Historical Dictionary of Thailand (Historical Dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East)

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9780810878020: Historical Dictionary of Thailand (Historical Dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East)
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Throughout its history, Thailand has shown remarkable resiliency, adaptability, and creativity in responding to serious threats and crises, and this since much earlier times when it was known as Siam. This book, while focusing on the modern period, does reach back to ancient kingdoms but also shows the impressive rise to a modern democracy, although still endowed with a king, and even more impressively, an economic “tiger.” Moreover, it has become a prime tourist destination and is thus known to vast numbers of foreigners as a sort of “instant Asia.”

The Historical Dictionary of Thailand, now in its third edition, covers this amazing story in various ways. First, the chronology traces the most significant events from year to year. The introduction then provides a good overview of the land and people, the history and traditions, and where it now seems to be heading. The dictionary, which by now has hundreds of detailed and cross-referenced entries, looks more closely at important persons, places, institutions and events as well as more generally its politics, economy, society, culture and religion. So this is an excellent reference work not only for scholars but many others who have visited the country and were fascinated by it.

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About the Author:

Gerald W. Fry is distinguished international professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, College of Education and Human Development, of the University of Minnesota. Prior to this, he was at the University of Oregon for 19 years, where he was professor of political science and international studies and directed both the International Studies Program and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. His work on Thailand began in the 1960s and he has spent over 10 years living there. Among his many articles and books is Thailand and its Neighbors.

Gayla S. Nieminin studied the Thai language in Bangkok and does research and technical writing for educational agencies at the local, intermediate and state level. She co-authored the second edition.

Harold E. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Northern Illinois University. He authored the Historical and Cultural Dictionary of Thailand and then co-authored the first and second editions of the present Historical Dictionary of Thailand.

Review:

In this third edition, Fry, Nieminen, and Smith offer a comprehensive dictionary that includes an introduction to the history of Thailand's land, people, religion, and politics. Additionally, this volume provides an explanation of the Thai language and transliteration system. Also featured is an extensive chronology that begins at 40,000 BCE with the early ancestors of Southeast Asian peoples, and extends to September 17, 2012, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report of its investigation into the violence of a political crisis in 2010. Readers will find a glossary of common phonetic spellings; a list of acronyms and abbreviations used throughout the book; and an extensive bibliography categorized by subject. Other than a black-and-white map of Thailand at the beginning of the book, no images are provided. Brief alphabetical entries discuss the key events, people, social issues, foreign relations, and policies that make this country distinct. This third edition will be a valuable resource for a variety of audiences interested in Thailand or in Asian studies/history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, research, and public libraries; lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. (CHOICE)

Since the publication of the 2d edition in 2005, much has changed in Thailand in all sectors of the country. This 3d edition has a revised introduction and many updates from 2005-2013. In addition, there are new entries that discuss many significant recent events, including politics, economics, and foreign relations. Besides the introduction and the main body of dictionary, the chronology is concise and useful. The 16 appendixes—including such information as kings, population statistics, principal agricultural crops, economic indicators, gross domestic products, elections, Coups d’Etats in modern Thailand, and prime ministers—are simple compilations suitable to nonspecialist readers for quick reference and general information. The bibliography is a selective and classified one that also provides a list of relevant Websites on Thailand. This historical dictionary is useful as a beginning-level reference book on Thailand. (American Reference Books Annual)

The new edition of the Historical Dictionary of Thailand...[is] ambitious in its undertaking and
clear in its presentation. . . .It is a good general introduction and reference guide to a student undertaking research in the field. . . .Over all, the book is easy to use and it is easy to find entries and quick information. . . . If a university library serves a student population that will be conducting basic research on Thailand’s post-1750 history, then this dictionary should be in its collection. (Journal of the American Oriental Society)

This third edition of the Historical Dictionary of Thailand makes an excellent addition to any reference collection or international collection in an academic library (community college or university) and public library. Both expert and novice researchers, from high school to college level, will find that this work a source of thorough resources and references to help in the understanding and appreciation of Thailand for years to come. Because of its unique focus on Thailand, this reference serves as the sole dictionary on the market that explains the country’s political and economic history in such vivid detail from its days as the Siam to the modern kingdom of Thailand. (Reference Reviews)

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