This month sees the launch of “Americans in Thailand”, an elegant 304-page illustrated hardback book recounting the history of Thailand’s American community. Focusing on famous and notorious personalities of each era, the colorful tale begins with the first American to set foot on Siamese soil in 1818. It then describes how the early missionaries, diplomats and traders navigated, sometimes with hilarious or disastrous results, the unfamiliar terrain and customs of Siam.
In the 20th century, Americans became more influential, with several assuming powerful roles within the Siamese court and assisting the country’s reforms. By the 1970s, American influence was becoming ubiquitous and increasingly contentious, as the Vietnam War era inspired clandestine operations, decadence and development. Through the present day, Americans in Thailand continue to contribute in compelling ways. Collected in this lavishly illustrated volume are many of their stories and historical nuggets never unearthed before.
Several long-time American residents of Thailand contributed their writing, including Denis Gray, who worked for the Associated Press as Bangkok bureau chief for more than 30 years; Nicholas Grossman, who created Chronicle of Thailand and other historical volumes on Thailand; Jeff Hodson, who is former editor and reporter for The Seattle Timesand was a project director for Internews in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Robert Horn, who has worked as a reporter in Thailand for Time magazine and the Associated Press; and Wesley Hsu, who is an awardwinning copy writer. An allowance was also made for a Canadian writer, Jim Algie, whose latest book is The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand. Archives expert Grissarin Chungsiriwatled the picture and text research.
Americans in Thailand is available at Kinokuniya and Asia Books in Thailand for 1,295 Baht. Kinokuniya is presently having a 20% sale on this book at all their stores. You can also pre-order at Amazon.com.