a political screed to suit the prejudices of those with a stake in sidelining the monarch. In a clumsy attempt to give an impression of fair play, the author concedes at the end that perhaps the throne, above and beyond its present occupant, can serve the welfare of Thais. It obviously can, especially if the current king is granted more time to demonstrate the unifying power of spiritual values.
Mr. Stevenson is the author of "The Revolutionary King: The True-Life Sequel to The King and I" (Constable & Robinson, 2001).
อันนี้ Handley เขียนถึง Stevenson ในหนังสือ The King Never Smiles หน้า 437-439
"Ten years earlier, Bhumibol had invited William Stevenson, the author of the original Intrepid, to write the book. Stevenson lodged in the princess mother's Srapathum Palace and was provided research support and unprecedented interviews with court staff and the king himself ... The result was a book that presents Bhumibol as truly inviolate, magical, and godly ... the book is chock-full of the standard Ninth Reign mythology, matching the view of the palace and royal family projected in Thai publications .... When it came out, the book proved a misadventure. Stevenson was liberal with style and careless with facts to the point of embarassing the palace. His errors were legion. The book opened with a map that showed Thailand in possession of significant portions of Laos and Burma, and put the king's Hua Hin palace 300 kilometers and a sea away from where it should be. It ended with a genealogical chart naming Rama VII as the son of his brother Rama VI ... (But) Thousands of copies circulated in Thailand, and the general reaction was to castigate the author's failings while not questioning the essence of his story, the magical and sacral monarchy of Bhumibol Adulyadej."